Improving Communication in a Multilingual Workplace

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These five tips will improve communication in a multilingual workplace

Communication is one of the keys to business success, but keeping the lines of communication open in any office can be tough. The task is proving even more difficult as the workforce in the United States becomes increasingly more multilingual and diverse. These five tips will improve communication in a multilingual workplace to foster teamwork and help your business thrive in a global market.

  1. Don’t assume some employees will not need to communicate
    Many managers mistakenly assume that certain employees do not need to understand or speak English well. Every employee – from a janitor to a top engineer – must be able to communicate well with management, even if it is just to clarify assignments or inquire about a paycheck. Be prepared to adequately accommodate your entire staff.
  2. Hire multilingual staffers
    Consider the language skills of applicants during your hiring process. If many of your employees speak mostly Mandarin and you only speak English, add a member who speaks both to your team.
     
  3. Make non-native speakers feel included
    Employees who speak English as a second language may feel left out, confused or frustrated when surrounded by native English speakers. Help bring them into the conversation and welcome their input and ideas. Use translators to facilitate communication among staff, and do not tolerate employees showing hostility toward those who do not speak English well.
  4. Highlight the value of becoming bilingual
    Having a working knowledge of another language is a valuable skill for your employees, and hiring bilingual employees benefits your bottom line. Having bilingual or multilingual employees can open up new market opportunities with overseas clients and customers.

Do you have a multilingual workplace? How do you foster better communication among all employees? Share your best advice with our readers in the comment section below!