There is a growing belief that the boundaries that used to define how and where business activities are done are blurring. Companies that have the resources to expand to other countries employ people of multiple nationalities. Having such a multicultural host of employees can prove to be very challenging to those who manage the company and make the decisions.
Similarly, it has become very beneficial to corporations with global ambitions to foster language skills on its manpower. Many are allotting a considerable amount of resources to achieve their language goals.
Here are some of the most relevant language trends in the corporate sector today.
The need for multi-lingual personnel
One of the more popular production trends in businesses today is the dispersion of production lines such that the factory is located in one location while their offices are in another country altogether. Some companies may have their warehouses at a third location. The reality is many American and European companies have more than half of their factories abroad. As a consequence employees with language skills have become indispensable in multi-national companies. People with language skills are playing an increasing role in sales, customer service and in the growth and development of business in general.
Even small and medium-sized companies with small-scale operations (fewer than a thousand employees) with holdings in foreign soil can benefit from advanced language skills of their personnel. When transactions and collaborations are conducted in the mother tongue of the customers stronger and more enduring relationships are formed.
The need to bridge language barriers
Many companies are faced with a rather complicated language barrier issue these days. For instance, there’s the case of a typical American company that chose to outsource its manufacturing in a foreign country. The floor managers in these factories usually speak English. However, not all the factory workers speak or understand English. This language barrier may lead to gaps in efficiency and may even increase the risk for occupational hazards given certain set-ups.
Some companies employ local people with a certain level of English fluency. However, oftentimes there remains a gap in their English skills, which need to be filled. For example, the grasp of terminology specific to the industry or business may be very poor. The companies that realize the need for their workers to gain workplace-English competency are the ones that grow and survive. This is partly because there is better collaboration between workers on all levels.
Employers need to find ways to foster shared language skills in their workforce. In this way, safety is better guaranteed. In addition, there is greater assurance that production strategies designed to increase return of investment will succeed.
The new standard: stringent language skills requirements
Language development has now become a critical component in the growth and expansion strategies of many companies. They are fully aware of what needs to be done in order to succeed in business in today’s world. As such, many companies have rather stringent language requirements when they recruit high ranking personnel. For example, companies that recognize English as the global language of business do not only require oral skills but advanced level writing skills as well.
New technological innovations and globalization have changed the way business is done throughout the world. As business enterprises go global with the many new opportunities provided by emerging economies in Asia and South America, the roles played by culture and language are becoming more and more prominent.