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I recently won a contract to provide bespoke in-house German language training to IQD Frequency Products in Crewkerne, Somerset. IQD is market leader in the frequency control market and part of the German Würth Elektronik Group.

That in itself isn’t earth shatteringly unusual you might say – and you would be right. What does set this company apart from many of its competitors, however,  is the fact that it’s German parent company Würth agreed to fund German language training to all of its Crewkerne employees. The employee response was significantly positive – almost 30 employees signed up.

So was this a means of dodging their desk duties you might wonder – well actually no because the sessions, split into 3 distinct groups, require most learners to stay on beyond their normal hours after work.

In our first session it was important for me, as the tutor, to understand why people had signed up to German lessons and what their expectations were. Reasons given varied from wanting to try something new, hoping to work better and build stronger links with colleagues based at the German HQ; and interestingly because their experiences of learning languages at school hadn’t been very positive and they wanted to try again. No pressure on me then!

After a couple of months we repeated this feedback exercise to monitor the satisfaction levels, check that pace and content were hitting the spot,  but also this time to see how language learning was impacting in the workplace as well as individual well-being.

The feedback forms were really exciting to read. I was reassured (thankfully) that the pace, content and interactivity of the various sessions for beginners and more advanced linguists were just right and learners found the sessions fun, relevant, engaging and exceeding their expectations. Over and above that, from a work perspective, colleagues were using their newly acquired linguistic skills not only with their German colleagues which helped to strengthen business relationships, but also with each other when making drinks for each other or saying “Guten Morgen” and “tschüss” at the start and finish of the day. Small gestures but creating a really positive working environment. Their shared learning experience, especially the team challenges and activities with colleagues from different parts of the organisation which I developed, had brought an energy, focus and new dimension to the work routine.

Here are a couple of  quotes from one of the learners and a company director

“Hayley is an extremely knowledgeable, supportive tutor. Since the beginning, I have found the lessons thoroughly enjoyable and learnt such a lot in quite a short time. Our beginner lessons are an hour and a half, after work, but the time seems to fly by!”

‘Following the acquisition of IQD by the Würth Elektronik eiSos organization, having the ability to converse with our colleagues in German will help to make the integration process and relationship building process much easier’.

Now, I know it might sound like I am over-egging it a bit, but I passionately believe that learning languages (or indeed any new skill such as learning to play an instrument or taking up dancing) is beneficial for well-being and self-confidence. It has been scientifically proven that the process of learning a language taps into a particular part of the brain, not only forging new neural pathways but also boosting your “feel good factor”. Taking up a language at work demonstrates your value as well as commitment as an employee, improves confidence and productivity as your fluency and comprehension build, adds variety to your working week and gives you skills that you can use inside and outside of work – and perhaps even helping your kids do their German GCSE homework. What’s not to love.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and I am looking forward to future sessions at IQD including focusing on “Vorsprung durch Technik – what does it really mean?”

For in-house, bespoke business language courses in German, French or Russian please do get in touch.

Auf Wiedersehen, salut, до свидания