One way to retain employees is to help them grow. That establishes a VERY strong bond between employee and employer. ESL (English as a Second Language) courses help people whose English is limited grow both professionally and personally. The Conference Board found improved English proficiency correlates with increased employee engagement and retention.*
All you would need to do is to provide the space (e.g. the cafeteria or a conference room), the materials (readily available), and the instructor. Here’s some random ideas on how to get started:
- Contact the local high school or community college to learn what they have available and a list of potential instructors.
- Inquire about federal, state, county, or local grants to defray your cost.
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce – they might know of other employers who would like to add employees to the class (and who would share the cost).
- Don’t have a good space at your facility? A local hotel or retirement center might be willing to provide space at no charge as long as they could put a couple employees in the class. Or a local church might offer space at no cost or low cost as a ministry to the community.
- As a gesture of hospitality, provide modest munchies. People learn better when they’re not hungry, and sharing food builds connections. A local grocery store or restaurant might be willing to provide the food at their cost or no cost to help support the program.
If you so choose, you could also make these courses available to employees’ family members, again strengthening your employees’ loyalty.
Don’t have any non-English speakers? Perhaps ESL courses would entice them to join you.
One final thought: offering such a program helps your image with your other employees and your greater community as well. When you compare the cost of such a program to the improvement in employee retention and attraction, this should have a VERY high financial ROI. Win-win all around.
Let me know how this works for you.
*English Classes Help Retain Immigrant Workers, February 20, 2021, https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/all-things-work/pages/english-classes-help-retain-immigrant-workers.aspx