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3 top tips for supporting your multilingual workforce

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A multilingual workforce is rapidly becoming the norm, rather than the exception, in today’s global marketplace, but understanding how best to support such a diverse workplace can be challenging.

At Creative Word Training, we have been helping our global clients gain insight and understanding into supporting their multilingual workforces for almost two decades.

Our training courses are designed to assist with everything from communicating in a multicultural environment to improving group dynamics, and have been influential in helping many global organizations ensure their workforce operates at optimum levels.

Below you’ll find our 3 top tips for supporting your multilingual workforce…

  1. Language – accessibility and communication
    Good communication is the foundation for building strong relationships, so it is essential that your business is conducted with language accessibility in mind.
    This might include factors such as, providing access to professional translation and interpretation services, both written and spoken as this ensures that employees can communicate effectively, whether it’s in meetings, emails, or documents.
    Whenever possible, use multilingual communication channels by setting up tools which support multiple language options.
    This might include, multilingual intranet pages, email systems or chat platforms and will make it easier for your employees to share information and collaborate on projects.
    Supporting effective communication within your multilingual workforce is crucial for fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace environment in which all members feel valued, understood and heard.

  • Language – training and development
    If your business operates in many different countries, and has a diverse workforce which are often expected to collaborate, it is worth considering training options which encourage the learning of a new language and supports bilingualism among team members.
    For instance, you might choose to offer language courses or resources for employees interested in improving their language skills.
    This can enhance communication, boost confidence, and promote cross-cultural understanding, especially if you use your native speaking employees as mentors for those who are learning their language.
    It is also worth offering incentives for increased language proficiency by recognizing and rewarding those employees who achieve a certain level of proficiency, and this will also help to keep employees motivated.
  • Culture – awareness and sensitivity
    A multilingual workforce not only speaks different languages, but also has different cultures and customs.
    By educating your employees about these differences, you can promote a unified and emotionally intelligent workforce.
    Encouraging a sharing of information about the different backgrounds of people within your workforce, can improve understanding and boost communication.
    This can be done in numerous ways; for instance, if you have a company newsletter, add a section which looks at the different cultures represented within your team.
    Adding information about the language linked to the culture can also help support those learning this language (see tip number 2).
    However, one of the most effective ways to educate your employees, is to provide cultural awareness training to employees and management.
    This helps everyone understand different cultural norms, customs, and communication styles, promoting respect, and reducing misunderstandings.
    Similarly, ensuring that company policies and practices are inclusive and respectful of diverse languages and cultures is vital.
    This should include using inclusive language in company documents and materials, and promoting an inclusive environment both in the office and online.

Supporting a multilingual workforce is an ongoing effort that requires open communication, feedback mechanisms, and a commitment to valuing linguistic and cultural diversity.

By following the tips above, you’ll create a more inclusive and productive workplace for all employees, regardless of their linguistic and cultural background.

For more information on cultural awareness training, you can contact us here, and if you’d like to find out how we can help with translation and localization, click here.