Natalia Bustos Entrevista - En inglés en el lugar de trabajo

Interview With Natalia Bustos: Mastering Languages, Connecting Worlds: The Global Impact of English in the Workplace 

Jun 3, 2024

Natalia Bustos, Senior Account Executive at Bridge Education Group, highlighted the importance of English in the modern workplace during her recent presentation at HR Learning Day in Lima, Peru. We delved deeper into the ideas she presented at the conference. 

Natalia, what are the main benefits you’ve observed for companies that invest in English training for their employees?

Natalia Bustos: Companies that invest in English training see notable advances in communication and collaboration among their teams, which directly drives an increase in productivity and efficiency.

This investment in language skills not only improves customer satisfaction and loyalty by empowering employees to better understand and respond to customer needs but also expands the company’s opportunities in the global market, making them more internationally competitive.

Furthermore, prioritizing language education places organizations in a privileged position to attract and retain top talent, as professionals actively seek opportunities for personal and professional development.

How does proficiency in English as a lingua franca affect efficiency in the workplace?

NB: Proficiency in English is crucial for optimizing operational efficiency within global organizations. This skill enables not only clear and direct communication but also facilitates efficient coordination among multicultural teams, preventing misunderstandings that could delay necessary decisions and actions. Moreover, talents with a high level of English tend to exhibit greater confidence and satisfaction in their roles, which is reflected in their ability to interact effectively and add value to their teams.

Mastery of English not only opens doors to better career opportunities and income potential due to the ability to take on international roles and more challenging projects, but it also enriches intercultural competencies. This is especially valuable in a globalized world, as it enhances understanding and relationships with colleagues and clients from different cultures, thus strengthening team cohesion and professional networks.

In your presentation, you mentioned the English skills gap in the workplace. Could you elaborate on how this gap impacts companies and employees?

NB: The English skills gap presents a significant challenge for companies aspiring to establish themselves and thrive in the global market. This deficiency in crucial skills leads to less effective communication, which can result in significant and costly errors. Additionally, linguistic limitations hinder expansion into new markets and affect the ability to collaborate effectively in international environments.

Internally, individuals are fully aware of the importance of English in their careers; a large percentage recognize that English training is essential for their professional success. However, there is a notable discrepancy between this perceived need and the training opportunities provided by companies: Only a minority of employees report that their workplace offers adequate English training programs. This not only demonstrates a missed opportunity for companies to invest in developing their teams but also underscores the urgent need to close this gap to enhance both the individual growth of employees and the collective success of the corporation.

Investing in English programs is not just about improving individual communication but an essential strategy to strengthen the global competencies of the entire organization, thus ensuring its viability and competitiveness in the long term.

A recent study conducted by Pearson and PSB Insights underscores the direct link between English proficiency and professional success. According to the data, 80% of respondents associate advanced English skills with higher income potential, while 56% indicate that effective communication in English can lead to a salary increase of up to 50%.

What strategies would you recommend to companies for implementing effective English training programs?

NB: Given the varied and complex challenges in language training, it is essential to conduct a thorough analysis of the specific needs of different functions and departments. This approach allows us to design programs that are not only relevant but also highly effective in terms of outcomes and return on investment.

Moreover, considering that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for organizations, it is very important to tailor training to the organizational culture and the specifics of each company. For example, learning solutions must be flexible enough to accommodate various learning styles and preferences, as well as varied schedules. A blended learning approach, combining self-study with live sessions led by a Global Teacher, can provide a more complete and enriching learning experience. By offering diverse options, we ensure that language training programs are not only accessible but also appealing and effective for all employees.

Could you share an example of a success case where English training has transformed an organization?

NB: Certainly, a notable case is that of the Komatsu Cummins Group in Chile. This company faced the challenge of linguistically training their teams to meet the demands of an international operation. The Human Resources team had the crucial goal of ensuring that all employees could communicate effectively in English, which was essential for the daily operation and sustained growth of the company.

In response to this need, Bridge developed a fully customized language training program for the Komatsu Cummins Group. This program not only met their specific needs but also achieved very high customer satisfaction, with a CSAT index of 97% and a Net Promoter Score of 65%. More than 600 employees were trained under this program, significantly improving their linguistic skills. As a result, notable improvements were observed in internal communication and with international clients, facilitating significant market expansion. This success clearly reflects how strategic investment in English training can transform an organization.

What role does technology play in language learning in today’s business environment?

NB: Technology is fundamental in language learning within the business context, as it offers innovative solutions that transform and enrich the educational experience.

Language learning platforms powered by artificial intelligence play a crucial role by providing personalized teaching, adapting to the level and learning style of each user. The integration of gamification and interactive content can significantly increase engagement and motivation, making learning not only more effective but also more enjoyable.

Moreover, data analytics tools are indispensable as they allow companies to monitor the progress of employees, identify areas that need improvement, and adjust training programs to maximize their impact. Measuring this impact is essential; therefore, establishing clear goals and key performance indicators, such as improvements in communication skills, increased productivity, or global market expansion, is vital. Periodic assessments help closely monitor the progress of employees and facilitate the collection of feedback, which is crucial for assessing the effectiveness of the program and making data-based adjustments.

This comprehensive, technology-based approach not only improves the individual learning experience but also benefits the organization as a whole, driving global and sustained growth.

What impact did your presentation have on the audience? What were the most prominent questions raised?

NB: It facilitated the reflection on the role that English plays in organizations today in keeping them competitive and enabling them to access new markets. On the other hand, there is the impact it has on the professional development of individuals, improvement of their competencies, retention of talent, and communication among colleagues, clients, and suppliers.

There is a general consensus that English is a skill that must be part of all company training and benefits plans.

After the presentation, several professionals approached our booth to discuss their company-specific challenges, such as lack of motivation or progress. Using our extensive experience, the innovative solutions available at Bridge, and our team of supportive professionals, we were able to determine how they could best approach their unique challenges to achieve their language training goals.

English is not just another language in the professional world, but an essential tool for growth and business efficiency. As the world becomes more interconnected, mastery of English is an indispensable investment for any company aspiring to achieve global success.


Nuestra diversa comunidad global de contribuyentes incluye expertos en el campo, graduados del curso Bridge, profesores presenciales y en línea de todo el mundo, y profesores y personal de Bridge.