Success depends on commitment from three sources:
- A company’s commitment to employee development and to creating an inclusive, welcoming workplace.
- Employees’ commitment to self-improvement and to applying new skills.
- A training provider’s commitment to offering specific, relevant and interesting programming that addresses identified needs.
Shared commitment has come together in the new Talk English Café program, offered by TD Bank in partnership with Workplace Communication Advantage (WCA), an initiative of ACCES Employment Services and Gandy Associates.
TD recognizes that employees’ English language skills are important for ensuring full participation at work and in the community. The company has demonstrated its commitment by supporting a weekly, one-hour, on-site training program for employees who speak English as their second language. The lunch-time program is offered at locations across the GTA where employees can easily attend, and where they can relax and improve their conversational skills. Supporting Talk English Café aligns the principle of welcoming diversity with the practical step of offering English communication training.
It takes energy to remember new phrases, sounds and grammatical patterns, and it takes courage to try new communication strategies, particularly in a professional setting. By regularly attending training during their lunch hour, TD employees have shown commitment to developing their English communication skills. They apply their learning in everyday interactions and, with time, report easier communication and better relationships with colleagues, managers and customers.
TD selected Workplace Communication Advantage to design and deliver Talk English Café because it’s a training provider with a proven track record of providing successful English communication courses. The idea is for participants to learn a language strategy during a lunch-hour session and be able to use it during an afternoon meeting or telephone call. Sessions target everyday workplace communication techniques such as asking for clarification, giving advice or extending a conversation. Practice centres on topics colleagues enjoy discussing, such as travel, workplace dilemmas, giving good customer service, and favourite books and movies. In addition to increasing their fluency, participants improve their pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary with the guidance of an experienced instructor and through engaging in such activities as debates, role-plays and informal conversations with fellow participants.
This shared commitment to Talk English Café equips employees with bolstered confidence in their ability to communicate, and a feeling that TD cares about their professional development. In return, TD is rewarded with employees with increased abilities to participate and contribute to its continued success.
The results are in …Talk English Café is worth the commitment.
Jayne Edmonds is Program Director at Gandy Associates