By Mark Dolinski, VP of Training and Professional Development
It is estimated one out of every 10 working age adults in the United States has limited English speaking skills. This has major implications on the sourcing of employees, the retention of employees and the overall performance of the operation. The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) has partnered with experts in the field of English as a Second Language (ESL) training to help businesses take advantage of great diverse workforce within Berks County. The ESL Training Program is customized to meet the needs of the organization and the current non-native speaking employee’s proficiency with English.
A diverse workforce has many benefits for the employer. A diverse workforce attracts and retains top talent. It increases and broadens your talent pool of prospective employees. Diversity allows for the generation of more ideas, a broader range of skills and experience—all leading to the potential of increased productivity. Culture influences how we see the world and adding a variety of viewpoints, work experiences can breed creativity and innovation in the workplace.
Additionally, while ESL employees may have the experience and talent, the lack of language skills limits their job responsibilities and can severely limit their opportunity for career growth and economic stability. This impacts employers when lead worker and supervisory positions become available and employees don’t have the higher-level language skills required to begin the transition to assuming roles of greater responsibility. This career ceiling often contributes to higher levels of turnover and lack of employee engagement.
The ability to integrate non-native speaking employees into all levels of the workforce has a significant role in improving employee satisfaction, engagement, retention and performance. ESL training programs allow employers the ability to promote workers from within their current workforce. This can lead to an improved overall culture while building loyalty among workers and lessening the operational cost of recruiting outside talent.
GRCA has three different levels of programs from which to customize to the specific needs of the employer. Workplace ESL for Beginners is designed for those employees who speak limited English. The content focuses on improving speaking and understanding in the context of work. Workplace ESL is designed for employees who speak basic English but are limited in their communication abilities. ESL for Rising Leaders is designed for employees who speak and understand a fair amount of English and who have demonstrated leadership potential. Participants learn leadership skills such as giving instructions, writing reports, and understanding workplace culture and ethics. All the programs help build the employees’ confidence in using English in the workplace.
Each participant registered in the ESL Training Program is given an assessment prior to starting the program and after completing the program. By keeping classes to 10 to 12 participants the level of practice and interaction is maximized. Programs typically run for 10 to 12 weeks, meeting twice a week for two hours. Programs are held on-site so employees do not have to travel, and virtual classes are available.
Upskilling the English language skills of your employees is a tremendous investment in your organization and the local community. The increase retention, the decrease in safety incidents and lower error rates more than pay for the training program. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your private consultation.