Regardless of who you’re communicating with, it sometimes takes more than words to get the message across. That can be especially true with Hispanic employees, says Sheri Long, of Amigos at Work, and Jorge Estrada, of Leadership Coaching International.
The two consultants recommend using these eight steps to improve day-to-day communications with Hispanic workers. It’s worth noting that many of the rules apply to your English-speaking employees, as well.
1.) Seek first to understand, then to be understood. It’s wise to talk (and listen) to the employee in order to gather information and perspective before plowing ahead with your message.
2.) Give a few clear directions. Demonstrate or use pictures to show how you want something to be done.
3.) Slow down when you speak. Sure time is money, but so is a clear message. If you normally speak at 100 mph, slow down to 50 mph.
4.) Ask employees to tell you what you just told them. (If you ask, “Do you understand?” Employees usually say, “yes” in an attempt to please you whether they understand or not.)
5.) Learn and use some Spanish to help put employees at ease. “Por favor” (please) and “gracias” (thank you) go a long way.
6.) Tell employees they did a good job as often as possible and literally offer a pat on the back.
7.) Consider a combination of spoken and written communication. Use a professional translator if needed.
8.) Use frequent gatherings for training, as well as to promote a “social glue.”