Bilingual Employee – English isn’t the only important language anymore. Simple as that. While it is still the most dominant one, at least in terms of business, French, German and Spanish languages are getting there very fast. Europe is much like a big family and English speaking people aren’t the only ones that are important for doing business.
In fact, there are a whole lot of positions that would help their business owners greatly if they can speak at least one other language except English and those positions are very common today. Take social workers, nutritionists or marketers for example. The non-English speaking population is growing day by day, and if you want to increase your customer range, you need to consider hiring bilingual employees seriously.
Increasing your customer base with a Bilingual Employee
Having bilingual employees on key positions in your company can make a huge difference. Let’s consider two examples: HR and health specialists (just about any branch in healthcare).
Having a bilingual HR specialist will allow you to hire employees that are great at their work (IT sphere, writers, bloggers etc.), but can’t speak English (or are very bad at English) for any reason. Those employees can become vital for your company since:
- They will require a lot less salary in most cases compared to similar professionals who are proficient in English, but still be able to do an outstanding job for you.
- They can help broaden your reach. You will have the opportunity to dip into new markets, ones that still require your product or service, but can’t communicate in English.
- They can increase your customer satisfaction by a lot. While it may seem a minor thing, but people love to be spoken to in their mother tongue, even if they do speak other languages. If you ever encounter a delicate issue with one of your customers, an employee who speaks their language may become your life saver in those dire situations.
Bilingual health specialists can be even more important. If you are in healthcare business (psychology, therapy or run a hospital/clinic, etc.) bilingual medical staff can be the difference between a loyal customer and a passerby, or in some cases, even the difference between life and death.
If a non-English speaking patient comes to your clinic with some serious health issues and can only speak French or German, your bilingual employees will suddenly become life savers, no matter whether they are nurses or janitors, as long as they can properly translate everything for the doctor.
Training the rest of your staff
What’s really great about bilingual employees is that you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of them to increase your customer reach, retention rate, satisfaction level, etc. Just a handful of them will be able to train the rest of your staff to become more or less proficient in another language, which can lead to even more opportunities.
When communicating with customers, even a few words in their mother tongue can make a big difference. Great bloggers for example, know about this very well and use it to their advantage along with other blogging secrets.
Finally, bilingual employees, regardless of their position, can be very handy when it comes to business negotiations abroad. If you consider entering new markets, those employees can become half-time or full-time translators for your negotiators to ensure that everything goes on smoothly.
You might think that you can always hire professional translators when needed, but there is a difference between hiring a translator and having somebody from your team that cares for your company help you succeed abroad.
This will not only increase that employee’s motivation, but also show your business partner that you have taken the first step towards entering a new market seriously, since you already have people that speak the necessary language, not just hired translators.
When it comes to business, every opportunity should be weighted seriously and taken if there is a positive risk-reward scenario. The absolutely beautiful thing about having bilingual staff members is that there is no risk whatsoever: only opportunities. And depending on your business, those opportunities can make all the difference in the world.