I placed a call to a friend on her birthday and during our phoen conversation she asked me for my opinion on a situation she is involved with. It seems that a large national big box store has made the decision that it makes business ssnese to provide spanish lessons to all their exempt and non-exempt employees. During this training program they are shown a video in which one of the actors who is made out to be a WASP in appearance as possible, turns to a customer who is of hispanic descent and says ” I am sorry that I do not speak your language,”
The causasian employees and the jamaican employees are highly offended at the scenario and have made their views known to management. In one north American city, the employees have been approached by spanish speaking customers who have said if you do not learn my language you are out of a job.
Diversity initiatives are vital to organizations in this global workplace that we find ourselves in, but is it really necessary in the name of diviersity to alientate the rest of the workforce. I would suggest not. In most deveoped countries of the world, English is the language of business and whether we are speaking about diversity of language training it serves no purpose to the organization as a whole to satisfy one block at the expense of another.
I am not suggesting that learning a second language is an adverse thing in any means. I wish I could do so myself. I took two semesters of spanish in college and do not remember any of it. But when in Rome do what the Romans do, and leanr the language of hte workplace. It hinders our organizations when we try to force feed one way of doing things on the rest of the workforce.Instead of trying to change everyone in to a fluent spanish speaking employee make sure that you have employees on staff who do and can be referred to when a fellow employee has a language problem with a client.
What are your thoughts?