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It is important to learn languages. The most used languages in the world are English, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and French. Still in many countries any of them has no kind of official status. It is not possible to get along in the society without local language in the long run. In countries like Finland everyone can speak some kind of English and are able to communicate with it – still Finnish is needed. Finland’s official languages are Finnish and Swedish though only approximately 5-6 % of Finns are native Swedish speakers. Since within IT sector English is widely used, it has been possible to work without learning Finnish. This is why there are many IT professionals that have been living for years in Finland without properly learning the local language. Still, it is a fact that not even IT sector – neither any other – cannot widely employ only non-Finnish speakers. Ability to learn languages is vital. Sometimes it is about attitude.

Unfortunately for Finns and their need for workforce in general, Finnish is exceedingly difficult to learn compared to many other European languages. For example, Swedish is quite close to German and of course to Danish and Norwegian, but still it is so different compared to Finnish.

Finland is aging fast, and the need of workforce is there tangible. Everyday. The country should solve problem how to teach their odd language more efficiently. It is not enough that a certain level of Finnish is required for citizenship.

So why wouldn’t employers be rewarded to employ people without Finnish (or Swedish) skills? Why not to arrange their language training besides work in the workplace? Why to send them to school or endless non-effective and expensive (for taxpayers) coursework after coursework? That would be a way to support employers to hire people based on their skills and motivation. Language level tests are impartial and therefore no abuse would be possible.

While waiting for decisions to improve the language training in Finland we have collected some tips to maximize the potential of such a diverse workforce.

Utilize Visual Aids: Implement visual communication tools such as diagrams, charts, and images to convey essential information effectively.

Cultural Sensitivity Training: Offer cultural sensitivity training to all employees to foster understanding and respect within the workplace.

Utilize Technology: Take advantage of translation apps and software to bridge the language gap during meetings, presentations, and day-to-day interactions.

Assign Language Buddies: Pair up employees who speak different languages to facilitate communication and learning between team members.

Provide Language Training: Offer language classes or resources to employees to help them learn the local language gradually.