How The Power Of Language Can Grow Your Career And Business
You’ve probably heard that being multilingual is a great resume builder and a valuable asset to promote career growth. Being able to speak a language that’s in demand may even result in a promotion or a higher salary, especially in a competitive industry like the technology sector. I wanted to move beyond anecdotal information and quantify the value of speaking another language in the workplace.
To be clear, these benefits translate to advantages for all language learners, no matter the platform they use to learn their language of choice. Whether you’re using one of the many enterprise solutions available or you’ve opted for a DIY approach with mobile apps — some of which are free or freemium — or books and websites, many surveys and studies indicate the power of language can pay real dividends for your career.
In a recent survey of customers who use our software, we uncovered the difference speaking another language can make. Up to 35% of those responsible for hiring or managing people in our survey reported that an employee’s proficiency in another language resulted in the following actions:
- They extended a job offer.
- They granted the prospect a job interview.
- They recommended a promotion.
- They recommended a pay raise.
A clear majority of those surveyed who hold a job, nearly 54%, said that knowing another language is important in their current position, while as many as 35% cited future job prospects as their motivation for using our language-learning software.
These statistics on the perceived worth of language by employees and hiring managers are just the beginning of what being multilingual can offer. Whether you use software and apps or take more of a DIY approach, here are three ways the power of language can propel growth in unexpected ways.
1. Being bilingual could encourage productivity and multitasking.
Learning languages causes the brain to multitask naturally as it toggles between translating, speaking and listening. This busywork can increase the capacity for other cognitive functions and forge new neural pathways or connections. A study conducted by Penn State indicated bilingual speakers have a more finely honed ability to screen for critical information and filter out irrelevancy. This skill, perhaps a result of the “code switching” that being bilingual requires, can be widely useful in areas from product development to tech. It can also be a boon in creative fields like design and marketing that use strategic thinking and the ability to multitask across several disciplines.
Did I mention increased productivity? That’s a benefit the majority of companies wouldn’t mind harnessing. A 2016 study estimated employees who speak a second language save as many as three hours a week by avoiding the misunderstandings and subsequent problems that occur as a result of communication issues and missed cultural cues.
2. Speaking another language can inspire creativity and better communication.
While knowing another language can help learners better connect with co-workers and customers, that’s not the only communication benefit being multilingual can have. The act of speaking another language could cause learners to delve deeper into their native speech, searching for similarities in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. This increased focus can stimulate a better grasp of language generally and refine communication skills.
Speaking another language also exposes learners to a variety of cultures and perspectives that can spark creativity. This out-of-the-box thinking can be a boon not just for the creatives in your organization grappling with developing, designing and marketing products, but also across other teams to encourage better alignment and leadership via improved communication.
3. Learning other languages opens international markets.
Having someone on your team who speaks an additional language puts you in a unique position to take advantage of global markets. A multilingual employee isn’t simply a cost-saver when it comes to having an in-house translator for important business meetings or transactions. It also helps build better client relationships by demonstrating an interest in their culture and an investment in their language.
Having a team that speaks the language of your potential partners also means you can design more intuitive marketing campaigns and develop a strategic understanding of the culture that’s required to build better strategies for growing your business abroad. A bilingual presence on your team can communicate to clients you value their heritage and language as well as their business.
As a leader in any industry, encouraging language learning isn’t just about fostering personal and professional growth among your employees. It’s a strategy that can have demonstrable and significant benefits for your bottom line.