Blog Jeannette Paul

“I am convinced that people can work safely en productive in a multilingual workplace. By sharing new understanding and tips via this blog, I want to contribute to the new multilingual working world."

Peppernuts at head office HEMA

28 November 2016

Who sets the language in the workplace? At HEMA that is chairman Tjeerd Jegen. Since taking office last year, the official language at the HEMA head office is English. This is because "HEMA is an international company now" and "two new team members are British and they should be able to follow everything". The other staff members now follow English classes.* Do you follow in 2017?

What is the role of language in the workplace?

  • Language is functional - we need a common language to work well together.
  • Language is the soft note in the conversation - humour, nuances and emotions demand good language skills; it is difficult to match your mother tongue in this respect.
  • Language is power - if your language is used, you have an advantage. Read the blog Your language or mine?
  • Language is making a connection with your new community. The report “Make it in The Netherlands!” shows that the success of international talent in The Netherlands is only sustainable when they master the Dutch language; even when English is the official language at work.

By the way, I am curious about the HEMA translation of the Dutch “pepernoten”, “rookworst” en “tompouce”. For now the official language in the Dutch HEMA stores is Dutch. Even though the Netherlands is increasingly multilingual. 

* From: "Het is erop of eronder voor Hema, Teri van der Heijden en Barbara Rijlaarsdam, NRC, 12 november 2016"

Global-Work-Talk is an initiative of Jeannette Paul