Team Development: Put Language Learning on the Agenda for 2023

Collage image of Business woman running out of computer into a new beginning.l

In this post, we will explain why language learning is important for companies and how you can establish it as a team development activity.

All around the world, the past years have proven to be some of the most chaotic and unstable years in recent memory — and companies and individuals alike are more than ready to bid them farewell and look towards 2023.

Though every new year brings new opportunities to re-evaluate the old ways of doing things, the volatility and rapid social and technological changes of the past years have valuable lessons to teach us about the future. The rules of life and business are changing, and we may need to change to keep up. You can help your team with that by using language learning as a team development activity.

preview download ebook The Ultimate Guide to Language Learning in Your Company Babbel for Business

Start now with language learning!

Download our free guide to language learning to find the right learning strategy for your team. Use the included roadmap to set up a language learning plan in your company.

Why language learning is so important in 2023

There are countless companies out there who have wanted to change their approach to business and prepare for an increasingly remote and freelance workforce and an increasingly global marketplace. For those companies, that change means putting language learning firmly on the agenda in 2023.

Although many businesses may want to make these changes, there’s still uncertainty about how to implement corporate language learning programs that will be effective and pay off in the long run. While using Babbel for Business’s scientifically proven approach is a great start, ensuring that companies get the most out of language learning depends on clear development strategies and clear goals and milestones.

💡 More about this topic
In another blog post, learn more about the benefits of language learning for companies.

How to introduce language learning for team development

Team leaders can use these four tips to integrate language learning as a team development activity:


1. Use SMART goals

Though it’s great to set goals, some goal-setting methods are better than others. One of the best ways to set goals your entire team can achieve is by setting SMART goals, meaning goals that are

  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Achievable,
  • Realistic and
  • Time-bound.

This means rather than setting a goal that all employees will speak better Spanish by the end of the year, a goal could be to hold a full work meeting in Spanish at the end of a quarter by scheduling 10-15 minutes of Spanish practice time each daythe latter will be much more effective!

💡 More about this topic
In another blog post, learn more about the SMART method and how you can use it to set sustainable development goals with your employees.

2. Use routines and environment to your advantage

While Babbel for Business’s products have been proven to effectively strengthen language skills in just 15 minutes a day, routine and regularity is what makes this approach work — and you can strengthen it by being specific about what you’re learning and anchoring it into your environment.

To take the goal above of having a work meeting in Spanish, team leaders can both schedule time every day to let employees learn and put notes on objects around the office labelling them in Spanish. With a little creativity, you can accelerate learning throughout the day with little additional effort!

💡 Tip from Babbel
Do you want to set up a language learning plan in your company? Watch our webinar for hands-on tipps to overcome problems and help your team to succeed:

3. Use competition and games to increase motivation

Choosing a program that lets users direct their own learning is critical to long-term success in language learning, but it can be helpful to offer additional incentives as well. As a study from the Universidad del Este in Puerto Rico showed, using games can be a good way to increase motivation and retention in second language learning.

In addition to the other strategies mentioned, companies can track how often employees spend time learning a second language and give small prizes or awards to employees who show the most engagement over time.

2 smiling co-workers are giving each other a high five.

4. Reinforce your language learning with an innovative work culture

As explained by Gary P. Pisano in the Harvard Business Review, the most innovative cultures contain many contradictions. They are experimental, but highly disciplined; they create psychological safety, but also encourage brutally honest feedback — and effective language learning mirrors these contradictions almost perfectly!

To use the first example again, to run an end-of-quarter meeting in a second language, all employees will need to be technically competent enough in the language with relevant vocabulary by a certain time — but they will also need to feel psychologically safe and trusting enough to fully express themselves and experiment in this new language, even if it means making mistakes. Companies that can strike this balance will be perfectly poised for the future.

💡 More about this topic
Find out in other blog posts, why company culture matters and how to change your company culture for the better.

As the past years have shown us, the business world may still be dealing with COVID-19 difficulties for some time. In light of that change, the world has seen an accelerated shift to more remote and international teams — and though that brings plenty of opportunity, it also adds new managerial and communication challenges.

Fortunately, organizations that add a robust language learning program into their corporate culture can solve many organizational issues all at once — all while expanding business opportunities, improving the bottom line, and increasing employee fulfillment for a more vibrant 2023.

preview download ebook The Ultimate Guide to Language Learning in Your Company Babbel for Business

Start now with language learning!

Download our free guide to language learning to find the right learning strategy for your team. Use the included roadmap to set up a language learning plan in your company.

Anika Wegner

Anika Wegner

B2B Blog Editor — Exploring other cultures through language is particularly important to her. That's why she loves writing for Babbel about topics, how companies can benefit from language-learning solutions.