4 Ways to Overcome Language Barriers in the Workplace

Learn how to breakdown language barriers in your workplace with our top tips!

Woman looking happy against a wall of writing which reads "hello" in different languages

The UK is an incredibly diverse place to live and work, with a whole range of different nationalities making up the country we know and love. However, with such diversity can also come potential language and cultural barriers across different businesses and industries.

If you hire temporary or migrant workers whose first language is not English, it can impact company-wide communications and result in errors and misunderstandings. We’ve put together some top tips on how you can overcome any potential language barriers in your workplace, so you can ensure all of your employees are working to the same business goals and objectives.

Invest in English Classes for the Workplace

It may be a worthwhile endeavour to offer English classes for all your non-English speaking employees to partake in – if they so wish. This will help them to fully understand the business needs, health and safety procedures, how to carry out their job to the best of their ability, and also improve communication with other employees within the business.

As your employees get to grips with the language, the chances of injury or miscommunication are reduced. Although offering these classes may be an investment, your employees will be able to develop their skills and thrive within the workplace environment, especially as they can see that you are supporting and accommodating their needs to successfully perform within their role.

Hire a Translator for Bilingual Staff

Utilising the skills of an interpreter may be a great option for group hirings, as you can answer any queries about the role or explain convey any important information needed for your new staff members to thrive.

Aside from group meetings, interviews, or inductions, hiring an interpreter to translate the most important documents within the office can also be a worthwhile option.

Translate all Procedures, Policies, and Handouts

Taking the time to translate training materials into a wide of languages will support non-English speaking employees in understanding the best practices that they should be following within the workplace.

These documents will enable your employees to ensure they’re on the same page when it comes to carrying out their role – especially in environments that involve heavy machinery or working closely with people, such as those in agriculture, construction, or healthcare.

Additionally, when it comes to health and safety, creating a training programme suited to all workers will be a good option. This could include video materials or visual aids, speaking slowly and concisely, encouraging questions, and getting an understanding of the new employees’ comprehension by asking them to complete questionnaires.

Encourage the Exploration of Different Cultures

Company culture can have a huge role to play within the dynamics and work ethic of your employees. Language plays a huge role within the culture, so asking employees to take the time to understand and learn phrases, idioms, and social differences or similarities can help to break down the barriers different nationalities and languages can have on forming new workplace relationships.

Support Your Multi-Lingual Staff by Giving Them Access to Banking

Here at Suits Me, we can support your business with a safe, easy, and cost-effective solution by providing your new employees access to a UK banking account. Partnering with Suits Me can ensure your workers are paid safely and securely into a current account that is set up in their own name.

We also have a large customer care team who speak over 9 languages, and we can also provide a range of marketing materials to support your employees with their personal finance whilst navigating their life in the UK.

In just 20 minutes, from submitting the account registration form, you’ll be able to add their details to your payroll system and your employees will get their hands on a Prepaid Mastercard in 3-5 working days.

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