4 ways language diversity can grow your business

Small business team collaborating

We’re becoming a truly global society – one filled with people of every age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, religious and political beliefs. Yet sometimes when we look around our workplace, we see a limited range of backgrounds represented.

It’s something that’s becoming more and more important in the workplace – around 93 percent of respondents to a 2017 CBI/Pertemps survey reported that a diverse and inclusive workforce is important to the future success of their organisation.

By diversifying our workplaces, we not only gain access to new perspectives and ideas, it can open doors for us personally and professionally that we may not have ever known existed.

That being said, when it comes to language diversity, it can pose some communication challenges. However, the benefits strongly outweigh the negatives, and thanks to technology, organisations can easily overcome the language barrier.

Diversity leads to innovation and growth

If you surround yourself with people who come from the same background and think the same way, you’re not going to challenge each other, think of new ideas and grow the organisation.

According to global research by McKinsey & Company, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to see higher financial returns than their industry medians, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to see higher financial returns.

In the UK, for every 10 percent increase in gender diversity in the senior-executive team, business earnings before tax rose by 3.5 percent – the highest uplift in data that McKinsey & Company saw.

Another UK survey showed that businesses run by culturally diverse teams were more likely to create new products, showing that diverse teams can not only help the bottom line, but are more likely to foster innovation and ideas that drive success.

You’ll be better equipped for customers

Whether you’re looking to serve the local or global community, having a diverse workforce will better serve your current and future customers.

A workforce that has unique skillsets, are multilingual, and understand different cultures and life experiences, can help build an organisation that can speak to a wide range of subjects and provide astute, appropriate, and culturally sensitive service, at every level.

Gain access to a new talent pool

Three out of four UK businesses say the widening skills gap is a major concern for them. By casting a wider net when looking for employees, you can find those with the skills you need to make your business thrive, no matter their background.

Having a diverse workforce means employees know they’re respected, feel valued and involved in the business, meaning they’re more likely to stay. It’s also seen as a positive for job seekers, with 67 percent from a Glassdoor survey saying it’s an important factor when considering a job.

Translation tools

Technology can go a long way in making your company more inclusive, creative, collaborative, and stronger. Being diverse means having tools to be more inclusive and there are already solutions out there driving this change.

Built-in text translators

Some applications such as Microsoft Translator allows users to translate text-based documents into dozens of languages. This way, readers can review information in their native language for better comprehension, which leads to more valuable contributions.

Video conferencing with translation services

You won’t need a live translator to host meetings that everyone can understand and participate in if you use Skype for Business with real-time translation services. Built for seamless communication, these tools translate the spoken word in real time to text in users’ native languages or offer subtitles for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, which improves comprehension and makes it easier for all members of your team to participate and contribute.

Group collaboration software with voice and text translation services

This emerging technology gives everyone on your team the opportunity to translate and work on documents in their native language in the same space. It also allows team members to communicate clearly with each other via text and/or voice messaging.

Creating a more diverse workplace that better reflects our multicultural society won’t happen overnight, but it’s well worth the effort. And with the right tools in place, it can be simple, seamless, and incredibly rewarding – for your business and your team.

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