WORKPLACE DIVERSITY CASE STUDY

CLOSE ESSENTIAL SKILLS GAPS THROUGH LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL TRAINING

Employee retention and skills gaps remain some of the top concerns for talent development professionals. This challenge is felt most strongly in industries where workplace diversity is high and retention is low, such as hospitality. The challenges grow when your workforce is multicultural and lacking in essential skills, such as fluency in English and business communications.

Hospitality is an incredibly diverse industry with 12 percent of workers being foreign-born, according to the Pew analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010-2013 American Community Survey. Many talent development specialists in the industry find it difficult to engage, retain, and develop culturally diverse talent, some of whom may struggle with their English communication skills or immersing themselves in an American work culture.

THE PROBLEM

Ariadne Samaniego, director of resort education and learning for Sheraton Vistana Villages in Central Florida, experienced similar challenges within her own staff and worked with her executive team to find a solution. The answer came to them from their sister resort, Sheraton Vistana Resort. In response to their diverse talent pool and client base, Sheraton Vistana Resort offers language training to their associates to improve communication skills and offer new opportunities.

The team at Sheraton Vistana Villages considered this option for some time before deciding to act. The primary challenge was finding the right program for their specific needs. “The approach at Sheraton Vistana Resort was more of a school-based curriculum,” said Samaniego.

THE SOLUTION

A chance meeting with Martin George, CEO of LTC Language Solutions, helped to pinpoint what they needed. LTC’s customized and purpose-driven language training program was a great fit because it offered solutions to the specific challenges Samaniego’s team members were facing in their day-to-day jobs.

For client-facing positions especially, she has noticed a difference in her associates since beginning the program. “We are focusing on helping associates personalize their interactions with guests,” said Samaniego. “I see them practicing their English and becoming more confident.”

Not only were client relationships and service priorities with the program, but also associate retention. The turnover rate in the hospitality industry is astoundingly high, reported to be 72.1 percent according to a 2015 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the team at Sheraton Vistana Villages hoped this new program would help to reverse this trend.

“We want to make sure we are continuing to help our associates develop their talents,” said Samaniego. “Our hope is that they continue to grow with our company and motivate others to provide excellent customer service.”

In addition, Sheraton Vistana Villages has implemented a series of cultural competency trainings designed for all levels of the organization. These training sessions not only teach strategies and best practices for culturally diverse teams, but also open up lines of communication between management and associates to help foster understanding and trust.

THE RESULTS

Associates who have completed the programs have already benefited both personally and professionally. “I have an associate who wanted to be able to help his daughter with her homework,” Samaniego said. “He’s now able understand her homework and help her. He expresses his gratitude daily for being able to improve his interactions with guests and his children.”

Investing in the development of associates by improving their linguistic, cultural, and communication competency skills not only aids in their retention and helps to bridge the skills gap, but can promote loyalty and engagement. Employees who feel supported by their employers are more likely to be engaged, which has a direct effect on the bottom line.

Low retention rates because of workplace diversity can be solved. Closing essential skills gaps while lowering turnover rates with a single solution offers organizations a strong return-on-investment. The ability to communicate and function in diverse linguistic and cultural environments benefits employees outside the office, as well creating loyal ambassadors for your organization in the long term.

CORPORATE SERVICES

LTC offers document translation for businesses, organizations, and government entities; and interpretation for corporate events, meetings, conferences, and sports teams.

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Teacher

Our ENL (English and a New Language) team refers to her as a superhero and it’s no joke—she is truly amazing! Kitty does so much more than just interpret our conferences. She is someone who understands how school works and who can give us important cultural context, which is incredibly valuable.

Director of Student Services

Overall, I Thought The Course Was Fantastic. I Feel Like I Learned A Lot And Improved Significantly. Astrid Is A Great Professor. She Took The Class Seriously And Made It Enjoyable. She Did A Great Job Of Recognizing Everyone’s Weaknesses And Helping Us Improve On Them. She Focused On Improving Our Grammar While Also Keeping The Class Conversational. The Lessons Were Well Prepared And Focused On Areas We Needed To Learn, Not Just By-The-Book. It Felt Like The Class Was Tailored To The Student’s Abilities. I Am More Than Satisfied.

K. Corrigan

Thank you both very much for all you do. This translation project will go incredibly far in informing many of our Veterans and their families, on the important facts and information surrounding our current pandemic.

EEO Specialist (Equal Employment Opportunity)

On behalf of Freedom House, I would like to sincerely thank you for you and your team’s services today. Your presence helped us to ensure that the event went smoothly and that all of the attendees were able to participate. Thank you so much!

Freedom House

I have had wonderful interpreters from LTC in the past, who have done a great job providing precise and accurate interpretation. Ms. Li, however, goes far above and beyond what is expected. I’m so very grateful for her exceptional service to both this family and to ZCS.

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Jasmin (Student in Mexico City)

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Current ASL Client

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Interpreting Location Manager

I Enjoyed Studying With LTC. I Am Grateful For The Great Work With Ana And Her Professionalism To Customize Themes And Her Support In My Daily Life. I Feel More Comfortable With My Language.

D. Triviño

The Classes With Katelyn Are Amazing. I Am Very Happy To Have Her As My Professor. She Is An Amazing Teacher And An Excellent Person. I Am Learning A Lot From Her. She Is Very Patient, Responsible, Punctual, Very Clear, And With Great Experience Teaching. She Is Helping Me A Lot To Improve My English.

Anonymous

Thank you so much for your interpretation service – it has been a blessing to work with you and has been so helpful in a meaningful way!

Current ASL Client

Juliana is even more than an amazing Portuguese teacher but also a cultural expert and a very lovely person. I will really miss her a lot…

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Thank you so much to all of you for this workshop, I absolutely loved all the information you shared and will definitely continue to address cultural differences in class.

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K. Singh

Joseph was an excellent instructor. He was very dedicated to teaching me the language skills I needed for my upcoming assignment.

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Student from Mexico learning English

I cannot express enough great things about this experience. Jeancois was absolutely fantastic- professional, flexible, and dynamic- qualities I have found that some interpreters don’t always demonstrate when working with the pediatric population.

Bilingual Professor

I Would Recommend Ltc To Other Global Companies Requiring Interpretation Services. During Our Event, The Performance Of Ltc Made Me Feel At Ease Which Allowed Me To Focus My Attention On Other Aspects Of The Event. I Believe That When You Work With Ltc, You Will Receive A Professional And Efficient Team Of People Who Will Do Everything In Their Power To Deliver Excellent Service.

D. Hayden

This Year Went Very Well. The Interpreters Were There On Time Every Day And Very Helpful To Catherine. I Did Not Have To Think Twice About Their Service. Thank You.

C. Carol

It was the 3rd class with Kathy today. She is the best English trainer I’ve ever met. Her lessons really work good. So far I have nothing I need to ask you.

Nissan student from Japan.

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J. Brogan

Thank you. I appreciate what you do to help our Company succeed with better communication for our fellow employees.

Director of Human Resources – Staffing Company

Thank you for organizing these workshops for teachers, we learn so much from each other and grow to be better instructors.

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Project Management Employee

Thank You For All Of Everyone’s Help With Fumiya. We Have All Seen Him Grow With The Ability To Communicate On The Daily Tasks. I Will Definitely Keep You On My Contacts In Future Situations Thank You Again Have A Great Day.

J.

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A. West

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