The Value of Multilingual Employees in the Workplace
With the ever-increasing globalization of the marketplace, having multilingual employees in your workplace can be of great benefit. According to recent Census reports, the population of non-English speakers in the United States has continued to rise over the past 20-30 years. Having one or multiple employees who speak a language other than English can give your business a definite edge in a competitive atmosphere.
Top Five benefits of hiring a multilingual employee:
1. If you are looking to expand your business to a new market, a multilingual employee can be a great asset. Let’s say this client base does not speak English natively. They may feel more comfortable speaking to someone in their native tongue, trusting your company more, as a result, and increasing your chances of gaining them as a client.
2. Building a multilingual customer service department means drawing in a customer base who feels confident in their ability to do business with you. They know that if they do have any questions or concerns, they will be able to address these things seamlessly in their native language. When customers feel comfortable, they are more likely to buy.
3. Someone who has taken the time to learn another language has often learned about the cultures where the language is spoken in the process. When working with clients and customers from other places, understanding a few nuances about their culture and what may or may not be important to them can make a difference in how they perceive your brand.
4. A professional translation agency is key to handling translation and interpreting services, since it already employs translators and interpreters with the proper experience, education and training for these skill sets. An employee who knows another language will likely be able to assist with smaller language-specific tasks, but it is dangerous to assume that he or she is as comfortable in writing as in speaking. The two skills are quite different, and when your brand is on the line, it’s vital to ensure a professional translation. In addition to speaking verbally with clients and customers as previously mentioned, if you receive an email or mail correspondence in another language and need a quick understanding of the gist of the message, or if you wish to set aside time for an employee to review translated content through the eyes of your customers, multilingual employees would be quite effective.
5. The benefits are not simply linguistic in nature. Studies from the National Institutes of Health and Northwestern University have shown that individuals who speak multiple languages typically have a stronger ability for both multitasking and processing information more quickly and efficiently than monolingual individuals.
What has your experience been like with your multilingual employees? We would love to hear about benefits you’ve encountered that we may not have mentioned. Feel free to leave a comment below!