The benefits of linguistic diversity


In 2015, the US Census Bureau estimated that at least 350 languages were spoken in households across the country. Of course, English is still the most common, but you may be surprised to learn that this is not always the case.Although our cities are incredibly multicultural, we don’t really see this diversity reflected in our careers or workplace.

 Everything is pretty much the same, from our dress code to how we hold meetings to the way we structure our workday. Involvement is obviously valuable, but as more and more organizations take the necessary work to increase their staff’s diversity, it is important to recognize the additional business benefits of including language as well.

For instance, employees at a workplace who know or speak more than one language are better at solving problems and can serve non-English speaking clients better than those who only speak one or two languages. They can play a crucial role in expanding business services regionally and internationally. They are also associated with a variety of talents that can help recruit and train new staff.

Awareness of the importance of multilingualism must start at the top. Studies show that proficiency in multiple languages makes you a better, more competent manager. Using more than one language provides measurable improvements in problem-solving and planning, inference, and working memory skills, among other functions necessary to management. Surprisingly, bilinguals have more robust inhibitory control, which allows them to better filter out irrelevant stimuli and, thus, the ability to judge what is most important for a decision – and what is not. This is something that every manager needs.

Language is like the clothing of different cultures. It is not enough to just talk. You have to walk. This means giving respect to their mother tongue to foreign-speaking staff and allowing them to share the beauty of their cultural heritage with others in the company. This can be achieved through food, culture, music, and presentations that emphasize another language’s richness and humor. When workers laugh and eat together and perform tasks together, they create connections that weave a tapestry of friendship in your workplace, both within and across offices.

Studies show that a multinational company actually is a multilingual community in different ways, and they need to be treated as such. The benefits of linguistic diversity are numerous. You not only acquire skills for communication with new foreign markets but also culturally enrich your company.


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