So, the big question is, what makes accent modification important to employees and employers? Let's assess the potential benefits to both.
I would guestamate that about 2/3 of my clients enroll in an accent modification program sponsored/paid for by their employer. This includes government and corporate employers. However, employers generally only assist employees financially at the request of the employee! Why? Many organizations fear discrimination lawsuits or lack awareness of these programs.
Benefits to the Employer
Failure to discuss communication limitations at annual reviews does a disservice to the employee. Often, the employee is well skilled in the technical aspects of his/her job, but may not be rising through the ranks due to less polished communication skills than other co-workers. In most jobs, communication demands increase with upper-level job duties. As a result, some frustrated employees seek employment elsewhere. Loss of good workers is expensive, and can often be avoided with frank discussions with employees to learn of their desire for advancement and their interest in a communication enhancement program.
Improved communication performance with customer/clients, co-workers, and management provides more opportunities for employees. Companies benefit financially through employee retention of those with English as their second language. They benefit in other ways as many ESL speakers bring culturally diverse ideas and creativity to the job.
So the benefits to an employer include:
Improved employee retention
Improved scope of employee skills to a wider audience
Improved use of time communicating in meetings
Improved clarity for teleconference calls
Benefits to the Employee
It's obvious that employees benefit from improved communication skills. Skilled communication opens a great number of doors, providing improved confidence for public speaking/presentations and leadership opportunities.
Benefits to the employee include:[sh1]
Improved clarity/decreased repetition
Improved self confidence
Improved job performance and opportunities
Improved social conversation
If you are an employee, don't wait for managers to come to you to suggest a program. Request assistance for a program, and outline how improved communication skills can benefit both you and your employer. The sooner you improve your speaking skills, the sooner more doors will open for you.