Adapting to the global multilingual marketplace
Developing and implementing a corporate language strategy is a relatively recent concept for corporations. The ever-expanding world of international business has not only exposed people to new business practices, but, over the last several years, it’s also created a new awareness of multiculturalism and multilingualism. In the evolving global marketplace, companies are faced with having to make corporate changes that take full advantage of their international workforce. More and more companies are adopting a corporate language strategy and there are several reasons why a corporate language strategy could be good for your organisation as well.
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More and more companies are adopting a corporate language strategy and there are several reasons why a corporate language strategy could be good for your organisation as well.
Recent studies have confirmed that the ability to communicate efficiently in an internationalized environment is key for employees, recruiters, clients, and, perhaps most of all, management. Establishing a company-wide corporate language strategy ensures consistency in both internal and external communication, allowing for more effective management of day to day administration, greater sales opportunities as well as improved promotion of a company’s brand to the global business community.
Better Workplace & Strategy
Sharing your strategy with employees is just as important as the strategy itself. Clearly communicating a language strategy internally will allow teams, in turn, to interact more effectively. A multinational company that lacks a clear language strategy can easily be overcome by its multilingualism, which could potentially lead to confusion and disorganization in the workplace. If managed efficiently, language can become a strategic resource for a company, ultimately helping with profitability, growth, employee satisfaction and retention.
In addition to improving communication, a company’s language strategy fosters a sense of “language awareness” with employees, which in turn triggers a cultural awareness that may or may not have previously existed. The importance and power of one’s cultural awareness is just as significant as their ability to communicate within and out of the workplace. Creating an environment that allows these two factors to operate in tandem is integral to any company’s strategy.
Creating a Competitive Edge
Building a language strategy especially one surrounding the implementation of English as the main corporate language provides a competitive edge in the global marketplace. Companies with a defined language strategy can benefit from increased collaboration, communication, effectiveness and growth. According to a Rosetta Stone survey of nearly 1,900 employees from more than 300 companies globally, more than half of customer service and sales respondents said language training enables them to serve a larger range of customers, and three-quarters of all workers surveyed said that learning a language has made them more effective at their jobs.
Being proactive rather than reactive is the key. Language management tools can be deployed to address existing and expected language needs. By investing in employees’ language training, companies empower employees in return to help develop strategies to reach new markets and grow business.
Implementing a Successful Language Strategy
Over the past couple of years, more and more multinationals are adopting English as their lingua franca. To implement this type of program, accurately auditing and assessing employee English skill sets and knowledge is essential. Evaluation should be the first step in the creation of any language strategy. Online tools like The English Quiz can provide management with a constructive profile of employee competence and help determine realistic language proficiency targets that contribute to the success of employees and the company.