You work in a retail company, Home Gadgets, that employs two hundred people. You have several locations throughout northern California where you sell all kinds of gadgets and devices for the home, e.g., small electronics, bathroom scales, allergy filters, fire alarms, baby monitors, lawn ornaments, and lots of other stuff.
Home Gadgets is a great employer. All employees earn a very good living and enjoy quite a few benefits, including health-and-dental insurance and vacation-and-sick days. You have a substantial customer base. People from all over Northern California shop at Home Gadgets for its great prices and unsurpassed service.
The family owners of Home Gadgets are meeting next month, and an important item on the agenda is whether to require all employees to be bi-lingual—that would mean everyone in the company, including current employees who have been working at Home Gadgets for many years to new hires. About forty percent of employees are already bi-lingual.
H.G., who is the family patriarch, president, and CEO, has noticed that you are an exceptionally good, reliable, and smart employee, so H.G. asks you to recommend whether to go ahead with this all-employee requirement. You are honored.
You admit to yourself that you admire those co-workers who, for example, serve one customer while speaking perfect Spanish, turn to the next customer and speak perfect Hindi, and the next customer and speak perfect English. Given that California enjoys a diverse population that speaks many languages, you wonder if perhaps all employees should be able to speak a second language. The benefits could be many—increase Home Gadgets’ customer base, which of course, means more profit, happier customers, better publicity, overall sense of wellbeing among employees, and on and on.
On the other hand, educating sixty percent of Home Gadgets’ employees will be expensive, some of the employees who have worked for Home Gadgets for many years might not be willing to learn a second language, morale might suffer, and even worse, this could divide the already-pretty-content workforce.
Many other considerations, both positive and negative, abound, so you are not limited to those above.
You may not