What is a company's most important asset? Is it the cash in its bank account? Nope, not even close! How about the building or location that a company is located in? Sorry, no dice! What about the company's president? Even they are nowhere near as important to a company’' success when compared to its employees.
Yes, its employees - especially the front-line employees - are truly a company's most important assets, since they are who the customers relate to day-in and day-out.
Think about the last time one of the company's bright employees was stolen by the competition, or simply resigned out of frustration. Was an investigation launched? Were the root causes identified? Were any measures implemented in order to prevent a recurrence? Or did the loss of yet another experienced Instructor set off no alarm bells? That seems to be the case for Berlitz more and more, recently.
It appears that some language centers in the Berlitz family have a higher than average turnover. Could the company be losing valuable employees (and subsequently, profits) due to questionable MI, management, or daily operational practices?
Many studies on retention agree on what influences employees to stay: meaningful work, a chance to grow and learn, a high quality work environment, and recognition and respect. With a company that tries to take away more benefits than it actually gives, allows questionable treatment by some staff, claws-back long-standing benefits, and permits an environment conducive to unfair treatment of employees, is it any wonder people aren’t happy and are not willing to take it any more? To put it bluntly, good instructors are leaving in droves, recently, and Berlitz is feeling the effects.
It's not just the front-line LCs that are having retention issues, however: the company is having severe and ongoing problems keeping presidents, too. With the departure of the latest President mere months after taking office, and an average track record of less than 12 months for previous presidents, what's the cause of Berlitz having just lost its 15th(? It's hard to keep count!) president in 11 years? Is it really that difficult to figure it out, Berlitz?
What it comes down to is that changes are inevitable: some changes are for the better, and some are for the worse. As we brace ourselves for yet another executive change (and the changes caused by good teachers leaving in droves), we'd like to remind Berlitz that it's usually the positive changes that have the most impact for a company - especially the ones showing gratitude or respect for their employees.
Isn't it about time that Berlitz also welcomed those kinds of positive changes towards their employees? We sincerely hope that the new president will take that into consideration, and think about the front-line elements as people, rather than just numbers on a spreadsheet.
If you'd like to be part of a group that actively tries to affect positive changes for the Berlitz workforce, and keep the negative changes in check, we’d love to hear from you! Think about joining the Union, where you can make an active difference. The Berlitz sister unions in East and West Japan have been fighting for Instructor's Rights since 1993 and are only getting stronger as membership grows!
You can help to make those changes with us.
Are you interested in joining the Berlitz branch of the GENERAL UNION? Let us know about it at:
Have Berlitz's business practices affected your life in some way? Had a bad experience that you want to share? Talk about it on our official Facebook page.