How To Accommodate A Workforce Which Is Multilingual

How To Accommodate A Workforce Which Is Multilingual

As workforces increasingly become more diverse, a need has arisen for multilingual accommodation. This ensures that both employers and employees will be able to communicate effectively. Maintaining open communication lines at all times will help prevent mistakes and confusion which could lead to accidents, labor management problems or catastrophic loses. Below are some ways to manage a multilingual staff without having to learn multiple languages.

Make Use Of Multiple Communication Channels

Management should communicate with employees both orally and through written words. In a larger company, this can be done through intercoms which transmit messages in multiple languages, or through video presentations which are sent to the workstation of employees in their preferred tongue. Signs and notices can be placed on walls and bulletin boards, translated into multiple languages so everyone can read and understand them. Each member of the team should understand the company signage and processes, along with the legal documentation that is associated with them.

Think Carefully About The Words You Use

Even within the same language, there can be subtle differences based on different regional dialects.  This is why it is important to avoid the usage of slang and instead use generalized terms that can be understood by all. When collaborating with a team that is multilingual, it is also essential to focus on long, rather than short term communication. Any attempts to communicate which are seen as short term may be perceived as insincere, which can weaken the morale of the team.

Practice And Learn From Mistakes

It is inevitable that those learning a new language will make mistakes from time to time; the most important thing is that you learn from it. By practicing regularly your ability to speak and understand the language will strengthen, which will foment greater communication and understanding with the team.

Remember The Cultural Differences

Differences in language are also accompanied by differences in culture. This means that attempting to learn a language without taking the time to understand the culture associated with it can be problematic. Be sure to take the time to learn the cultural basics of the workforce you’re dealing with; this combined with greater knowledge of the language will make collaboration hassle free and rewarding.

Know When To Slow Down And Speed Up

Irrespective of language, when speaking to a group it is best to keep your pace slower. This will allow your audience to better understand the information being provided, and throwing in a few pauses will give those you’re addressing a greater opportunity to think about what is being said. However, there are also times when you should speed up. This is best done when speaking to one person, or regarding subjects which aren’t of extreme importance, or when time is of the essence.

Human resources, engineering and Information Technology are just a few of the fields which are experiencing growing workforce diversity. By placing signs and notices in different languages, and taking the time to learn the differences between cultures, effective workplace collaboration is possible.