Encouraging linguistic and cultural diversity in your workplace can have many benefits, such as improving global reach and giving your business a competitive advantage in diverse markets.
Including language training for your teams using powerful platforms like Rosetta Stone for Enterprise can also enhance employee communication skills and cultural competence. It leads to better collaboration across global and culturally-diverse teams, and enables employees to form deeper connections with customers around the world. In today’s interconnected business world, multilingual employees are highly valued and are the front line for companies that want to expand into new markets and better serve a wider range of customers. Providing language training can improve employee engagement and retention, and can help to attract top global talent to your multilingual company.
Below are the top seven benefits of prioritizing language development and linguistic diversity in your organization.
1. Improved communication
Multilingual culture stimulates communication within your organization
When coworkers can break through language barriers and connect with one another, it creates a deeper sense of comfort, trust and involvement in the workplace. Whether working on a project together or chatting informally during breaktime, those working on culturally diverse teams benefit from being able to connect with one another in a common language. Where there is cultural and linguistic diversity in the workplace, providing training can help to strengthen interpersonal relationships and foster greater collaboration, satisfaction, and performance.
Reach clients and customers in numerous languages
When employees are able to connect with clients and customers in their native languages, your business can provide better service and greatly improve performance in emerging markets. Employee language skills enhance the reputation of your company through more meaningful and effective interactions with customers around the world. By contrast, coming up against language barriers and losing key details in translation can be frustrating for the customer and damaging for the company’s reputation and success.
For example, if a potential client in Japan is more comfortable communicating in Japanese, employees with these language skills can provide clearer information, provide more effective and culturally appropriate messaging, and improve the customer’s success. This not only boosts the experience of each individual client, but strengthens the perception and performance of the company in that region. Language training can boost regional sales, improve customer loyalty, and ultimately improve financial returns for the organization.
2. Increased diversity
Multilingual company cultures promote diversity and inclusivity
More and more, corporations are recognizing the importance of prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). As technology and global commerce continue to advance, organizations seek to attract top international talent. To do so, they understand the importance of preventing exclusion based on background and identity, fostering improved collaboration among employees, and promoting inclusivity in the workplace.
Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion is about more than fulfilling requirements and inclusive hiring practices. It entails creating a corporate culture that offers support to individuals of diverse ethnicities, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds. This involves encouraging communication throughout your organization and cultivating empathy for diverse cultures, traditions, and viewpoints. Successful DE&I approaches enhance each employee’s well-being and productivity, helping them reach their fullest potential in the workplace.
Language training promotes diversity and inclusivity
Enabling employees to speak different languages in the workplace encourages them to bring more of themselves and form deeper connections with one another. Employees who speak the same non-majority language can communicate more effectively, building their confidence, improving performance, and creating a better sense of belonging for culturally diverse groups in your organization.
Take native Spanish- or Mandarin-speaking workers in a US-based business, for example. Such employees can brainstorm new projects together and discuss their shared experiences confidently, without working through language barriers. This confidence and comfort empowers them to participate more fully in your organization—both in their native languages and in the business’s majority language, too.
By contrast, when organizations promote English speakers (or majority language speakers, depending on context) at the expense of minority language speakers, employees who are native or fluent in other world languages contribute less of those skills to their workplaces. They communicate with less confidence, fearing misunderstanding or missing key details.
For example, let’s say that a company based in Germany employs a diverse group of employees from various countries, including Turkey, Italy, and France. Because German and English are useful business languages spoken in the office, some of these international employees may feel more comfortable communicating with each other in their native languages.
By offering language training programs, employees who are interested in learning more German and English can improve their language skills and communicate more effectively with their colleagues. Moreover, these skills translate to their personal lives, helping them integrate into their local German-speaking communities. For globally mobile employees, language training can improve retention and success by up to 40%, for example.
At the same time, native German speakers may be encouraged to learn Turkish, Italian, and French to welcome their international colleagues and get to know them on a more personal level. This helps the non-native German employees feel more included and valued in the workplace by creating cross cultural links and better working relationships. Language training under these circumstances can improve employees’ overall job satisfaction and make a meaningful improvement to the employer brand and company culture.
Rosetta Stone for Enterprise empowers your employees to learn each other’s languages. With flexible, customizable packages and 24 languages on offer, you can support all employees’ language-learning journeys, enabling them to work better with multilingual colleagues and clients worldwide.
Multilingual company cultures attract diverse talent pools
When your workforce can communicate effectively in multiple languages and your organization supports such a multilingual culture, job applicants notice. Potential employees of diverse linguistic backgrounds will be more interested in working for your business, bringing their language skills, culture, and unique lived experience with them.
By establishing a strong language strategy, your organization will appeal to the next round of job seekers of different backgrounds, thereby establishing a virtuous cycle of increasing diversity. Such different languages and backgrounds are worth celebrating, and not only because your workplace better represents the diversity of the workforce and world. In addition, diverse employees bring their different experiences and perspectives to the table, fueling creativity and business innovation.
3. Better employee retention
Multilingual company cultures help employees feel valued
Of course, employees who feel valued are more likely to stay with your company. Multilingual employees are appreciative of—and feel appreciated in—workplaces in which they can communicate freely in their native languages and without language barriers. This is because it enables them to share their ideas and unique perspectives unencumbered, allowing them to flourish and ensuring that they stay with the organization for the long haul.
In turn, these employees’ contributions ripple out, positively impacting their coworkers and the organization more broadly.
Offering language training can help retain employees
For employees who are interested in learning your organization’s corporate language or other employees’ languages, consider offering language training. Rosetta Stone for Enterprise helps establish channels of communication in multiple languages, allowing more and more employees to take part in your organization’s diversity of language, background, and perspective.
In addition, by providing Rosetta Stone for Enterprise to your employees, you demonstrate that your organization prioritizes interpersonal communication and professional development for your increasingly diverse, globally mobile workforce. By greenlighting opportunities for employees to learn new languages, you enable your company to experience better outcomes organization-wide. At the same time, language training will yield higher employee satisfaction and retention.
4. Improved customer satisfaction
Offering customer service in multiple languages can improve customer satisfaction
By hiring employees and staff who speak your target customers’ languages, your clients will be unencumbered by language barriers when conducting business with your organization. For example, multilingual hotel staff in London, Tokyo, and other major tourist hubs benefit their respective organizations by providing more personalized and accommodating services to guests from across the globe.
Similarly, having multilingual call center agents helps businesses communicate more effectively with all customers, reducing the chances of miscommunication or misunderstandings.
Customers value being able to communicate in their own language, which can lead to repeat business
Even learning the basics in your customers’ languages—such as how to greet customers or express gratitude—demonstrates that your business prioritizes your customers’ diversity and has taken the time to learn about their languages and cultures. By extension, your business will be understood to have genuine interest in and respect for your customers’ languages, cultures, and identities.
All in all, efforts like these help establish a solid foundation for positive business relationships in our increasingly multilingual world.
5. Global reach
A multilingual company culture can help expand the company’s global reach. Organizations that communicate with clients and customers in their language are more likely to obtain new global business opportunities.
For instance, if your software company is looking to expand into the Latin American market, you can count on your Spanish-speaking employees to provide customer support in Spanish and develop Spanish instruction booklets, marketing materials, and more. Multilingual hiring policies and language training initiatives can improve your business communication, and strengthen relations with your target audience.
6. Cultural awareness
Beyond improving communication with global audiences, your company’s multilingual culture promotes cultural awareness and understanding. Multicultural employees not only speak diverse world languages, but also have unique backgrounds and insights into their respective cultures. This makes them more likely to understand and appreciate cultural differences, and can often better understand and represent their culturally- and linguistically-diverse customer base.
Continuing the previous example, your Spanish-speaking team has the language skills and cultural competence to understand the unique needs and preferences of customers in different Latin American countries, which can be used to tailor the company’s products, messaging, and services to meet those needs.
Overall, multiple languages can help your company translate—and localize—effectively.
7. Competitive advantage
A multilingual company culture can provide a competitive advantage over other brands. Companies that can communicate with clients and customers in numerous languages have an edge over competitors who can only service customers in English (or another corporate language).
Imagine that a firm based in Chile is deciding between packages from two US-based software companies. Yours has Spanish-speaking employees and sales staff with experience conducting business in Spanish, so they’re skilled at building relationships without language or cultural barriers. Plus, your marketing team has experience tailoring your products to potential customers in Latin America. Your business will have an upper hand over your competitors, helping you secure this account and numerous others.
When you foster a workplace environment in which multilingual employees can take advantage of their language skills, you inspire employees of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds to communicate with each other and become proficient in the language of their customers. This diverse and inclusive company culture improves your organization’s internal communication, retains your linguistically-diverse workforce, and expands your global reach.
Try Rosetta Stone Enterprise
For nearly 30 years, Rosetta Stone for Enterprise’s engaging, immersive, and career-focused curriculum has helped employees build the skills and confidence to work better across language barriers. To help all of your employees take part in building your multilingual company culture, try Rosetta Stone for Enterprise. Schedule a consultation with our corporate language training specialists to learn more.