In this interconnected world, communicating effectively in different languages is key to sustain and grow
In a modern world, where many businesses have offices and factories in numerous countries around the globe, language barriers should not be of a concern. For both old, well-established companies and start-ups looking to expand, a move abroad to a foreign workplace is nothing to fear; in fact it is something to embrace.
According to Vox, multinational enterprises (MNCs) with staff speaking different languages account for one third of world output and GDP and two-thirds of international trade. These businesses contribution to world GDP was estimated at 32% in 2016, of which roughly one third was by foreign affiliates abroad and two thirds by MNC headquarters and domestic affiliates in the home country. With so much business taking place in MNCs, that are often staffed by people with foreign languages skills, it’s important to not allow language barriers to have a negative impact on your business.
It must also be noted that, in a world where travel and immigration are so wide spread, there are plenty of positives to having foreign employees and bilingual employees.
Why languages are important in MNCs and international SMEs
Research at the University of Chicago suggests that thinking in a foreign language allows you to make better decisions when it comes to business. It appears that when not thinking in your native tongue, you are more likely to make systematic decisions rather than automatic ones. It infers that a less emotive resonance in your second or third language mean you develop a distance mechanism that allows you to take more favourable risks when it comes to your business.
Bilingual employees may also allow new perspectives to be found within your business, where speaking multiple languages may give you better knowledge at understanding other perspectives, allowing you to negotiate in a much more successful manner.
Different cultures and languages are also suggested to build stronger relationships, especially in multinational businesses with offices and clients around the globe. Multilingualism can bridge gaps between cultures and allow relationships to develop and flourish around the globe, both within your company and externally.
Especially now, in a world where business has been forced to move primarily online due to the Covid-19 outbreak, foreign languages are essential in the running of MNCs and international SMEs, supply chain and logistics. It is vital that people are able to communicate efficiently when using Zoom or Skype in order for their message to come across accurately to other people in another country.
Finally, multilingual employees tend to be much better at multi-tasking, where skills they have developed at thinking and talking in different languages can be transferred over to other tasks within your business.
Travelling abroad for business – Don’t let it scare you!
In such a globalised world, it may be necessary for you to travel overseas to meet with colleagues, suppliers or clients. However, this should not be something fraught with difficulties. Clear and efficient communication with foreign employees, suppliers and clients will help improve performance. Even in these trying times, keeping an eye on future travel and how to minimise its hardships may well allow you to be better placed for this new normal.
There are many ways to help you understand and communicate with foreign employees and businesses, both in person and virtually, so that your company does not suffer from language barriers. MyJuno App has a great feature, where a group chat can be created and multiple languages translated simultaneously by multiple users. Technology like this should allow your business to communicate and work together to achieve their ultimate goals.
It is very important to be able to communicate effectively with existing and potential clients and suppliers from other countries. Foreign employees, bilingual employees or social messaging translation apps like MyJuno, are a great way of allowing you to thrive both commercially and financially. In a time where overseas travel is limited and remote working is encouraged, these are now essential. They will help you bridge that gap and allow communication to remain fluid.
Do not let language barriers impact your business in a negative way! Use all the technology at your disposal and allow collaboration between national and foreign employees from your supply chain and logistics, marketing, sales or product development department to innovate.