One of the business practices that have become popular in the past decade, and made a large impact on how employers run their businesses, is the popularization of remote work. In addition to greatly contributing to job satisfaction, encouraging employees to work from home has been shown to increase productivity, all the while lowering operational costs.
Additionally, it gives business owners the advantage of sourcing their workforce from absolutely anywhere in the world, allowing them to create a team of experts in which each individual brings to the table a unique set of skills and industry-related experiences.
But while everyday tasks are easily solved with team chat apps and email, there are certain obstacles that are difficult to overcome. One of these is creating effective training programs that ensure everyone within a company has the relevant skills and knowledge to achieve desired results.
The language barrier problem
One of the common issues in international teams is the very fact that you’re working with people from multiple countries. More often than not, this means that their native language is likely to be different from your own. And while this may not pose problems in terms of everyday communication, it can make creating training programs more difficult – especially if you need to use highly specific vocabulary or rely on abstract ideas.
Despite the use of English as a second language becoming widespread every year, it’s highly unlikely that all of your non-native experts are proficient in it. This means that your first consideration should be to ensure everyone on your team has a strong command of the type of vocabulary your field of work requires. In addition to encouraging employees to improve their language skills, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a course that will equip them with the knowledge they need in order to perform at their absolute best.
Standardized tests are a great solution for a number of companies, considering that they focus on more than simply grammar. For example, the vocabulary for IELTS covers a range of topics that can be easily built upon in your specific niche. Similarly, these types of courses teach employees the right way to communicate in business settings, and can even improve their public speaking skills. The latter is sure to be of use in the case that they progress within the company.
Best practices to ensure efficient learning
First and foremost, in order to create an effective training program, you need to be aware of the difference between active and passive learning. Traditional teaching methods, such as giving lectures or reading, are considered passive, while practices such as discussions and real-life experience facilitate active knowledge acquisition.
As you can imagine, active learning is considerably more effective. So, in order to create a great course, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving your students the chance to learn by participation.
To do this, you can utilize a number of approaches, or even try combinations of one or more methods, so you can be certain that everyone is completely on top of the new material.
1. Use video
Whether you pre-record an instructional video that shows a step-by-step tutorial or decide to do a conference call with your entire team, providing visual information is a great way to help non-native employees learn. This method works particularly well for mastering new software, as well as introducing new functionalities in already familiar programs.
2. Encourage participation
Give employees the chance to ask questions, especially when the provided learning material is in written form. This practice ensures that they have a way of asking for more information should they need it, and it also allows you to go over sections of the course that may be trickier to learn.
3. Break training programs into several sessions
One of the best ways to acquire certain types of knowledge is repetition. Breaking a training program into a couple of sessions allows you to introduce a topic to your team in a more clear and systematic way. Likewise, it allows the students to digest the knowledge, then repeat and build upon it the next day (or weekend).
4. Assign homework
Although this may make everyone feel like they’re back in school, homework is actually a great opportunity to use the newly acquired knowledge in real life. Fulfilling assignments or solving problems will give your employees the chance to utilize what you went over together, and it will easily make them aware of any problem areas.
During your next class or session, go over their homework and see if you can identify the most common mistakes. These will be a clear indication of the things you need to commit extra time to.
At the end of your program, you may want to give employees a test, which will be the best indicator of what they learned and what areas still need to be improved. You can provide motivation for them to do their best by offering a small reward to the person who achieves the highest score or finding other ways to gamify the process. This way, your team will be inspired to learn, and thus more likely to fully invest themselves in the process.
Although training people who don’t speak your language can be challenging, you’ll find that it’s very much worth investing in your employees. After all, giving them the opportunity to widen their horizons and develop new skills is something that will positively reflect on your business.
Whether what you gain is a new type of service you can provide, a higher quality product, an edge over your competitors, or simply, a happier employee, you’ll definitely be the person who benefits the most.