By Corporate English Solutions

10 June 2024 - 16:12

Three smart employees having a discussion

Talent retention, business agility and enhanced employee engagement.

Just some of the benefits of internal mobility programmes.  For employee mobility to succeed, upskilling is a critical, making transitions smoother and more effective. And there’s been a noticeable shift towards valuing soft skills development over technical skills. Underpinning soft skills are strong language skills - providing the foundations for understanding, clear, concise communication and relationship-building. 

Discover how language proficiency can enhance talent mobility efforts, empowering employees to succeed in diverse roles and contributing effectively to your organisation’s success.


Reading time: 5 minutes

Did you know that 87% of mobility professionals see mobility as crucial for talent development? And that 76% say it's key to talent retention, while 74% believe it's vital for upskilling? 

Internal mobility goes far beyond geographic relocations: it's a comprehensive strategy that supports both business needs and individual career paths. Encompassing promotions, lateral moves, cross-functional projects and temporary assignments, talent mobility strategies nurture talent, foster skill development, and align employees with the right roles to drive organisational success. 

Upskilling is a critical part of talent mobility programmes, providing employees with the tools and skills they need to excel in new roles, making transitions smoother and more effective. And there’s been a noticeable shift towards valuing soft skills development over technical skills.  

Why do soft skills matter? 

Strong soft skills facilitate both lateral and vertical movement of employees. They enable individuals to navigate transitions smoothly and collaborate effectively across different roles and teams, enhancing their overall adaptability and career progression within the organisation. Skills like communication, emotional and cultural intelligence and more. And underpinning these skills are strong language skills - providing the foundations for understanding, clear, concise communication and relationship-building. 

Soft skills are good for organisations too - fostering a positive work culture, enhancing productivity and enabling business continuity and agility during employee rotations. 

Read on to discover how strong language skills can significantly enhance talent mobility efforts, empowering employees to succeed in diverse roles and contribute effectively to the organisation's success.

Strong language skills support business continuity during talent mobility

In the dynamic landscape of talent mobility, operational stability is crucial to maintain productivity and employee morale. It enables organisations to meet strategic objectives, respond to challenges, seize opportunities, and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

Constant talent movements can disrupt key roles and functions, leading to loss of knowledge and gaps in operations, and hindering effective collaboration.

However, having talent with strong language skills can make all the difference, ensuring smoother transitions, clearer communication and effective operations. 

Here’s how:

  • They’re effective and productive, quickly grasping new concepts, processes, and industry-specific terminology associated with their new roles. This reduces time needed for onboarding and training, minimising disruptions in operations and maintaining productivity.
  • They communicate clearly and concisely, facilitating knowledge transfer and exchanging critical information, procedures and best practices – which keeps valuable information within the organisation and reduces risk of disruptions.
  • They understand and respond to stakeholder needs, addressing them in a timely manner, demonstrating efficiency and commitment. This helps maintain trust and confidence internally and externally, preserving the organisation’s reputation.
  • They quickly build relationships, communicating with empathy and understanding to grow trust and from the start. This ensures smooth integration into teams, fostering collaboration and maintaining stable and efficient operations despite changes in team members.

Strong language skills ensure business agility during talent mobility

While business continuity is vital for maintaining productivity and operational stability during mobility, business agility emerges as a crucial counterpart. It enables organisations to navigate uncertainty, manage change effectively, build resilience and embrace innovation. All essential to remaining competitive, seizing market opportunities, and staying ahead in an ever-changing business landscape.

The fluid nature of talent mobility can pose challenges to achieving business agility, slowing down decision-making processes, complicating team dynamics, and impeding the implementation of strategic initiatives.

Having talent with strong language skills can mitigate these challenges, ensuring smooth change management and streamlining execution of strategic plans.

Here’s how:

  • They quickly understand new contexts, effectively navigating and swiftly adapting to new environments and cultures. This enables them to make informed decisions and respond rapidly to changes, enhancing their and their teams’ agility. 
  • They communicate insights and fresh perspectives, combining their diverse experience and expertise with strong language skills to drive creative problem-solving and innovative solutions, contributing to the organisation's agility and competitive advantage.  
  • They navigate uncertainty and ambiguity, through their ability to understand and interpret information and situations. This supports them to manage change-related stressors and builds resilience, enhancing their agility across functions and departments.
  • They engage in continuous learning, seeking feedback, understanding diverse perspectives and actively pursuing opportunities for improvement. This positive growth mindset helps them transition quickly into new roles and facilitates agile teamworking.  


Talent mobility is not just about moving employees from one location to another: it's a multifaceted strategy essential for talent development, retention, and organisational performance.  

By prioritising soft skills like communication, emotional intelligence, and cultural awareness, combined with strong foundations in language skills, organisations can foster a positive work culture, drive productivity and remain agile during employee movement. 

Investing in language proficiency development for your teams enables them to connect with others, communicate clearly and navigate role transitions with confidence.

British Council has 90 years’ experience of partnering with organisations and individuals in over 200 countries. Our holistic, research-driven approach to learning and assessment and forward-thinking industry leading solutions empower growth and engage teams, positively impacting individuals and organisations. 

Partner with us to develop strong language skills in your workforce and lay strong foundations for talent mobility in your organisation. 

Download our Corporate English Solutions brochure or book a free consultation to learn more.