Diversity and culture in the UK workforce is a topic increasingly at the forefront of discussion.
Globalisation, along with improved technology and the increase of international relocation and migration, has brought people from different parts of the world together in the workplace. As a result of increased international diversity some professionals from other countries, non-native speakers, may encounter emotional distance with people they interact with at work - whether they may be colleagues or clients. However, on a day-to-day basis organisations are continually welcoming more non-native speakers, and these companies should be given well-deserved recognition.
According to psychologist Daniel Kahnemen in his work “Thinking Fast and Slow”, cognitive strain requires increased analytical skills, and this may provide an explanation as to why performing tasks in a foreign language requires additional thought processes. As a non-native speaker myself, one important thing I would encourage all non-native speakers to remember at work - put less pressure on yourself, you will never be a native speaker but you can practice and improve! Take advantage of technology along with any external help on offer and you will become fluent and, more importantly, confident.
Keep in mind that when applying for a new role or promotion, being well-versed in a second language will set you apart from the competition. Speaking two languages is essentially a mental gymnastics routine - it can improve memory skills and make you a more efficient, well-rounded professional.
Speaking from my personal experience at Mantell Associates - at first glance it may seem a disadvantage not being a native English speaker, but in reality it’s my strength! As a headhunter, I listen in great detail at what others are communicating to me, both colleagues and clients; I am able to show interest and appreciation as I learn more about UK culture; I am able to communicate on a different level with international contacts who speak my native language; and I get the chance to understand down to the smallest details what my candidates and clients are looking for.
Organisations and leaders should take advantage of the diverse workforce at their disposal. Yes, it’s always an option to rely on the help of translators (human and AI), but a multilingual speaker will strengthen relationships with clients and candidates, particularly when working across international markets. Here at Mantell Associates, we encourage both candidates and organisations to look for diversity in their employees, expanding across languages, culture, and experiences.
Mantell Associates is a specialist Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences headhunting organisation. To find out how we can assist with your business requirements, contact Sofia Furlan on +44 (0)20 3778 0990 or email@example.com.