In recent years, many companies have made English their official language of business – including globally admired organisations like SAP, Lenovo, Audi, Honda and Samsung. There are some obvious reasons why multinational companies are using one language to connect their workforce. It improves collaboration across global teams, helps to reach global markets and makes integrating foreign acquisitions easier.
As these worldwide firms are adopting English as their ‘official language’, growing pressure is being placed on both current and future employees to improve their English proficiency. And while many knowledge workers and college graduates already have some English skills, often times they do not have sufficient English skills for work. That’s why many large businesses are investing in English training programs for their employees.
Quantifying business English skills with the Global Scale of English
In the world of business there’s an old adage: Inspect what you expect. In business we have to set expectations, monitor results and make adjustments as we go and learning English for use in business is no different, firms need a way to measure learning progress and set specific goals. We’re even seeing a new trend of explicitly linking English proficiency to career progression and performance reviews. But you can’t measure English progress or set learning goals without a granular measurement scale applicable for business. That’s where the Global Scale of English comes in handy and why it’s so useful.
To further explore the benefits of the Global Scale of English to businesses, we recently spoke with John Heyman, Director of Content Development Delivery at Unisys, a global information technology company. More than 60% of his workforce are non-native English speakers, many living and working outside the United States. So for Unisys, measuring English proficiency is more important than ever among such a global workforce. “You could lose out on some of the best productivity in your company because people choose not to participate because they don’t feel comfortable doing so,” he says.
Integrating English skills programs with the talent management is important for Unisys, John says: “When you’re hiring people from around the world and for whom English is their second language, you have to provide them with the opportunity to improve those skills: Pearson English fits that bill. People want to improve. Whether that’s because they’re already part of a global team or because they’re dealing with clients who are English-speaking, they all have a need to get better with their English skills.
“We’ve had many employees moving into senior management positions. As they move up through the company, that need for them to develop their English skills intensifies.” Because of this, John can see using the Global Scale of English in the future to help determine if a candidate is ready for a particular role or not. He says “And if they are not, but they are still the right person in your mind, it gives you a map. To be able to say ‘we’re interested in you for this role, but you need to get to here’.”
You can hear John explain more about the benefits that the Global Scale of English has brought to Unisys by watching the video below: