Global organizations are becoming more diverse than ever. But it shouldn’t stop there. Here’s how your organization can push for inclusion through language training.
Bridging Communication Gaps in a Diverse Workplace
With global companies becoming more diverse and multicultural than ever, it’s high time for organizations to address the need for cross-cultural communication and workplace inclusion to educate their diverse workforce.
A multicultural workplace requires a high level of understanding and constant communication. This is why cross-cultural communication and language training are very essential while keeping a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. Good communication among colleagues is the key to effective knowledge sharing, decision-making processes, business coordination, and overall performance.
While it seems better to choose a lingua franca to use in the workplace for easier and standardized communication in your organization, it should still be coupled with the use of the local or native language because local languages are just as important for business as English.
Benefits of Language Training for Business
Having cross-cultural communication courses and curated language learning training paths can help your employees interact with their colleagues from different cultural backgrounds. Managers across departments should also take language lessons that will help them better manage cultural diversity among teams.
Listed below are some advantages of language training for your business:
1. Language training promotes the value of other languages and cultures.
Providing language training to your employees shows that you embrace diversity and indeed creates an inclusive culture in your workplace. By letting them learn different languages, you give them the opportunity to discover various cultures which can be of great use especially when they interact and transact with foreign business counterparts.
2. It creates a great awareness of communication differences between cultures.
Since language affects the way we think, it’s a great benefit for your workforce to get to know how to communicate depending on the nationality or culture of the person they’re working with. One way to see this in action is through knowing that Asians have high-context cultures compared to Europeans and Americans who mostly have low-context cultures. For example, doing business with the Japanese often takes a longer time because you should first build a business relationship with them before really delving into the core of your business. On the other hand, Americans are more straightforward in dealing with colleagues. So, it’s important to have essential language skills and knowledge when communicating with other people from various cultures.
3. It helps your learners build better relationships with colleagues and customers.
Since your customers and clients are diverse too, having a language learning program in the workplace lets your employees know how to deal with your customer and client base as well. Some may think that language is just a medium of communication that’s used for convenience. But the thing is that language is a cultural and social tool too. So imagine if your learners are able to use more than one language at work. This way, language is used to create stronger bonds and build trust.
4. It facilitates faster correspondence and smoother workflows.
When your learners are able to learn new languages, they become more empathetic towards other people. And this is why language learning can help your diverse workforce deal with one another as they build stronger professional relationships and get to know each other on a different level. With this, employees can have better coordination with one another and create great dynamics in the workplace. This just goes to show how language can accelerate the workflows in your organization.
5. It’s seen as a premium employee benefit.
Despite corporate training being a necessity among global organizations today, having language learning programs for your L&D is still seen as a benefit or perk for some employees. As an additional insight, around 67% of surveyed executives say that less than 50% of their employees are proficient in more than one language. But despite this disparity, 64% of companies still think that they’re able to align language learning programs with their business objectives.This is why language training is still seen as a great benefit for employees. Your organization should leverage this to attract top talents and create a stronger pool of employees.
6. It provides an edge over the competition.
Because of the reasons mentioned above, language training in your organization is really a great edge over your competitors. This only goes to show that you’re doing your part in giving your employees the upskilling they need when it comes to their respective careers through providing them access to learning new languages and getting to understand other people and their cultures especially in today’s competitive work landscape. It’s also great to take note that technical and hard skills can only get you so far but soft skills like communication and language skills are highly valuable in today’s modern workplace.
Inclusive Language in the Workplace
Having an inclusive language in the workplace doesn’t mean that you set a strict lingua franca and business language in the office. But inclusive language should always be respectful, accurate, and relevant.
For some, talking about language in the workplace may seem like a small and minor thing. But changing our language is an effective way to create productive and conducive workplace cultures which are inclusive of everyone. This is because the way we speak to and about each other also builds our work culture.
Here are some specific ways to achieve inclusive language in your workplace learning:
- Educate yourself regarding cultural differences to ensure that your learning materials and the delivery of training programs aren’t offensive in cross-cultural communications.
- Always address and remove stereotypes and inappropriate language, most especially in casual conversations and discussions during training.
- When using examples in lectures, webinars, and/or training, avoid limiting the inclusion of people only to the area of their diversity.
- If someone uses inappropriate language, always strive to educate them.
- Always keep your mind open when your colleagues or peers ask questions about your race, culture, demographics, etc. the same way that you keep an open mind to ask questions if you don’t know the answers.
With organizations now going global, it’s already time to shift your focus to language training and bring your workforce into a higher level of cooperation and collaboration. Cross-cultural communication is the key area to look into. In order to achieve seamless business communication, it’s better to start providing different language lessons to your employees.