The Hard Numbers around a Soft Service

Language Training often finds itself in the challenging position of being recognized as a highly beneficial service while continually having to justify its value. We regularly hear, “It’s a ‘nice-to-have’ but not necessary benefit,” or, “I can’t justify spending money on that,” in client conversations. The benefits of learning a language can be invaluable in assimilating culturally in the new location…but that is a qualitative value. What if your language provider could provide measurement of student progress, maximize lessons taken and guarantee the value of the service to address quantitative value and ROI?

For years, IOR has been a leader in demonstrating cost savings and ROI in Destination Services. In 2016, we generated an ROI of over 30% for our RMC partners’ clients (ROI = cost savings/program cost). The “payback period” on the Destination Services spend is approximately 3 years, which means these services often pay for themselves during the length of the assignment. So how to apply this to Language Training? Language Training can report a strong ROI if measured properly. When considering the ROI of a language provider, here are 3 questions to ask:

1. Does the provider utilize measurement to track student progress?

Working closely with the student, your language provider can establish specific goals and targets that can be measured to track program success:

  • Performance development plans (PDPs): The student and teacher develop a customized PDP at the beginning of the language program that identifies and tracks S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based) goals that:
    1. Hold the student accountable for effort and progress in the allotted period and hours assigned by the company
    2. Assign Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to the specific goals
    3. Show the whathow, and when these goals and KPI’s will be measured
  • Assessment Instruments for Measurement: To effectively measure student progress against their goals/KPI’s in their performance development plans, IOR recommends both formative and summative assessments. The CEFR scale not only provides an initial benchmark but also creates a framework for ongoing evaluation during the language program. Formative assessments can highlight language gaps and pinpoint specific goals that can be implemented and measured on the PDP. Summative assessments are used throughout lessons to track student progress and indicate when a PDP goal has been met.

2. Does the provider leverage technology and utilize KPI’s to maximize program usage?

These days face-to-face, online and blended learning options are available everywhere; however, a language provider should also utilize technology to monetize these services:

  • Ensure Programs are Captured: Of all approved programs, how many have started?  If a program is not captured, the allocated budget remains unused. Your language provider should measure capture rate monthly and have a process in place to increase this percentage by ensuring:
    1. Students are informed and aware that they have this benefit
    2. The client is kept updated on program initiation, including any challenges or developments in program delivery

These steps help ensure that the student utilizes their language benefit as intended.

  • Maximize Utilization Rates: What are the usage rates and what percentage of approved hours are your students actually taking? On average, most students use between 50-60% of their approved hours. By actively measuring utilization on an on-going basis and having a process in place for following up with students, language providers can significantly increase usage rates.  This helps ensure students are working towards achieving their PDP targets.

3. Does your provider guarantee the value of their service?

As the only services provider in the industry offering a Cultural Training Guarantee, IOR is now proud to extend this commitment to our Language programs. Introducing IOR’s Language Training Guarantee: if your assignee does not recommend our language training program after 30 hours of lessons, their next 10 hours are free.  IOR will also work with the student to make program changes to ensure the lessons are providing value and exceeding expectations.

Following these steps can help you earn a strong ROI on your language programs.