As a result of the diverse workplace, language barrier can
occur as well. Some of the employees who came from other countries might not
have a strong English foundation when they started to work in Singapore. They
might struggle to communicate with others or even try to avoid it. For example,
there was a colleague in my team who came from Japan to work for 3 years. It is
difficult for him to communicate in English and sometimes he has to rely on
google translate to send an email. Fortunately, the team was very understanding
and willing to guide him. The positive attitude of the Japanese colleague who
constantly strive to improve his English rather than avoiding also prevent
communication breakdown from occurring. In addressing this barrier, employees
can use simple language and avoid using ambiguous words and jargons.
Physical barriers also obstruct employees to communicate
effectively with each other. At Bosch, each employee is assigned to a cubicle
and is isolated from their colleague’s workspace by partitions glass. Employees
that are of higher rank such as the head of the department will have their own
office to work in. These employees spend most of their time sitting at their
desk facing the computer, and communication is usually done through Skype or
email if they require certain information or materials from their colleagues.
For example, some of the meeting is conducted through skype instead of the
meeting room. Hence, this result in very rare occasion where employees would
interact with each other face-to-face. In time, such irregular conversations
might cause employees to lose their confidence in communicating with people and
feel discomfort when they have to. The company which has already recognized
this issue had carry out some ways to overcome this communication barrier.
Occasionally, each team will organize team outing such as volunteering work and
team dinner. This is to give the employees an opportunity to bond and socialize
with each other.