NTT DATA is among the top ten IT services providers globally, operating in 53 countries. NTT DATA helps its customers improve and manage their IT services and business processes, in sectors including banking, automotives, and manufacturing.
Improving business English learning and internal, cross-cultural collaboration
NTT DATA’s 133,000 employees are spread across 53 countries, multiple business functions, and several languages. Strong, effective communication is crucial not only for liaising with clients, but also for collaborating with colleagues worldwide.
English is the common official language used by NTT DATA staff, and certified English language skills are mandatory for some roles.
But NTT DATA had identified several weaknesses in its existing, classroom-based English language learning program:
- Slow certification process couldn’t keep up with the increasing frequency of the company’s language training requirements.
- Lack of scalability to meet the learning needs of a rapidly-expanding global workforce.
- Less flexible and convenient than online learning – falling short of younger generations’ expectations of flexible, remote-access digital solutions.
- Lack of attention to fostering a global culture to improve internal team development, beyond language requirements for working with clients.
In 2020, NTT DATA launched a new initiative to increase cross-cultural working among its global workforce, NINGEN (NTT DATA’s International Network of NextGEN). Many staff, especially millennials, were keen to develop more cross-national teams to build business relationships, identify new opportunities, and spark innovation.
NINGEN planned regular opportunities for networking, shared learning, and team working between employees from different departments and locations.
Improving participants’ English language skills would be essential to NINGEN’s success. But with participants scattered worldwide, and expecting flexible, modern learning approaches, it was clear NTT DATA’s existing language learning program wouldn’t meet their needs.
An English learning group class tailored to NTT DATA’s specific needs
NTT Data asked Learnship to create a tailored Business English Language Group Class within NINGEN. As well as helping employees develop their English skills, this was formulated to stimulate cross-cultural team development as part of the learning process.
Learnship worked closely with NTT DATA to make sure the language learning program met their requirements. This included ensuring it didn’t have the same drawbacks as the company’s existing language learning program.
During the implementation phase, learners first took Learnship’s Baseline course. This quick, easy assessment identifies each learner’s current language proficiency.
Next, the NINGEN learners took part in a series of trainer-led Learnship Elevate group English courses. Tailored to individual needs and shared group goals, these incorporate relevant real-world business scenarios and industry-specific topics. The group setting enabled participants from across the globe to meet virtually and interact dynamically inside Learnship’s virtual classroom.
Learnship and NTT DATA worked together to create an environment of constant improvement. They achieved this by providing live orientation sessions, being transparent about learning status, constantly gathering feedback, and improving the ongoing courses.
Improved global communications and stronger cross-cultural working relationships
NINGEN’s group English learning pilot program has helped improve global communications within NTT DATA. Individual participants have strengthened both their English language skills and experience of cross-cultural communications. This has enabled the deeper collaboration needed to meet NINGEN’s ambitious goals.
Not only do these changes improve company cohesion and efficiencies, they also support individuals’ career development – a win-win. Participants gave the language learning program an average satisfaction rating of 4.7/5. When asked if they would like to continue if possible, 98% said yes. Both learners and managers praised the continuous improvement approach.
From a management perspective, NTT DATA appreciated the Learnship team’s professionalism and the smoothness of the training experience, from implementation to ongoing program management. A partnership-driven approach was key to the program’s successful implementation.
“We chose to work with Learnship for three reasons: the quality of their trainers and materials, the quality of program management, and because Learnship is a one-stop vendor who can provide different learning programs and courses in 12 languages, with a monitoring tool.”