Thanks to globalization, the modern workforce is more diverse than ever before. With various cultural differences and language barriers involved, the need for clear effective communication has become more apparent. In the business world, a thorough understanding of languages and culture is now vital to success, so it’s important to understand that learning languages can be applied to companies’ diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies.
As a lifeline of all enterprises, communication is the only tool needed to cross cultural differences without animosity, as it provides a gap between cultures that can easily become the source of misunderstandings, especially in highly competitive workplaces. Without the necessary knowledge and grasp of communication, damaging consequences may be brewing just around the corner.
To establish a D&I strategy that simply works, certain measures must be made. Here are some ways you can establish effective communication processes in the workplace:
Repetition is key to learning; it’s unlikely for employees to remember something after hearing it for the first time. Even without language barriers, it’s vital to have an idea repeated more than once to fully comprehend the message.
It’s also necessary to ask for clarification as much as possible to avoid any vagueness or misunderstanding. It’s important to take time in conversing with employees for communication to be clear and effective. Patience is crucial in effective communication, so it pays to repeat and clarify as much as possible especially if you feel that there are any ambiguous messages in the conversation.
Body language can express messages that words may not properly convey. Non-verbal communication skills, such as your positioning, facial expressions, and posture can tell whether you’re happy, impressed, disappointed, or angry. Not taking these into consideration can make your messages unclear or contradictory.
It’s crucial to pay attention to your gestures and other non-verbal cues when speaking with employees. Smiling and using a calm voice can be helpful in setting the tone and mood of a conversation. Your movements, positioning, and gestures are an essential part of the conversation, and it can have a great impact on your communication.
Since the dawn of globalization, English has become the top language of communication, particularly when it comes to the business landscape. As we embrace diversity and inclusion, however, workplaces now welcome those who are non-native English speakers, especially those coming from cultures entirely different. While discrimination against non-native English speakers is heavily frowned upon, it’s important to note that language barriers can eventually cause rifts and strifes, all of which can affect employee morale and productivity.
With that being said, why not offer your employees language programs? Learning a new language allows them not only to learn a new skill set but experience a new culture entirely. Offer both English and another language, such as Chinese or Russian, or whatever second language is predominant in your company. By doing so, you bridge gaps and at the same time, allow your employees to grow individually.
While globalization has helped shape world economies today, cultural gaps and language barriers continue to pose problems in the modern workplace. By promoting an effective communication process, however, your company will be able to encourage people to interact with diverse cultures and backgrounds, helping creativity, productivity, and innovation flourish. Make diversity and inclusion part of your company’s strength—only then will you be able to reach true business success.
If you wish to promote language for learning in your company, Diáfano Learning is ready to assist you. We’re committed to helping companies improve their workforce through language courses and programs. By doing so, we also empower employees to embrace diversity, fun, and innovation. Reach out to us today to learn more!
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Irma is a trained linguist, native Spanish speaker, and teacher. She is the founder and CEO of Diáfano.
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