How to keep employees engaged?

 

As a company owner or manager, what can we do to improve employee engagement and productivity?

In the current climate, many businesses are focusing on remote working and work as we knew it is a distant past. The world is changing bringing new challenges and exciting opportunities.

But how do we keep our teams going and what can we do to help them stay focused? Here are a few ways to help with our employee’s engagement and productivity.

  • Keep in touch with our employees (but not too often)

Regular meetings to catch up on work and see how everybody is are fine. Don’t overdo it though with daily morning and afternoon meetings. We don’t need to start micromanaging or it could have the opposite effect. The right employees know what they have to do anyway.

  • Make our employees feel valued

Giving some recognition goes a long way. A big “thank you” for helping with an issue, a “well done”, a “can you help me with…” or “what do you think about…” when you need help or ideas. These have a huge impact on the way the teams look at the company and they will respect us for it. It’s not all about the money, their well-being is more important.

  • Don’t overload them with work (but make sure they have something to do)

Keep an eye on the workload. Too much work will end in something not being done properly or done in a rush. At the same time, no work will make employees feel demotivated and unengaged. If there isn’t much work at the moment, get employees to help with some research or administrative tasks. See what fits with your business but keep everybody busy doing something meaningful. Meaningful here being the keyword.

  • Help and support them (and tell them it’s okay to ask for help)

Employees should feel supported in everything they do so we must make sure we help them if they need help. If you can’t yourself then find someone who can. Make sure they know they can always ask for help or advice and that you will do something about it.

  • Invest in training and development

Offer professional or personal development opportunities and you will improve your employee retention. You don’t need to train everybody at the same time. Scatter the training and plan it at an individual or team level.

 

Find out how language training can help your business. Book a free consultation on 01273 222900 or email carole@thelanguageguru.co.uk

 

Carole Jacquet

Owner

The Language Guru

More people are looking to learn a new language with The Language Guru – why don’t you?

Here at The Language Guru, we noticed that we’ve had a record increase in the number of people booked in with us. This year’s language learning courses in French, Spanish, Italian, German and English started a few weeks ago and we’ve seen an increase of nearly 40% in people attending compared with the same time last year. There have also been 30% more enquiries.

In these strange pre-Brexit times, The Language Guru is bucking the trend. You’ll have seen the big brands daily facing financial challenges, the latest being the likes of House of Fraser, LK Bennett and Laura Ashley.

Spanish is still the most popular language to learn, followed by French then Italian. Spanish is spoken widely across the world particularly in Central and South America. There are some 21 countries which speak Spanish. French is also spoken in more countries than we imagine, like parts of Africa and the Caribbean.

In-house language learning for companies

It’s possible the enquiries and bookings are due to people wanting to upskill in case they need to move jobs as there has also been an increase in the number of companies training and developing their staff to prepare for life after Brexit.

Language learning for corporates means better communication and negotiation skills for staff who are talking to different parts of their companies abroad, or when dealing with new clients. For those individuals who learn with The Language Guru, we offer an insight into the culture and daily life of the relevant country which students find fascinating. We find most start their language learning experience as a beginner and return to advance through the different levels.

All the tutors at The Language Guru are native speakers or bilingual, and owner Carole Jacquet herself speaks French and Spanish as well as English. The company also offers foreign accent reduction classes which are particularly useful for companies with call centres or telephone help lines.

No matter the outcome of Brexit, it seems language learning is still very much on trend, whether it’s for work, holiday, second home, or simply for fun.

If you’d like to know more about classroom courses at our premises, private tuition, distance learning, or corporate language courses, contact Carole on 01273 222900, email info@thelanguageguru.co.uk or book straight on through the Courses section of the website.

Reasons why 1-2-1 learning might just be for you

 

Here at The Language Guru, we know there is no “one size fits all” method of teaching. Some students enjoy being in a class with others, getting to meet new people and learning languages together. Others find that a “one to one” experience suits them better.

Let’s look at the benefits of taking private tuition with The Language Guru:

We can create bespoke learning just for you

This is a huge bonus as lesson plans are created for each individual and take into account your learning pace, level of previous language experience, and personal capability.

Sometimes a person can find it difficult to keep up with the rest of the class or need to focus more on one or more issues which might mean the fall behind other students. With 1-2-1 language learning, The Language Guru tutors take this into account and will adjust the pace, focus and goals of a lesson depending on the needs and abilities of each person to make the most of every moment. If you have a learning disorder, this will be especially useful for you.

Also, we choose the right tutor for you, your skills and your temperament. You’re able to book sessions around your family time, work, travel, or other school schedules. If you choose to use Skype, you can be more or less anywhere in the world and in any setting. We don’t mind if you’re wearing your pyjamas, sit on the bed, in the garden or half-way up a mountain. We’ve seen it all!

The focus is on you

100% of your tutor’s time and attention is on you, not anyone else. That’s precious and means you get the very best. You can ask any question you like, check your understanding, practice pronunciation, and generally benefit from the real 1-2-1 experience.

If you’re normally a shy person, your Language Guru sessions will generally make you more confident as your skills and capability grows.

The focus is on you … to perform!

There’s nowhere to hide as if in a classroom setting, as your tutor will know if you’re not doing your homework, reading or practical exercises in between sessions. Having said that, s/he will be able to immediately spot where there are issues and be able to help and support you. Private tuition tends to be less formalised as you build a strong bond between student and tutor.

And especially for Valentine’s Day

Learn with your partner, colleague, friend or loved one. The Language Guru offers language learning for couples too 😊

Call now for more info or email here.

Why only 12% of New Year’s resolutions are kept

Seemingly 88% of the things we promise ourselves we’ll achieve each New Year fall by the wayside within a few weeks*. And this is because:

  • We don’t enjoy them
  • We don’t monitor our progress
  • We don’t really know why we’re doing it
  • We feel despondent when we can’t see immediate results
  • We don’t believe in ourselves
  • We don’t have support to achieve

Our January courses are full of people who want to learn a new skill – a new language. This could be for a planned holiday, a move abroad, work, fun, or just to challenge themselves and keep their brains active.

Each of those reasons is the ‘why’ and The Language Guru certainly gives you plenty of support, through our native-speaking tutors as well as your course colleagues. You’ll be learning at the right pace for you, meeting new like-minded people, and having fun every week.

You’ll be monitoring your progress in the group and so will our tutors, answering all your queries and giving you an insight into the country and culture of your chosen language. You will see results over the ten weeks of the course and you’ll get a certificate to prove you’ve achieved what you set out to do.

There are various level courses so you can choose at which level you feel most comfortable. You can progress through the levels, as most of our students enjoy doing.

And the end result? You’ll be able to converse when going abroad, order food, ask the way, book theatre tickets, change a hotel room, through to advanced language skills. You’ll be potentially more employable if you speak a second language or be more confident negotiating and understanding work colleagues from overseas.

The opportunities are endless. To find out more, click here.

Happy New Year language learning!

 

*Source: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-reasons-why-new-years-resolutions-fail.html

Stuck for a useful gift for the person who has everything? The Language Guru has the answer

There are several types of people for whom choosing a Christmas present can be challenging:

  • The friend who seems to have everything
  • The colleague who thinks they know it all
  • The boss who needs to stop working and get a life
  • The friend who should get out more and meet new people
  • The next-door neighbour who’s going abroad for their first holiday abroad
  • The family members who are buying a second home in another country and need to negotiate in the native language to get a better deal
  • And we’re sure you can think of many more

How about giving them the gift of language this festive season?

A gift voucher from The Language Guru can be purchased from as little as £10 and works across our language services.

Just imagine the thanks you’ll get from those friends, colleagues, family members and neighbours! You’ll be a superstar in their eyes!

Did you know …

The first gift card using a payments infrastructure was introduced by Neiman Marcus in late 1994 though Blockbuster Entertainment was the first company to do so on a wide scale, test-marketing them in 1995 and launching them around the USA the next year. In the beginning, the Blockbuster gift card replaced gift certificates that were being counterfeited with recently introduced colour copiers and colour printers.

Although gift vouchers might appear to be an easy option to buy for someone, at The Language Guru they’re actually allowing the recipient to make their own choice of language as well as when, where and how they learn. Language learning at its best!

Email us at info@thelanguageguru.co.uk to buy a gift voucher from us now.

And Season’s Greetings to one and all from everyone at The Language Guru.

 

With thanks to www.smithsonianmag.com

5 ways employee language training delivers a positive return on investment

We’re all part of the same planet, right?! Doesn’t it therefore make sense we give our employees the tools and skills to be able to communicate effectively with colleagues all over the world – in overseas offices, business partners abroad, and everyone else with whom you do business?

The world is shrinking daily in terms of commerce and communications. Businesses need to be competitive in their marketplace to stay agile, develop and grow. Investing in language training for your teams offers many ways in which to stay ahead of the game, and a valid and valuable return on investment.

Here are just five:

  1. Makes your business stronger

Language training helps to develop your people by getting them ready to work on international teams, making your business fitter for the future. Language learners are, on the whole, more confident so can more easily build relationships, resolve problems faster, which improve customer satisfaction.

  1. Increases employee engagement

In a multilingual global economy, a business needs to connect with its colleagues and customers. Language learners feel more engaged in their work too. Language training helps break down communication barriers, promotes an inclusive work environment, and increases collaboration across cultures.

  1. Improves productivity

Language barriers among employees, or between workers and managers, can lead to mistakes (some of which can be costly) which in turn makes it more difficult to improve customer service and sales. Training your teams to speak appropriate languages can help overcome such hurdles as well as promote innovation, productivity and creativity.

  1. Boosts company loyalty and employee retention

Turnover is costly. In-house training and development programmes help attract and retain talented employees, who are more likely to remain with your company if offered opportunities for professional growth. It also shows how much you value your people if you’re prepared to invest in them.

  1. Attracts globally aware young people

Training and development opportunities are high up on the wish list young people have when looking for potential employers. Engaged employees want to meet their potential and look for opportunities to engage in today’s global economy.

So, you can see how investing in language training is good for your company’s bottom line. Ask yourself the question – can you afford not to?

For more information on The Language Guru’s range of corporate in-house language training, call Carole on 01273 222900 or email carole@thelanguageguru.co.uk

We pay our respects to the late, great Charles Aznavour

This month, we take a look back at the life and career of one of France’s greatest performers.

He was a rather unlikely heart-throb to those who remember him from his early career, one which lasted some 80 years. At just 5ft 3in tall, Charles Aznavour was almost 50 before he had his first hit in the UK.

Charles wrote more than 1,200 songs, including the classic tearjerker ‘She’ and was a star in him home country where he was France’s Frank Sinatra.

Last month (September 2018), Charles Aznavour died aged 94.

Born Varenagh Aznavourian, he was born in Paris in May 1924, the son of Armenian immigrants who had fled from persecution in Turkey and were staying in the French capital temporarily while waiting for a US visa.

Forced by lack of money to give up school at the age of nine, he was determined to be an entertainer and by 11, he was playing child roles at the Theatre Marigny.

He had a long career as a film actor and in 1941 he teamed up with actor Pierre Roche to write songs. In a nine-year partnership they wrote for French stars Maurice Chevalier, Gilbert Bécaud and Edith Piaf.

Charles’ big break came when Piaf, who admired his voice, invited him to accompany her on a tour of France and the United States. With her encouragement, Aznavour launched himself on a solo career in 1950, singing his own songs.

Multi-lingual

With stage performances mainly described as the epitome of French romance, one critic wrote: “To put one’s self before the public with such a voice and such a physique is pure folly.”

But Aznavour’s mournful love songs, delivered by his throaty tenor voice, did catch on and in 1955 success came with the song ‘Sur Ma Vie’.

In 1965 he opened the first of his long-running one-man shows at the Olympia Music Hall in Paris, singing 30 of his own songs.

His first hit in Britain was ‘The Old-Fashioned Way’ in 1973, followed by ‘She’ in 1975.

Charles could sing in more than six languages and this made him popular around the world. His success, including worldwide sales of more than 180 million records, brought much wealth, and he lived in Switzerland for many years. However, in 1977 a French court fined him about £1m with a suspended one-year jail sentence, for tax evasion and currency offences. The following year he was ordered to pay £1m in tax arrears.

Aznavour combined singing with his acting career and appeared in more than 60 films. In 1982 he played himself as a struggling composer in the film ‘Edith et Marcel’, based on Piaf’s romance with a boxer. He was still performing in his nineties

In 1988, in response to the earthquake in Armenia, he formed his own charity to help the victims, including composing a song that featured a string of top French performers and topped the charts for more than four months.

 

Charles also took a deep interest in politics. During the 1992 French presidential elections he encouraged people to sing La Marseillaise in public to protest against the right-wing candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen, who had made it to the run-offs. He also campaigned vigorously for an extension of copyright law to protect the work of artists, authors and composers.

Aznavour had neither a great voice nor film-star looks but he did have immense song-writing talent and a mesmerising stage presence.

Along with Piaf and Chevalier he was one of France’s greatest singing stars.

Listen to Charles Aznavour in French to grasp the nuances of the lyrics

Why not practise your French and listen to one of Charles Aznavour’s greatest songs here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-45709541

 

 

With thanks to www.bbc.co.uk/news from which this obituary was sourced.

 

Pros and cons of language learning face-to-face v by app

Will it suit you more to learn one-to-one with your tutor or will the convenience of an app be the right choice? It’s up to you. In this blog, we’ll take a quick look at both learning methods.

It’s fair to say there is no ‘correct’ answer. Everyone’s different and we all prefer to learn in our own way. Some like the convenience of webinars so they can wear their pyjamas, and no-one will see! Others like the atmosphere of a classroom, working with others, and having like-minded people travelling on the same journey.

Face-to-face learning is certainly more sociable. With The Language Guru, your tutor will be bilingual or a native speaker of your chosen language. She/he will give you a warm welcome, help you overcome any nerves, introduce you to others in the same boat, and support you to learn at your own pace.

Learning by app is perhaps more flexible in that you can switch it on and off as you please. But along with this flexibility comes discipline. You’ll need the discipline and wherewithal to make sure you carry on learning after the first flush of excitement at having purchased the app. What do you do when ‘life happens’ around you? Will you be able to regroup and motivate yourself to carry on? There’ll possibly be a support facility but you won’t necessarily get to speak to the same person every time and so there’ll be a lack of continuity of a tutor who understands you and the way in which you learn.

You’ll learn in the comfort of your own home, office, park or wherever you choose, and you won’t have to venture out on a cold, rainy evening, or straight after work when your colleagues are going to the pub.

If you have a young family, though, you might not be able to get enough peace and quiet at home to study via app and you might like the idea of a once- or twice-a-week class in which you can get forget all the other problems going on at the time. You might appreciate getting out and meeting people, along with the social elements that group learning brings. Along with group dynamics comes colleague support and camaraderie. You’ll likely feel that you want to turn up and achieve every week through your course, not only for yourself but to support the others too.

Tutors can, of course, recognise if you’re having problems and immediately rectify them. This could be about the pace of learning, your accent or your grip of grammar – something which an app might not pick up.

Which method do you feel will work for you?

If you like the idea of face-to-face language learning, give us a call on 01273 222900 for a no-obligation chat.

If you like the idea of distance learning, then choose an app via your Play Store or App Store, or call us to find out more about our distance learning, which we offer via Skype. Language learning with The Language Guru covers all the bases!

Going back to school

September means late summer here in the UK. Young people all over the country are getting ready to go back to school and college. For The Language Guru, it also means the start of the Autumn courses of language learning.

Our tutors are looking forward to a fresh intake of students as well as some familiar faces returning for more tuition, and we hope our incoming learners are full of motivation and enthusiasm too.

What to expect

We know it can be daunting to go back to class, sometimes after a great deal of time has passed since you were last at school or college. Our tutors always make students feel welcome and explain that you can learn at your own pace and ask any question if you don’t understand something, no matter if it might seem silly to you. The Language Guru tutors are all native speakers or bilingual, so we know how difficult some languages are when you first start to learn.

What you can do before you come along

Focus on why you want to learn and your own specific objectives, for example: Is it for business or pleasure? Are you going on holiday and you want to feel comfortable talking to the locals? What level do you want to reach? By keeping these in mind as well as telling your tutor, we can tailor the course and make it want you need it to be.

Come along with an open mind. In a classroom setting, you’ll be alongside like-minded people also keen to learn. It’s natural some of you will grasp things more easily than others. We like our groups to work as a team and support those who need something explaining more than once. You never know, it might be you! Our tutors will recognise who needs more help and take great care that no-one feels left out.

In between lessons

There are many ways to keep up with your language learning in between lessons:

  1. Why not use your mobile devices in your language of choice – as well as your social media accounts. Make sure you check what you’re saying first and work out your messages properly beforehand. Learn useful words such as ‘like, follow, share, comment and post’ so you can really take part in the experience
  2. Try changing the language settings on your PC, Mac or laptop too
  3. Set up a language lunch club at work or in your social group. It’s a great way of getting to know people and sharing knowledge
  4. Use smartphone apps to translate useful phrases as you come across them
  5. Listen to foreign language podcasts, radio stations, or audio books when you’re driving, jogging or on a train (be safe and alert to what’s going on around you though)
  6. Compile a board using Post-It notes or images of things to help you associate words or phrases. If you’re going on holiday, choose images of things you’ll be likely to need to use, visit or say
  7. Get a pen-pal so you can send letters, cards or emails in their language
  8. Watch foreign language films and YouTube videos – don’t forget to sing along if you’re watching Eurovision!
  9. Subscribe to foreign newspapers and magazines so you can read frequently and regularly, either online or in print
  10. Visit charity shops, book stores or Amazon and grab yourself some bargain language books

But the most important thing … is to enjoy your Language Guru language learning experience!

 

Find that dream job overseas

If you’ve always wanted to work overseas and find that dream job that ticks all your boxes, what will give you the edge over other applicants? The ability to speak the language of the company and the country in which it is located.

Why?

So, you can:

  • Write your job application in their language, which will immediately give you extra brownie points
  • Be able to speak with the interviewer in their language – and get your points across effectively (the equivalent to dressing to impress)
  • Hit to the ground running in your new role
  • Better understand the company’s objectives and how your role will play its part
  • Better understand the company’s expectations of you
  • Communicate effectively with your colleagues and your company’s clients or customers
  • Take part in meetings and get your point of view across
  • Apply for that early promotion!

According to language experts, you can learn basic communication skills in weeks and get to grips with the basics of a foreign language in a few months. It will take much more than that to become fluent, especially if your new role is particularly technical or has other demands and cultural nuances like working in an embassy, but you’ll certainly be on your way if you don’t give up and keep working at it.

Phrasebooks and online tutorials can prove useful at the beginning, as they can give you the vocabulary and confidence to have basic conversations with native speakers, the crucial first step in learning a language. At The Language Guru, all our teachers are native or bilingual speakers and are used to making our students feel at home from the very first lesson.

“Of course, you’ll make mistakes at first,” says Carole Jacquet, owner of The Language Guru. Carole is French and speaks fluent Spanish and English. “Your confidence will grow, and you have to take the plunge and do as much speaking as possible, either in class or as part of 1-2-1 tuition. One of the tricks to fast learning is to immerse yourself in the language and read, listen to the radio, podcasts, watch videos, and talk in the language as much as possible. Even if that means translating everything you put in your shopping trolley at the supermarket in your head or going to a restaurant and speaking with the staff in the language!”

You’ll need to check on your pronunciation but once you get that job of your dreams, you can ask your colleagues to help you. Use the language first and focus on the grammar later. Watching foreign movies can be invaluable, especially if they have sub-titles, although these are often edited. You’ll get to the stage when you’re able to spot when this happens.

Read foreign newspapers too and use Google Translate or other software to help with difficult phrases or words in between your lessons.

7 top tips to learn a new language:

  • Be confident and speak the language whenever you can
  • Read children’s books and comics in the language
  • Consume foreign language media
  • Learn as much as possible about the culture
  • Make use of free foreign language podcasts and apps
  • Don’t practice in isolation; get feedback from native speakers
  • Don’t worry about making mistakes, we all do!

To find out more about The Language Guru language courses in French, Spanish, Italian, German and English, call 01273 222900 or see the relevant pages on our website.