Diversity and inclusion are a matter of choice for most companies, which may then have to make some necessary accommodations to bridge language and cultural differences. Language may prove to be a major hurdle, when training new employees, managing them, setting work expectations, goals and objectives as well as when providing them with performance or behavioral feedback.
Language barriers may cause complications at the workplace between employer/manager and employee resulting in performance issues. Customers may be given misleading or patently wrong information by the employee, and it may even lead to losing the customer in certain cases. Let’s look at what else could go wrong:
When language presents a barrier to communication, who should change and learn a new way of communication – the manager or the employee? This is a quandary being faced across diversified workplaces in America. It’s much easier than ever before to communicate in another language, thanks to the resources offered by the Internet. Let’s look at how we can overcome language barriers using various workaround solutions:
Here’s an interesting anecdote about the sales head of a multi-national detergent company who took charge in another country to revamp the detergent’s bleak performance. He decided nothing could vouch for their detergent’s performance better than a simple picture-based advertisement, showing a before-after scenario:
He was confounded to find that their meager sales plummeted to absolute zero after blowing his marketing budget on huge billboards carrying the above. Then someone took the trouble to explain to him than in that this particular country people read from left to right. So what they saw was this:
Nothing brings home the importance of overcoming communication barriers, of which language is a very important component, than this example. If you have a similar anecdote to narrate, do write in the comments and share.
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