human resources online

Why you should hire bilinguals

Now there's another reason to be impressed by Mark Zuckerberg's ability to speak Mandarin.

Employees who can speak multiple languages are not only necessary in certain countries, but have been proven to have faster brains and are more productive than monolinguals.

This is because bilinguals, according to research by Northwestern University and the University of Houston, may actually process information faster than those who only speak one language.

Even in roles that don't necessarily require them utilising their second language, the report found - after studying 17 Spanish-English bilinguals and 18 monolinguals - that bilingual speakers are generally more efficient workers.

“For example, in one task the participants heard the word cloud and were then immediately shown four pictures,” an article published on Northwestern University’s website stated.

“One of the photos was of a cloud, and another was a similar-sounding word like clown. The goal was to watch how quickly the brain could make connections to the correct word.

“Bilinguals were consistently better at the task.”

Image: Shutterstock

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

Related topics

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top Human Resources stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's Human Resources development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window