In an increasingly interconnected global economy, the ability to operate in a multicultural and multilingual environment is an increasingly desirable trait among employees, especially in leadership roles. Major companies are looking to add more international experience to their boardrooms, and a lack of intercultural skills can derail the careers of global leaders.
Accordingly, fluency in more than one language is one of many soft skills employers are looking for in talent today. The value of polyglot employees is the subject of Gabrielle Hogan-Brun’s new book Linguanomics: What is the Market Potential of Multilingualism? Writing at Quartz, Hogan-Brun lays out the case for how multilingual employees, and particularly multilingual teams, can give an organization a leg up in innovation:
Observations of multi-language work teams show that mixed-language groups have a propensity to find innovative solutions for practical problems. This is because they use a range of communication strategies in flexible and dynamic ways. When speakers from different language backgrounds work together using a common language, they draw on subconscious concepts that lie below the surface of the language they happen to be conversing in. …
So what is going on in the heads of these polyglots?