- Panda Restaurant Group, the parent company of Panda Express, Panda Inn and Hibachi San restaurant chains, has launched an updated voluntary training benefit to help employees overcome language barriers at work, Employee Benefits News (EBN) reports.
- Currently, Panda employs some 30,000 employees spread out around multiple regions, so the training was designed to be flexible, EBN says. Panda chose Catalyst — an updated version of Rosetta Stone — as the program's platform.
- Catalyst takes a customized approach to language training. Workers take a placement test that determines their proficiency before giving them a training program tailored to their needs. “Users are able to accelerate their learning because they’re placed where they were supposed to be since the beginning," Kevin Kwan, Panda's technology manager for L&D, told EBN.
It takes a deep understanding of employee needs to recognize that a language learning program needs to be put into place. Most companies spend much of the employee training budgets on processes and procedural aspects of the job, but in a global society, language barriers can pose a significant problem in workplaces.
A study published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management indicated that around 73% of immigrant workers in the hospitality field have limited English-speaking skills. However, through language training, workers are able to experience greater job satisfaction and performance. This can attribute to increased retention rates and better productivity.
Any company can easily provide language training to employees in order to reduce language barriers while honing in on improving hiring diversity.