Diversity brings together a blending of cultures, heritages, languages, and norms that makes society more dynamic, interesting, and fulfilling. When this diversity is reflected in the workplace, it can bring the benefits of a variety of skills, cultural insights, innovative and creative ideas, as well as increased productivity and engagement, which gives a competitive advantage to any organization. At the same time, differences can also cause misunderstanding, conflict, and diverging perspectives that can make any leader, colleague, or employee feel like they are navigating a multicultural minefield.
Language proficiency and cultural competency are effective tools to infiltrate an increasingly multicultural linguistic world that requires clear communication in language, in culture, and in context. Communicating with others in their preferred or native language helps remove barriers of understanding that may result in conflict and unsettled diverging perspectives. Understanding cultural attributes, such as indigenous heritage, nationality, abilities, and accessibility, etc. all help in addressing the various perspectives individuals bring to the workplace. This includes understanding the terrain of language competency, proficiency levels, and cultural sensitivity each person on the team has. Whether it’s reading, writing, speaking, listening and other communication skills, they are all powerful tools that will allow you to be an actively engaged and effective leader in your company or industry. It’s strategic and critical to assess the language proficiency of members of your organization (corporate, government or nonprofit). . Certifying your team members’ language proficiency will allow you to effectively navigate the multicultural landscape with certainty.