“Talent is the number 1 priority for a CEO. You think it’s vision and strategy, but you have to get the right people first.” – Andrea Jung, CEO of Grameen America
The key to a successful business is having the right people in the right place at the right time. The challenge with that statement, and in the business world, is finding, attracting, and retaining the caliber of talent needed to run an organization.
69% of U.S. employers are struggling to find skilled workers
In 2010, that number was just 14%
This is mostly due to a long-term trend of baby boomers resigning from the workforce, which culminated in an event known as the Great Resignation. Almost 30 million baby boomers retired in the face of the Covid-19 pandemics, says Texas A&M professor Anthony Klotz, the man who coined the term during an interview with Bloomberg.
Younger generations are doing their best to fill the void, but they do not yet have the skills or experience to step into the shoes of the older generation.
In the meantime, businesses are paying a premium for talent. Some are offering higher salaries, more flexible hours, remote work, and an assortment of other benefits. While this is a great development for work-life balance, the most resilient and successful companies have taken a different route.
Businesses that have made diversity and inclusive representation a core part of their model have seen excellent results in finding and keeping the most talented employees. Diversity provides a business with a wide range of advantages over non-diverse competitors, such as a workforce with broad skill sets, employees that possess better customer insight, an increase in employee satisfaction, and a virtuous cycle of superior recruiting.
In 2020, BlackRock was named Refinitiv’s most diverse company, Microsoft was lauded as having the most transparent diversity and inclusion data, and in 2021 Gap took home the most diverse title. Not only did these companies provide Refinitiv with extensive diversity and inclusion (D&I) data, they also performed strongly following the worst days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
How well did these companies do?
In 2020, at the time the diversity data was collected, Microsoft had one of its best-performing years. Led by CEO Satya Nadella, the tech giant pivoted to cloud computing and saw its stock price rise 40% with a market valuation of $1.7 trillion, second in size only to Apple in US stock listings.
BlackRock, an investment company, had $391 billion of full-year total net inflows, 11% increase in revenue, $3.8 billion returned to shareholders, and record levels in cash and active equity in 2020.
During the same period, Centene, a fellow company rated highly in diversity by Refinitiv, saw record revenue of $111.15 billion, a 49% increase from the year before. The healthcare enterprise company added 10.3 million members to its network at the same time.
You get the point.
There are a few great strategies for diversifying a workforce and making inclusion a priority in the office. Here at ReDefiners, we believe the key to both is through language learning. Learning a second language unlocks a deeper understanding of the target culture, and, as I will explain, understanding is the foundation of diversity and inclusion.
What are Diversity and Inclusion?
Diversity describes the different characteristics found among people within a group – oftentimes these differences define subgroups that provide identity, community, and meaning.
Common differences or unique characteristics that people identify with today:
The types of diversity in the workplace can include all of the characteristics listed above, as well as work experiences, talents, personality, interests, and networks.
While this list is large, it is in no way exhaustive, and it is important to remember that people cannot be reduced to checkboxes.
Inclusion is the practice of welcoming outsider groups into your own group to create a larger, diverse collective.
How does language learning improve diversity and benefit businesses?
Diversity drives business growth by expanding the field of talent from which a company can choose to now include non-traditional candidates. Inclusion broadens the field further by creating a safe and inviting space for groups that have been historically discriminated against, such as women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and individuals with disabilities.
Diversity in the languages spoken in the office is an additional step that could attract top talent that would have otherwise been looked over. We highly recommend this approach at ReDefiners. Adding one more language to your company's repertoire could allow recruiters to contact millions more high-caliber applicants.
In this recruiting famine, improved outreach speaks for itself. Language, inclusion, and diversity drives business growth by helping companies find the best talent – better employees can produce better results, whether it be to the bottom line or in finding the best new recruits entering the job market.
The importance of recruiting talent cannot be overstated, especially during the talent drought that will only be exacerbated as older generations continue to leave the workforce.
A second and equally important benefit to bringing additional languages into the workplace is that it significantly increases the size of your customer base. Multilingual employees in leadership positions can effectively market, innovate, and sell products to a new market segment that would have gone unrealized.
How ReDefiners Can Help
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela
Finding top-tier talent can be a difficult task. To get a leg up on the competition, ask these questions:
How do you diversify a workforce?
How do you build inclusive groups?
Who can teach employees a language to bring these concepts together?
How will it help recruit top talent?
Don’t worry if you can’t answer them, ReDefiners is here for that. We believe that diversity and inclusion are built on the concept of understanding. For us, there is no better way to understand a person, their culture, and their identity than through a shared language.
It is our belief that a diversity program should be supplemented with language classes to foster an environment of curiosity, empathy, and acceptance of different cultures and groups. This does not have to be limited to diversity groups that speak foreign languages, although that is the area it is most effective. Creating the mindset of cultural understanding within a workforce gives employees the tools necessary to overcome obstacles such as unconscious bias, cultural insensitivity, and ethnocentrism.
There are also many other benefits to learning a second language that employees may appreciate.
We specialize in teaching language through online courses and group class conversations. You can begin growing your career immediately by meeting with a teacher for instruction twice a week and taking part in group sessions for real, practical conversation experience. We offer classes in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Arabic. For more information, please visit our online program page or email us at email@example.com.