Can Multilingualism Help Employees' Decision-Making Skills?

Can Multilingualism Help Employees' Decision-Making Skills?
Olena Yakobchuk/
Summary: The increased workforce mobility that organizations are experiencing in the past years has brought forward not only the race for talent, but also a multilingual workplace. How does this influence the work process, team dynamics and decision-making skills within international, multilingual teams?

Are Decision-Making Skills Influenced By Multilingual Competence In The Workplace?

Multilingual competence, or multilingualism, comes with more than its fair share of cognitive benefits. According to a variety of scientific studies, people who speak more than one languages have been shown to:

  • Pay attention better [1]
  • Display unique approaches to decision-making [2]
  • Potentially have greater intelligence [3]
  • Multitask more effectively [4]

These soft skills transfer over to better performance at work, and as a result, multilingual employees are in high demand. Luckily, multilingual competence is something that can be taught. Corporate language training provides an opportunity to see the benefits of multilingual competence within your workforce, without having to hire new employees.

As it turns out, learning a new language actually has the power to change the structure of the learner’s brain. The result is that multilingual brains function differently than their monolingual peers [5]. If you’re wondering how multilingual competence within your workforce affects the performance of your employees and the outcomes of your business, here are some things to consider.

1. Do Languages Affect The Way We Think?

The idea of linguistic determinism [6] is that the structure of any language we speak can influence how we see the world. This means that employees with different language backgrounds often think, act and make decisions in diverse ways. For example, a French speaker may interpret a problem differently than a German speaker. If they're paired on the same team, that’s an advantage. They can share their different approaches to understanding and decision-making to come up with a truly unique conclusion.

2. How Language Affects Decision-Making

Speaking a second language can make someone a more logical, thoughtful decision maker. An article published in Scientific American explains how people make ethical or moral decisions differently based on which of their languages they're thinking and acting in [7]. Thinking in a language that isn't their mother tongue tends to motivate people to place more emphasis on tangible outcomes than on emotion or intentions [8]. This leads to clearer, more conscientious decision-making, which is a vital skill in any business environment.

With the digital age altering the business landscape, there are novel human capital trends every organization is grappling to understand and capitalize on. Having a diverse, well-trained workforce with sharp decision-making skills is vital in keeping current and ahead of these trends.

Investing in language training, like the programs offered by Speexx, is one way to stay a cut above the competition.

3. The Benefits Of Multilingual Competence In Staff

Due to the unique skill-set multilingual people bring to the table, a linguistically diverse staff will lead to original thinking within your organization. According to a survey by The Economist, two-thirds of 572 executives believe that their teams’ multicultural nature led to increases in their organization's innovation [9].

When your staff are able to think flexibly and outside the box, that's when true innovation occurs. Since multilingual competence leads to flexible thinking and logical decision-making, a workforce that speaks more than one language will make innovative and creative decisions for the betterment of your organization.

4. Building Your Multilingual Workforce

Actively developing a multilingual workforce will strategically increase the cognitive tools in your organization’s toolkit. The greater the diversity of your staff, the more they can collectively accomplish. Investing in language training will enrich the skill sets of your staff and help your company grow in an innovative direction.

Businesses, employees and job-seekers all hear a lot about the importance of soft skills when it comes to personal and professional success. But what if your team could build a variety of soft skills, from decision-making to multitasking, all while also preparing your organization for international expansion? It can all happen at once with the multilingual competence your employees will develop through corporate language training.

Speexx can help you build a linguistically diverse workforce by training your staff in languages that are of benefit to your organization. Whether you're looking to develop the language skills of leaders at your company or a large faction of your workforce, Speexx has a flexible learning solution to meet your needs.


  1. Language learning aids attention, study says
  2. The Foreign-Language Effect
  3. Why You Should Learn Another Language
  4. Juggling languages can build better brains
  5. Neurolinguistics: Structural plasticity in the bilingual brain
  6. linguistic determinism
  7. How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language
  8. Foreign language affects the contribution of intentions and outcomes to moral judgment
  9. Competing across borders