As the Latino population in the United States grows, no business, sector, or industry remains unaffected by this huge demographic. While many businesses are adapting to and marketing to Latinos on a cultural level, there is still a significant disconnect between Spanish- and English-speakers on a linguistic level. These workplace language issues aren’t confined to any one aspect of business, but a little job-site language training can go a long way in terms of customer satisfaction, employee efficiency, and ultimately, profitability. Not sure if you really need job-site language training? Read on.
You know you have workplace language issues if…
1) You and your team are constantly relying on a few bilingual employees for help understanding Spanish-speaking clients, patients, or fellow employees. Using employees as interpreters is a very risky proposal. Not only does it put undue pressure on the bilingual employee, but it assumes a certain level of leadership, objectivity, and fluency in both languages. The results can be very harmful to the workforce as a whole.
2) Your employees’ lack of English puts them in compromising, and even dangerous situations. In high-risk industries such as construction, a lack of English can mean a worker misunderstands crucial safety information – or is too embarrassed to speak up if there is something wrong with their equipment, etc.
3) Your Latino patients don’t adhere to their treatment plan, although they seem to have agreed to it. While there may be many cultural factors at work here, they often come into play they to disguise what is actually a misunderstanding at the level of language.
4) Your employees are working below their skill level because they lack English skills.
5) You lose out on potential Latino customers or tenants in your area because you can’t communicate or connect with them. Consequently, as the Latino population grows, your company becomes less competitive.
The barrier in the workplace language can be intimidating to address. In our experience, many business have come to accept it and carry on with their status quo without realizing the magnitude of both risks taken and opportunities missed as a result of language difficulties.
Perhaps you aren’t looking to master the Spanish language (nor are you looking to provide your employees with years of English courses) – but you feel the need for some practical language training that’s specifically geared towards your industry and company. We can help.