• Sector:

"The language training program is one of our most highly valued training initiatives”

CPP is a leading international assistance company that offers products designed to provide assistance and security products for credit cards, laptops, internet connections, identity, legal issues, etc. It has been operating for more than 30 years, and today it has over 11 million customers in Europe, Latin America and Asia, and more than 2,000 employees working in 16 offices all over the world. It has its own telemarketing and customer service platforms, offering assistance 24/7.

Interview with Susana Muñoz, Head of Training at CPP

Could you give us a brief description of CPP?

CPP Group is a British company, which has been listed in the LSE (London Stock Exchange) since March 2010. Founded in 1980, it is a global reference point in affinity marketing through its Life Assistance products. These products, designed to help consumers cope with the anxieties and complexities of modern life, offer assistance in everyday situations, such as when your wallet, your phone or your tablet is lost or stolen, you are the victim of an identity theft, or you require any form of legal protection. With over thirty years of experience, the group is present in 16 countries, cooperates with more than 200 Business Partners and has over 2,000 employees assisting more than 11 million customers. CPP Spain was created in 1995, and today it offers protection to close to a million families in this country. CPP Group’s turnover in 2011 exceeded €414 million, 6% higher than in 2010.

What is your language training policy? Are courses tailored based on professional profile, learning needs, etc.?

Our language training programs are aimed at those employees who, because of their job description, need to learn a second language. The fact that we are a British company, providing services from Spain to the South of Europe and Latin America, means that many of our employees need to learn English and, for those who work with Brazil, also Portuguese. The language training program this year is structured around telephone sessions, supplemented by online learning resources. Other years, we’ve had specialized seminars such as “Meetings”, “Conference Calls”, or “Presentations”, where the contents were tailored to participant profiles.

How many of your employees are learning languages? What is their profile?

There are currently 30 participants in the language training program, with eight more who will be starting in October. They are technicians, middle management and some managers. In theory, any employee whose job requires the use of a foreign language – English and Portuguese in our case – is entitled to request language training.

Why are language skills important in the insurance industry in general, and in CPP in particular?

To improve interaction and communication with other countries, both within the company and in the industry as a whole.

How often and in what kind of situations do your employees need to use their language skills?

We are constantly communicating with our colleagues in the UK. Additionally, from Spain, we work with and for the countries included in our region, which are France, Italy, Portugal, Mexico and Brazil, interacting with most of them in English. Suppliers, customers, etc, often approach us in Portuguese, which is why we have included this language in our training programs. In other cases, like the sales area, the existing work methodology is in English, which makes a certain level of knowledge necessary.

Why did you choose to combine face-to-face and telephone training?

In our Portuguese program, face-to-face training is essential. We needed to offer our employees the necessary language skills to prepare them for the launch of Brazil. Practically all of them started out with a very basic level, which made face-to-face the best option. In the English program, practically all the classes are taught via telephone and virtual sessions; all the participants have the necessary level to allow them to benefit from this model. Telephone training is the best option to improve fluency and make quick progress, since it’s easy to recreate situations that are very similar to what employees must face in their day-to-day.

How do your employees rate the training program?

Language training is one of the most highly valued, and the most sought-after, of our training initiatives.

And how does the Human Resources Department measure results?

In some cases, we use a questionnaire where students inform us of their achievements based on their use of the skills they acquire. In most cases, it comes down to “no longer being embarrassed or afraid to speak English” and “communicating more fluently”. We also detect a noticeable improvement in their use of technical vocabulary relevant to their job.

Do you feel that languages are an unresolved issue for Spanish professionals in general?

Yes, I do. We try to provide them with the necessary skills at work, but the fact is that language learning should start at an early age, in school. Learning a language as an adult is a slow and difficult task.

When and why did you decide to work with Training Express Group?

We started working with them in 2008. They seemed very professional from the start, due to the pedagogical content of their courses, their methodology, and the support they offered in terms of monitoring students, preparing reports and assessing results. The fact that they offered to keep track of attendance and submit monthly reports, and also to prepare progress reports, was very interesting too. We also liked the idea of working with a company that, apart from traditional English lessons, could offer skills training in English, through the “Meetings” and “Presentations” courses I mentioned before, or even through the “Technical English” courses that we have arranged on occasion, for departments with more specific needs. And to all of the above, we have to add that, financially, their proposal was very reasonable.

What sets them apart from other language training companies?

As a big company, they can offer a wider range of services. Virtual training, through telephone sessions, offers more flexibility, and also the option of standardizing the language training model in our offices all over the world. They offer a structured learning methodology and are in a position to guarantee something which is really important in this sector: minimum teacher turnover.

Source: “Link”, special issue on languages in cooperation with “Equipos y Talento”, issue number 3, 2012