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Do you have an English Only policy?

Does your outsource provider have an “English Only” policy?


It’s common for BPOs to mandate that staff can only speak English while at work.

I’m always curious as to why this is deemed important. Reasons given range from “So the staff can practise their English” to “So we know what they are talking about” (this from expat managers). Possibly it has to do with the language of the background noise in a call-centre environment, again not sure why, as it’s usually pretty clear when you’re talking to someone offshore anyway. I suspect partially because it’s accepted practice in outsourcing companies and nobody questions it.

It all sounds like hard work (sa palagay ko). You either have to enforce the policy, or put the “English Only” signs up around the office and then ignore any breaches.

Thinking in a second or even third language takes extra mental effort. At Bricoleur Technologies, we encourage staff to speak whatever language gets the best result e.g. Tagalog (or Kapampangan, Ilocano…) particularly when they are trying to solve an organisational issue, improve a process, find a solution to a technical challenge, or simply cracking a joke or planning an outing.

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