English has always been a sought after language since it was spread by colonisation to countries whose inhabitants never spoke the language. This happened more than 200 years ago and today over 1.75 billion of the world’s population can speak English to the point they can be understood. That’s in fact almost 25 percent of the world’s total population. It’s not surprising that some companies which exist in non-English speaking countries now insist on their employees at least having a working knowledge of English.
It’s important for some companies, such as Microsoft in Beijing, to have adopted English as their corporate language. It ensures good communication with all those involved in business transactions, such as suppliers, customers and business partners spread across the world. The importance of English communication in the business world can’t be overemphasized.
The Importance of English in Business
If a common language such as English is used to run a business there are likely to be more beneficial outcomes like:
- Faster transactions
- Better competitiveness
- A reduction in language barriers
- Keeping up to date with global business ideas more easily
- Prospects of faster growth
Companies that don’t take on board a language strategy are in the long run going to limit their possibilities of growth in the markets they need to deal with in order to grow their profits. When an employee engages in transactions with counterparts abroad, for example, one employee in Belgium may need to work with a counterpart in Egypt this can’t happen easily if communication is not simplified.
A better understanding of a common language ensures better decision making. Email messaging is a good example where abbreviations, shortened words and broken sentences are often used to speed up communication. Email language isn’t as easy to understand as proper sentences so a sound knowledge of a common language which makes the role of English in business increasingly important.
How Employees are Affected by using English
In countries where there are both native and, non-native English speakers and businesses inform employees that they are expected to use English at all times through all the communication tasks this may not be easy, to begin with. Native speakers may tend to monopolise conversations excluding those who are non-native speakers. This could bring about conflict. This is, however, quite solvable if the native speakers spoke more slowly and simplified the language they use and were more patient too with non-native speakers. Non-native speakers may need some more training in learning English to help them integrate better into the business’s English only policy. The non-native speakers have to take on the responsibility of not speaking their native language while at work and especially when they are attending business meetings. This will eventually reap rewards for the importance of English communication in the business world
Implementing a world language like English is no easy task for a business and it will take time to achieve and show what it can do for the business. Ultimately to remain competitive the role of English in business will, in the long run, achieve that than any other language.