Viessmann Climate Solutions SE is a developer and manufacturer of leading-edge, climate-friendly heating systems based out of Allendorf (Eder), Hessen. With 22 production companies in twelve countries and 120 sales offices, they have become an international leader in building the sustainable future of heating and cooling systems. The company puts significant focus on social engagement and in giving back to their community, employees and environmental protection.
As an international company dealing with multiple languages among their employees, Viessmann management made the decision to implement English as the official company language. This move would simplify communications between their production facilities, Product Line Owners, Strategic Assistants and sales offices. It was crucial to management that all employees be able to hold international presentations, sales meetings and board meetings exclusively in English and at the highest level possible. Additionally, they wanted to reduce the accent of their presenters in order to sound more native and increase their confidence when communicating. Efficiency was key as they needed their employees to be as fluent as possible in the shortest time possible.
Viessmann chose to leverage Passmore College’s decades of experience working with both international and domestic companies to meet the high standards they had set. The training methodology had three primary focuses: first, a practical approach to holding presentations; second, constant feedback regarding language, syntax, presentation style and pronunciation; third, positive reinforcement to boost self-confidence.
With the highly-qualified trainers, students held presentations with real slides to be used in future product updates, proposals, etc. They were then given immediate, in-depth feedback regarding structure, content, syntax and style. Following the feedback session, they repeated the presentation, utilizing the notes given by the trainers. Students were also trained in pronunciation, including the positions and movement of the tongue and teeth in order to minimize any accent and build a consistency among employees.
To support the employees’ confidence, feedback and suggestions were mixed with humor and an open, relaxed environment, allowing them to feel comfortable and free to experiment and implement new linguistic structures in their mock presentations.
Viessmann has experienced immediate results, finding that employees have a significantly higher ability to communicate across national and linguistic borders and a decreased frequency of miscommunication between facilities, managers and strategists. Perhaps even more importantly, the employees have lost the fear of communicating in English, expressing much more confidence in their ability to work with colleagues and board members.