When to Require English at Work


Language can bring people together or be a barrier to communication. This article from the perspective of  HR expert Brett Reed at SnapTravel gives some great tips for making a language plan that promotes effective workplace communication. Here are some of the key takeaways about when it’s a good idea to speak a language other than English in the multilingual workplace and when it’s better to use only English.

Speak a Language Other Than English

Speak English Only

In a one-on-one meeting when both people are more comfortable in the other language

In a meeting or conference call when at least one person doesn’t understand or can’t communicate in the other language.

When speaking with a client who prefers the other language

In email or other written communication where at least one person won’t be comfortable in the language.

In a social context when everyone present understands and can speak the language.

In a social situation where at least one person isn’t comfortable in the other language.

If you communicate more effectively in the other language and ask the other people if they mind if you have a side conversation or explanation.

In a team in which everyone is comfortable in the other language, and using it helps get the work done more effectively.

The article goes on to suggest that no matter what policy you develop, it should be clear, in writing, and introduced in a public forum.

Do you want to make sure that your employees are up to the challenges of workplace English? Click here.

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