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Which languages are spoken in your workplace

Due to globalisation and businesses becoming increasingly more international,
many implement English as an official language in their company. Traditionally this has mainly been the case in larger companies, but nowadays we also see a shift in smaller businesses who are choosing to conduct their communications in English.

The reasons for this can vary, such as customers or employees being located in various parts of the world. The world has gotten smaller, and it is not at all unusual to have colleagues in different countries or time zones. I have been thinking a lot about this, and about the opportunities and challenges English in the workplace brings.

The main benefit for me is that it increases inclusiveness, and opens the door for more people of different backgrounds to join the company. If there is no need for employees to speak Swedish, companies can increase the selection of candidates interested in a role. This in turn increases the competitiveness of the company.

Moreover, conducting company communications in English can make the company brand be perceived as more international, which increases the customer base. Additionally, employees can feel proud to be part of a company that has an international and global feel to it. It can also streamline the work of support functions in the company, who don’t have to translate various documents into different languages.

However, a disadvantage of using English as a company language is that it can negatively affect learning. This is because learning processes are best conducted in the native language of the learner. A risk in using a different language than your own is therefore that it can hinder creative processes, as deep conversations and complex ideas might be difficult to express. Another disadvantage of sending emails and conducting meetings in English is of course that it can be excluding for those who are not as comfortable speaking in a non-native language.

So what should companies think about when it comes to company languages? 

  • Offer courses in the languages that are spoken
  • Have a think about and communicate the company communication guidelines
  • Create a climate in which it is fine to say something incorrect, both in Swedish and in English, so that the organisation can keep developing and bring new ideas to the forefront

FAB HR is taking a step to become even more international by finally launching an English website! Now everyone is free to choose if they want to read about our offers in Swedish or English. The reason for this being that want all of our customers (and friends!) from various parts of the world to be able to learn about FAB HR and our services. 

FAB HR goes English – enjoy! 

/Louise Fältskog, CEO and founder of FAB HR