In case you missed Marketing Intern Robbie’s last blog post, he described his experience with Mango’s language requirement as a new intern.  Check out his interview with Mango’s HR director, Hamsa Daher, to gain both an administrative and personal perspective of the language requirement.

What does the requirement specify?

Each Mango employee is required to learn a language from a non-fluent level for 90 minutes each week until he/she is fluent.  Additionally, 4 hours per month must be spent teaching a language, whether it be the same one you are learning or not. This part of the requirement can be completed by teaching coworkers in language clubs in the office or volunteering with organizations such as TLAB in Detroit.

When did Mango implement the language requirement?

January 2013.

Whose idea was it and why?

Jason Teshuba, Mango CEO, came up with the idea of the language requirement.  The idea behind it was to further carry out our core purpose–to enrich lives with language and culture–in the workplace.  Also, it is a way to empathize with language learners across the globe.  There is no better way to identify the needs of language learners, then to become one yourself.

What language did you choose to learn and why?

I learned Italian so that I can travel through Italy and be able to speak the native language.

Have you had any meaningful connections since you began learning Italian?

 Yes.  I recently re-watched the movies Under the Tuscan Sun and To Rome with Love and was able to understand some of the Italian conversation without subtitles!  This made watching these movies all the more enjoyable.

What effect does the requirement have on the workplace?

The workplace has been very musical since everyone began learning a new language.  We have become more diverse and conscious of each other’s cultures and upbringings, which has made us a more cohesive group.  We are also more empathetic with our customers who are learning foreign languages. It is a great feeling to have this stronger personal connection with our patrons.

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