Even after a year of the pandemic — a year when it seems time has both stood still and rushed forward — our daily lives continue to change rapidly. Many people have relocated from larger cities to smaller settings to be near their extended families; others have moved from their home country to a completely different one, where they’ve had to navigate finding a home and learning a new language in an unprecedented time.
Learning the language is one of the biggest advantages someone can have in a new country, especially when it comes to getting a foothold in a new home. Language skills make building relationships with colleagues and people outside of work a lot easier, and fitting into a new team can certainly flow more seamlessly with some knowledge of the local language. But diving into studying a new language has traditionally taken a lot of time, and classes usually take place outside of work hours, which can be hard to stick to amid the already stressful adjustment to life in a foreign country.
And it’s not just the new arrival who needs to get used to a new situation. Welcoming a new team player to an existing team can be an adjustment for everyone involved, as everyone in the team must adapt processes, procedures, roles, and styles of communication as quickly as possible.
So how can team leads or HR managers help speed up the integration of a new team member?
The easiest way is, quite simply, to get new employees talking. Social events with colleagues, even if they have to take place online, are the best way to start building connections between a new addition to the team and its existing members — think after-work happy hours held over Zoom, or casual “coffee dates” with colleagues, where employees take 15 minutes to have a cup of coffee with another teammate and talk about anything but work. Once back in the office, mid-morning brunches and communal lunches can also help new members of a team get to know each other and integrate with the team on the whole.
While many in the team may speak the newcomer’s native language, learning the local language is one more thing new teammates can do to feel more integrated into an existing team. Even if work emails are in their native language, the spontaneous conversations at the tea kettle or the memes sent on the #random Slack channel — the types of chats that make teammates feel a bit more bonded — are likely instead in the local language. So, one great way to help newcomers to feel like part of the team is by offering them language learning support.
One of the ways to get new employees feeling connected with their teams faster is Babbel for Business. The program, which uses both video lessons and app-based lessons to instruct students in a new language, helps newcomers pick up grammar and vocabulary quickly and easily. The remote-learning format is especially helpful, while there’s still a pandemic going on and the safety of in-person classes isn’t guaranteed.
Rather than wait for in-person classes to resume (that then take time out of their evenings), they can participate in one-hour-long online group classes with Babbel Live instead. Babbel Live offers group video lessons, supplemented by work on the app, that are guided by teachers who instruct according to the Common European Framework of Reference (or CEFR) and emphasize speaking and listening in each module. It’s a great way to get new students feeling comfortable in dialogue with colleagues and others they meet in their new lives abroad.
Or, for those who learn better in a one-on-one environment, there’s also Babbel Intensive, where students can take a series of 48 individual lessons that last just 30 minutes each. Courses can be tailored to specific business needs (i.e. “Business German”) to make sure new arrivals are learning the vocabulary that’s most crucial for their new work environment first. Certified teachers lead each module, and it uses Babbel’s proven blended learning method, so students learn on the app as well as through video instruction, which leads to measurable progress.
Both programs are competitively priced, with per-seat rates starting on par or less than many language-learning schools — and meanwhile offering all the flexibility your employees want. Babbel for Business makes it easier than ever for students to learn on their own time, which in turn, means they’re more likely to stick with it and succeed.
The more quickly a new joiner feels comfortable and confident with the language of his new workplace and colleagues, the more quickly they’ll feel integrated into the rest of the team, leading to stronger team communication overall. And, feeling supported by their company in the integration process, they’re likely to feel more at home and go further faster.
Lilly Miner, Expert for Digital Learning
Lilly focuses on different learning methods. Whether online learning or blended learning – the motivation of the learners is particularly important to her.