UnknownOnce again a business has hit the headlines amid accusations that it banned foreign workers from speaking their native tongue while at work.

At the distribution centre for Hobbycraft in Burton there are myriad languages spoken by workers for whom English is clearly a second language.

However, for once the business in question is not actually the villain of the piece for it ensured all it workers could speak English when they were interviewed. As Hobbycraft’s Chris Fenlon told the local paper, the Burton Mail last week: “Having the ability to speak English is part of the recruitment criteria in our distribution centre.

“We do ask that during working hours in the warehouse colleagues speak English. This is to create a good working environment where all colleagues can communicate effectively.”

This approach can save on language training and VICI Language Dynamics it is why we offer support to businesses wanting to assess the language abilities of candidates and can also handle interviews regardless of the required language.

So not with Hobbycraft the normal problem we see where foreign workers do not have sufficient command of English with the implications that could mean for productivity or health and safety. Here we can step in to ensure an necessary standard is reached.

What is wrong with foreign staff wishing to speak their own language among colleagues? Well, nothing if it is not interfering with work, or is excluding colleagues who might not understand – and here is where perhaps Hobbycraft could learn a valuable lesson – they need a Foreign Language Policy.

This public row could have been avoided if Hobbycraft went one small step further and recognized the importance of foreign workers’ own culture when embracing them into their UK organisation. This approach of valuing the diversity that different languages represents is a vital part to getting these workers to engage with our own culture and be as productive as they could be.

In business there can be much more to achieving the best from such a diverse team than simply ensuring everyone speaks English and it is why VICI Language Dynamics creates Foreign Language Policies, often as part of a wider Foreign Language Strategy.

Whether you are a business in need of help getting the most from foreign workers or your English staff need to master another language we can help. Get in touch today to find out more.