Home Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion How corporate language training promotes inclusivity in the workplace

How corporate language training promotes inclusivity in the workplace

by Rosetta Stone
inclusive customer service team

Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are increasingly becoming a priority corporate focus. Ever expanding advances in technology and global trade have prompted larger businesses around the world to look at ways to attract top global talent and improve inclusivity in the workplace. In work environments such as manufacturing and hospitality where diversity has always been present, more and more care is being taken to avoid exclusion on the basis of language, and find ways to help employees work better together.

Improving diversity, equity and inclusion from a cultural perspective isn’t just about ticking boxes and encouraging inclusive hiring process. It involves working hard to build a corporate environment where people of all colors, cultures and linguistic backgrounds feel supported and included. It’s about inciting and encouraging curiosity, respect, and a sensitivity for other cultures, customs and perspectives. When it is done successfully, DE&I strategies improve employee wellbeing, boost productivity and ensure that every employee can maximize their contribution in the workplace.

How can language training help to create an inclusive work environment?

In modern times we’re inclined to associate corporate diversity with an increased sensitivity towards racial and gender diversity. It can also refer, however, to managing a mix of native employee languages and empowering productivity through multicultural teams. While there are several ways an organization can go about building an inclusive culture to unite its workforce, corporate language training is an important way to close communication gaps between multilingual coworkers. It not only helps them work better together but also stresses a commitment to emphasizing cultural awareness, encouraging employees to be more mindful and tolerant. These kinds of training opportunities can benefit employees and organizations in more ways than one.

English has long been considered the ‘language of business’, with more and more global firms electing to use it as an official corporate language. In these cases, corporate language training helps multilingual employees to communicate and collaborate more effectively with one another, and ensures that there’s a clear structure in place for internal communication, meetings and the like. In these cases, offering language training is essential. It enables non-native speakers to build proficiency in the corporate language, and avoids their becoming professionally disadvantaged by their lack of language skills.

As an added benefit, when corporate language training is extended to those who are native to the corporate language, it encourages cultural awareness and tolerance. It’s difficult to de-pair language from culture, so when employees are required to learn a language for work, they are naturally moved to explore alternative perspectives and customs. This awareness can build acceptance and can often help to strengthen relationships between multilingual coworkers or with customers from different cultural backgrounds.

How can corporate language training strengthen business networks?

By offering corporate language training to all employees, organizations pledge their commitment to promoting cultural awareness and acceptance. This gesture extends through employees to other business associates, and can help to reinforce corporate relations and build a more inclusive employer brand.

Recruit top talent and benefit from varied perspectives. 

Most importantly from a DE&I standpoint, is the effect that corporate language training has on extending the internal talent pool. By demonstrating that your organization not only accepts other cultures and languages, but actively encourages its employees to embrace these differences through language training, you not only increase your chances of attracting and retaining top international talent, but are able to leverage the skills and connections they bring to your business.

Using language training to grow, empower and improve your business

Many organizations introduce language training as an employee benefit, but some underestimate the secondary benefits it can bring, and the ways in which it can enhance business success. Here are some of the advantages that stand out to organizations that prioritize corporate language training:

·   In today’s increasingly interconnected world, doing business internationally has become more straightforward than ever. In addition to the advances in technology and global business networks, a linguistically diverse workforce enables companies to build successful partnerships overseas and support customers in emerging markets.

·   In industries where multilingual teams are commonplace (manufacturing, construction, hospitality & agriculture being prime examples), corporate language training enables smoother workflows and diminishes miscommunications and safety concerns.

·   Cultural agility is a secondary skill that comes from learning and speaking a foreign language, and one that greatly advantages professional relationships in the workplace. Not only can language skills improve efficiency and collaboration, but the willingness to accept ideas and alternative cultural perspectives can help business development teams to resolve problems and find a more creative path forward.

Boost creativity and problem solving in the workplace by enabling employees to work as a team

Employee Language training is an obvious way to address work culture challenges, the solutions to which lie in creating a corporate environment that embraces cultural diversity, and where individuals are not excluded on the grounds of language. It’s easier said than done, especially given that even fluent second-language speakers can face discrimination on account of cultural bias.

Language training enables every employee to impart a full professional contribution

By taking steps to dismantle communication barriers and by stressing the importance of cultural acceptance in the workplace, inclusivity can be improved upon. In an environment where DE&I policies fail to include language training, employees from varied cultural backgrounds often face discrimination and valuable ideas can go to waste. To maximize creativity and maximize corporate innovation, it’s important to explore every potential initiative and solution.

Inclusive policies are important for modern day business success

Modern day employers who ignore the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) risk stunting the growth of their business and excluding prospective employees and clients. In a country like the US, where almost 1 in 5 employees is a non-native English speaker, language training helps teams work better together and boosts wellbeing and productivity in the workplace.

In addition to the practical advantages of employee language training in growing business networks and improving upon customer service, employers who offer this kind of professional development for all employees bring cultural acceptance and empathy into focus. The firsthand experience of language learning, even for native speakers, can build respect for coworkers and clients who use a second language to communicate, and can encourage native employees to extend some grace, patience and due respect.

Ready to explore language training as a way to make your business environment more inclusive?

Rosetta Stone for Enterprise delivers web and app-based language courses at all levels (CEFR pre-A1 – C1+). It covers 24 languages and offers an adaptive curriculum that covers industry-specific and business communication skills, empowering employees in every area of business to elevate their professional skills, performance, and cultural awareness.

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