Are your employees’ language skills hurting your revenue?

Whether we are building trust with our clients, forging international alliances, or negotiating, one thing is certain: good communication is crucial to success. The rise of remote work has enabled companies to recruit internationally, diversify their teams and generate greater profits. It is easy to become optimistic in the wake of such progress. However, along with this more inclusive model of conducting business come unique challenges.

Although striking a balance between clarity and tact can prove difficult enough in our native tongue, doing it in a foreign language makes it even more daunting. The results can prove disastrous, resulting in miscommunication and even lost revenue. Here are some ways that your employees’ lack of foreign language skills could be causing your company to take a hit financially.


This means both internal and external communication. Research shows that greater diversity leads to better financial returns. However, for these international teams to work collaboratively, they must first be able to communicate with each other effectively. Poor communication stemming from inadequate language skills could lead not only to unnecessary internal disputes, and costly delays, but even employee dissatisfaction and higher turnover rates.

When it comes to external communication, the stakes are even higher. Maybe you are trying to build a partnership or negotiate a lucrative deal with another company abroad. Your employees will need great language skills to pull this off!

Customer Service

Many companies are dependent upon brand loyalty. Great customer service can improve a business’s bottom line. That’s what makes great communication skills so important when we reach out for help. We generally contact a company when we either need support or things do not go according to plan. The person on the line should have the language skills necessary to not only understand your customers’ concerns but also address them in a clear and respectful manner. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know just what to say to assess a problem and provide solutions?

Regardless of your customer service team’s expertise or empathy, their inability to communicate clearly with a customer could end in frustration. A customer’s experience with a company’s support team can negatively impact their impression of its brand. Since happy customers tend to be loyal customers, consumer dissatisfaction due to poor service can have real financial consequences down the line.

Building Rapport

As we all know, not all business deals or strategic alliances are born in the boardroom. Networking events can be a great way to establish contacts and generate leads. In some countries, spending time chatting and getting to know your client can go a long way in bolstering trust and, ultimately, developing mutually beneficial partnerships. Obviously, your employees need to know many words specific to their industry. But communication doesn’t just begin and end with “shop talk.” They also need to be fluent enough to talk about a wide range of topics before “getting down to business.” Trust is built on clear communication and understanding. The importance of small talk cannot be underestimated.

Are your employees experts when it comes to their jobs? If the answer is yes that is fantastic! But if they can’t chat with an important client afterward, it may not be enough to land a deal.

Having “Tough” Conversations

Unfortunately, in business, just as in life, things can go awry. Sometimes we need to keep a difficult client happy without having to compromise too much. Or maybe we need to explain an unexpected delay or setback along the way. Your success here depends on a sophisticated level of linguistic subtlety along with cultural knowledge. Often, the stakes are too high to simply rely on trial and error. This is why knowing certain key phrases, persuasive linguistic techniques, and expressions designed to de-escalate challenging situations is vital. It will help your employees not only attract but also keep key clients.

Making Presentations

Maybe your employees need to present to other teams at the company in order to get everyone working interdepartmentally. Or they might be making a sales pitch to potential clients. Regardless of the purpose, presentations must be clear, well-organized, and concise in order to clarify your goals and get your message out there. When your employees are armed with the right phrases and techniques, they will best be able to get everybody on board and working together in a timely fashion. Being able to get your ideas out there efficiently can save your company time and money, in the long run.

Remote Work

As more of us work remotely, navigating our way through subtle linguistic nuances can become more difficult. It makes the potential for misunderstandings higher than ever. It can certainly be easier for many of us to build trust and either avoid or resolve a dispute when we have personal, daily contact with one another. This is why the need for clear communication and excellent language skills becomes even more important in the age of telecommuting. Your employees need to be able to speak and write as clearly as possible to avoid communication breakdowns which can lose your company time and money.

Every day, we are watching international businesses become more innovative, agile, and inclusive. In order to capitalize on these incredible strides, it is essential to make sure that our employees’ language skills are also up to speed so that we can all better collaborate, communicate and, ultimately, understand one another. By investing in your employees’ language skills, you are also investing in your company’s future and international viability.