Service provided: French and English Language Training and Translation Services
Timeframe: 1999 onwards
Audience: In previous years any employee wishing to develop his French language skills. Today key personnel who work directly with the French head office in Paris.
Requirement: Steria is one of the top 10 IT services companies in Europe. A French company, their UK head office is in Hemel Hempstead and they have regional offices in many parts of the UK. Although the language of the company is English, managers realised that introducing French training to employees would:
- improve relationships between the UK and France;
- improve understanding e.g. in meetings when the French speak to each other their own language;
- enable employees to take up roles in France;
- increase employee satisfaction.
Solution: We developed a two-pronged approach:
- small group training for employees who were below director level and based at the head office in Hemel Hempstead and five other sites throughout the UK;
- one-to-one training for directors, including the CEO and Finance Director.
Result: We have provided French language training to Steria (previously Integris) continuously since 1999. The outcomes are:
- the French have welcomed their UK counterparts learning their language. Many managers report directly to French directors based in Paris;
- key UK senior managers and directors have taken on Groupe roles. One member of the Finance team has moved to Paris to work for Groupe Steria on a permanent basis;
- the company now benefits from having a number of employees who are able to communicate in French;
- the language training became a low-cost motivator with staff appreciating being given the opportunity to learn French and gain an additional qualification. The training contributes to their personal and professional development.
I was an absolute beginner when I started, but thanks to the professional coaching of Language Matters, not only am I now in a position to read and understand documents written in French, but I was also able to kick off a Paris Conference for 400 people in French with a bit of humour – and that went down very well. Delighted with my progress. I was concerned about my ability to fit the French training into my working life, but Language Matters are so flexible that I manage to fit one session in a week around my other commitments.
Siva Niranjan – Group Programme Director, Environmental Sustainability