Communicate Effectively with Your Limited English Proficient Staff
Communication is a crucial part of any organization! Many people that don’t have the right approach or care in communicating with Non-English speaking or English Language Learning staff can become easily frustrated.
This can impair the communication between individuals and management that is necessary for effective decision-making, planning and executing projects, or even simply understanding a company’s culture and mission.
Without proper communication, there is a loss of trust and poor morale for the organization and its employees. This can trickle down to a negative impact on customers and increase the cost associated with business operations.
We’ll explain how you can communicate more effectively with your ELL (English Language Learner) or LEP (Limited English Proficient) staff to ensure the above problems don’t plague your organization.
Communication will be more effective if employees know they can depend on their managers to communicate.
Managers need to communicate effectively with all employees. So they should take the time to learn how to do this whether through interpretation and translation support, or taking courses to expand their communication knowledge.
This is so that there is clarity related to important information, such as deadlines and instructions, employee guides, project spec information etc. You can use the same language and words to express the same message in multiple ways, but will need a reliable language service provider like us to connect those linguistic gaps.
The first step is to identify best practices for communication and locking in your language services provider, followed by helping all employees learn how to use these methods.
Use Simple Phrases
Using simple language is one of the most practical ways to communicate effectively with your staff.
Remember that when you communicate with employees, they usually understand you well enough to know the meaning of what is being said. However, they might need to learn the correct terms or expressions to use when speaking back to you.
So this problem can be solved by using simple English phrases and encouraging your employees to do the same. Of course, supporting these instructions etc with quality translations guarantees no loss of understanding. ELL/LEP individuals should be provided with a mini dictionary containing some of the most commonly used words and phrases in the office. This will allow them to look up any words they need help understanding while listening to or reading something.
In every situation, allowing employees to communicate what they think and feel is important, even if they need help understanding everything. Ensuring they are being cared for and have a clear line to communication access is key.
It can also help your staff feel more confident about expressing their feelings and ideas.
This can enhance team rapport and productivity by motivating them to get involved honestly in the organization’s decision-making process.
Legal Requirement For Communication: ADA
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) says that non-English speaking workers have the right to a qualified interpreter for any medical, legal, or business matter.
If an interpreter is being used, the company must have a procedure in place so that everyone can ensure the same information is being delivered to all parties involved. Using an interpreter ensures that there is no confusion about what is being said and that every party to a transaction understands exactly what they are doing.
The company and supervisor must be aware of the process and ensure everyone is following it.
Companies must also ensure that all employees know they have the right to use a qualified interpreter when needed. This helps ensure that they know how to seek one out and are not having communication withheld from them.
Communicating With Deaf Employees
Deaf employees should not be overlooked when communicating with your staff. Workplace discrimination against deaf people can come in the form of excluding them from conversations, overlooking their input, and making it difficult for them to participate.
Since deaf employees often times rely on sign language and other forms of communication, they must be supported in their preferred methods.
So non-signing people would need to take the time to learn sign language or communicate in other ways, such as writing on a whiteboard or using a computer program that allows two people to type messages back and forth. Your hearing team members should have ready access to a language provider that can get an American Sign Language interpreter connected to them asap.
Make Adjustments When Needed
If you know that you need to make a change to ensure communication is being used to include everyone in your organization, don’t delay!
To address any concerns, be open and honest about your organizations need for language support. It will go a long way in ensuring all staff are included and supported.
Learning how to communicate in the workplace with your Limited English Proficient and English Language Learning staff is an important skill that every manager needs. It is crucial to managing a business and ensuring your company’s mission is carefully followed.
With great communication, your staff can do a better job at what they do while helping the company grow and develop. So we hope you learned something new!