Business English Training for Global Teams

Our client is a leading British/American visual media content provider. Their global distribution hubs serve 1 million customers in almost every country in the world.

Alternative Description
Alternative Description

Background

During 2020, the coronavirus pandemic led employees to work remotely from home and the value and potential of virtual global teams became clear. But working in multiple cultural contexts and geographies can directly affect an organisation’s performance in areas such as communication and collaboration. Our client therefore wanted to put in place a global approach to Business English language training and offer a range of online courses for their international Customer Sales and Marketing teams.

The Challenge

Recognising that working from home may also impact motivation, our client was keen to provide positive motivators to boost performance by bringing together colleagues from different offices for fun and interactive classes. This meant we had to offer flexible timeslots taking into account differing time zones when arranging the lessons.

Our Solution

In June 2020, Babel was appointed to work with mixed English-ability French, Spanish, Italian, Turkish and Israeli-native speakers. We designed three levels of classes for Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advanced speakers of English. They are delivered over three, 15-week terms throughout the year. Each weekly lesson is held on Zoom and lasts 90 minutes.

By October and November 2020, three more groups of Japanese learners based in Tokyo were added, quickly followed in December by colleagues in Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, and Chile.

The aim is to help all these learners express themselves more spontaneously, fluently, and precisely with customers and colleagues. Our experienced tutors focus on preparing more complex business emails, contributing effectively to or leading meetings and presentations, following discussions with only occasional need for clarification and engaging in extended conversations with customers. For the more advanced learners, our tutors cover Sales and Marketing-specific terminology.

At each weekly session, groups of approximately 4-6 learners come together to engage in interactive language activities, participating in group and pair work. Homework tasks are also provided. The learners have consistently demonstrated their willingness to continue learning outside of class and bring useful questions and observations back to training.

The overall structure of the programme follows the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages which means our client can be assured that our courses and reporting are based on a globally accepted assessment system. Each month, we provide Talent & Leadership Development with reporting on the learners including their entry level, proposed exit level, progress, number of lessons taken since the start of their programme and their monthly attendance.

The Results

Given the high number of new entrants applying to this successful language programme throughout 2021, our client has now implemented two entry dates during the year. This means that the disruption of new learners potentially joining existing groups is minimised. Importantly, the learners have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to spend time learning with colleagues from other offices who they may not have known and global working relationships have been strengthened.

Testimonials

"Although I have had cultural training in the past, this was far more useful to me. It was interactive and helped me to improve my cultural awareness."

Working Across Cultures

Experian - Bulgaria

"I enjoyed learning how to deal with situations emerging from cultural differences within the USA (dialects, accents). Some really helpful insight into the American mind-set, especially business life. Also, the ability to phrase things in a way that US clients understand. Now I understand that there are some things here in the EU that US citizens never use so cannot understand."

American Cultural Training

Computacenter

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