4 Tips For Training Non-Native English Speakers At Work

Posted on: 26 June 2018

If you have employees who do not speak English well or at all because it is not their native language, you may be struggling with how to train them. Just because they can't speak English as well as your other employees doesn't mean they don't have the skills necessary to excel. However, you still need to be able to train them properly, which can be difficult. Check out these four tips that will help you train your non-native English speaking employees.

Ensure They Have Adequate Safety Training

You're not really required by law to offer every bit of information at your company in multiple languages. However, if you have employees that don't speak/read English, it is legally required you provide them with safety training in a language they can understand. As the employer, it's your responsibility to ensure all employees get proper safety training, regardless of inability to read, write, speak, or understand English. In fact, there may be other similar local or federal laws about which you should be familiar if you have non-native English speaking employees.

Pay Attention to Body Language

While language may not be the same from person to person, some body language is. Of course, not all body language is the same, but for the most part, regardless of culture or race, you can typically tell by someone's body language if they are understanding what you are saying. For example, if you have an employee who is not saying much during training, but they are nodding at the right times and don't look confused, they are probably understanding you. Sometimes, non-native English speakers can understand more than they can actually verbalize themselves.

Get Assistance From Other Employees

One of the best ways to help an employee learn the job when they can't speak English well is to get other employees involved. In fact, you may have some employees who speak the same language. If so, you may be able to have them help translate or train. Also, having other employees help will let the non-native English speaking employee see how the work is performed, which can be extremely beneficial when you are learning something in a language you don't understand. Last, getting other employees involved helps the new employee feel like part of the team, not an outcast because they can't speak English as well.

Offer Business English Classes

If you have an employee you really want to keep, but they need to know better business English for their job, consider getting them training. Business English classes are available online and in a classroom. They are great for employees because they teach the English words and phrases you need to survive in the business world. Consider rewarding native English speaking employees who also take foreign language classes so they can interact with each other better, regardless of language.

If you are ready to grow your business by investing in your employees, and you have non-native English speaking employees, consider these four tips to help training go smoothly. For more information about training non-native English speaking employees, locate a business English course in your area or online today.

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