How to Effectively Train in Spite of Language and Cultural Differences

Written by Jo Dakin

In the early 1970s, Canada was one of the first countries in the world to adopt an official policy of multiculturalism. This forward thinking and inclusive political stance means that today, Canada employs one of the most diverse workforces found anywhere in the world. While this allows for a vibrant culture both inside and outside of the workplace, it also means there are certain challenges to overcome in industrial training situations. This is largely attributable to language and cultural differences.

For those operating in the food and beverage production sector, it is sometimes easy to overlook the necessity to tailor training programs that cater to all cultural and language backgrounds. Taking a pro-active approach to modifying existing methods can ensure successful training for employees across any demographic.

Techniques to Overcome Cultural and Language Barriers

Even when employees have a basic command of the English language, training facilitators should not overlook the fact that the actual delivery of training is a key determining factor to the success of a program. Miscommunication and misunderstanding is a risk when training is hastily delivered, or facilitated by those who are unfamiliar with the cultural and ethnic diversities that they are training. Communication needs to be clear, slow, and concise, without excessive use of jargon or culturally specific idioms.

In industries involved in production, there may be certain technical language that is unavoidable. This makes it important to employ a policy of regular clarification to ensure a mutual understanding. Employees who speak English as a second language may become introverted when they are confused, so facilitators must be aware of this, and take command of two way communication. They must continually seek confirmation and test knowledge to ensure that instructions and teachings are mutually understood.

Visual aids will greatly increase the effectiveness of training presentations and on the job training. Accents, and even localized dialects can form barriers even when a common language is present. The use of visual aids will provide clarification of the topics discussed, without the barrier of culture or language. In the case of machinery operation or manual processes, visual instructions are an unambiguous aid that leave little to interpretation.

The most important thing however when training a culturally or language diverse group, is that facilitators recognize and understand communication barriers and can adapt their delivery style to their audience. With an understanding of these barriers and a robust training plan, businesses can ensure that any employee induction, on the job training, or upskilling initiative is successful, regardless of the cultures, ethnicities, and languages of the employees taking part.

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Turning Negatives Into Positives

Written by Jo Dakin

It can be difficult at times to stay positive in the face of real opposition or real challenges. It’s not always easy to work in a given environment or to have negative responses to your work or to your feedback. Difficult situations make for challenges in our daily lives.

Negative situations are everywhere we go. How we react to them, how we respond to them is what sets the tone for the continued interaction. There really is a silver lining in many of these situations. Sometimes it takes more effort to find it but once you do, you can take away something very positive from an uncomfortable situation.

If your work is being criticized, recognize that you can take a learning experience away from that and grow in your career. Despite it being proffered to you in a negative way, you need not allow the way in which it was offered to make the entire scenario negative.

Bear in mind that there are always going to be negative people around you. Whether they are in positions of authority or not, you’re going to have to deal with them. Allowing them to spread negativity and to damage morale—particularly yours, isn’t helping anyone and it won’t rectify the situation.

Negative people can often be managed by a pleasant response. You don’t own their negativity so don’t fuel it. Offer a smile, offer a sympathetic word and listen. Let people vent their anger or frustration if they need to do that, but don’t feed into it. If it is a supervisor who seems unduly harsh in their critique, try to look past the attitude and find the useful information there. Sometimes it’s difficult to do so, but if you can, you’ll likely take away something worthwhile.

Try to help to create a situation where the people around you feel as though they are worthwhile and included in discussions and situations. Help them to see their options, rather than to focus on the purely negative.

If the negativity is aimed directly at you, take a hard look at it. Are the comments about your work or your actions something that have real value? Even the rudest commentary–the most negative reaction may hide a grain of truth.

If it’s something that you can change, take a look at the value underlying the comment and act on it. If you can change it or it merits change, act on it. Taking a positive away from it puts you in the driver’s seat.

You are not always able to control a negative situation, but you can control your reaction to it. Keep an open mind and an upbeat attitude about any negative situation. Examine the situation in which you find yourself and take a breath before you respond. Some of the people that you honestly believe you’re not going to work well with or to interact well with can become your closest allies.

Keep in mind as you seek to keep your life and your workplace positive that sometimes negative reactions and negative emotions are completely appropriate, depending on the situation. There may not be a great solution for that but you can be a good listener who is available with a sympathetic ear and a reasonable response.

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How to Build an Effective Team

Written by Jo Dakin

Can a business realize success without its employees interacting effectively as a team? No, a company will never make it if the employees are at odds with each other. Therefore, it is crucial that companies build effective teams of highly motivated individuals that work together smoothly on a daily basis to bring about success. How does management accomplish this task?

  1. Selecting the right people to be on the team is crucial. When management is interviewing job candidates, it needs to discover during this process, whether they are team players. Management can weed out problem personnel right from the start in this manner. Questioning the job candidate if he plays well with others and understands the importance of teamwork is an effective way to accomplish this. His answer will say it all.
  1. The company should acknowledge that every team member’s role is important to the success of the company no matter how minor or major that role may be within the team or company. Management will empower the team to forge onward to greatness when it provides this acknowledgement. On top of this, management needs to define the duties of each team member clearly, so that all the members understand their individual responsibilities.
  1. Management should always encourage members of the team to voice their ideas, opinions and suggestions on present special projects and daily operations. The team could have the answers to certain problems management discovers on a regular basis. Feedback from the team often can lead to operations running more smoothly and swiftly.
  1. Management needs an open-door policy to keep communication flowing freely. Team members need to feel that they can approach management whenever necessary to keep a task or project running smoothly, or if they have an issue with another team member that they cannot resolve on their own. A weekly meeting with team members also is an easy way to encourage effective communication.
  1. Building an effective team also involves management setting clear and precise goals for the team to meet. Goals such as these could be deadlines on projects or daily targets to reach just for a couple of examples. The team works more efficiently with such goals.

A company that builds a team in the above fashion increases its possibility for success. Develop a winning team at your company today to enhance your productivity!

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You’re Hired! How to Retain Your Top Talent.

Written by Jo Dankin

The time and investment you put into hiring top talent shouldn’t be taken lightly. Once you’ve hired these professionals, you need to keep them on your payroll. Unfortunately, most companies stop their efforts once the person begins their job. The truth about keeping top talent is that you need to keep them satisfied and invested in their position.

Most companies use salary, vacation time, retirement and insurance to keep people on their payroll. But there are other things you should be doing to help retain your top talent.

Let the Individual Feel Like an Asset

Employees often feel like they get lost in a sea of people. With thousands of people working together in an office, it can be difficult for a person to stand out. Taking the time to make sure everyone stands out will do wonders for office morale. Address them by name. Get their input on their job and changes that impact it. The more you listen, the longer they will stay around.

Don’t Hinder Their Learning Potential

Most people gain the understanding they need to go through the motions of their job in just a few months. Once an employee has peaked, there is a good chance they’ll become bored with the position they are in. It is beneficial to create a situation that helps them to continue to keep them invested. Offer opportunities to continue their education and increase responsibilities when you are able to. You’ll find this keeps top talent with your company and away from the competition.

Reward Good Work

Sure, you can give a bonus payment from time to time to keep your top talent interested in their position. You can also get the same reaction by acknowledging the work they do. Tell them that they did an incredible job on a project. Notice when they go the extra mile and get a project done on time. Before you know it, they will begin to feel loyalty to the company and this will keep them with you longer.

Once you have found the perfect employee do what you can to keep them. The more time you spend investing in their knowledge and showing them they matter, the more likely it is that they’ll stay with your company.

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How To Attract Top Talent When You Are Not a Fortune 500 Company

Written by Jo Dakin

Finding candidates to fill a position isn’t tough in our current economy. However, getting the best talent is difficult if your company isn’t a Fortune 500 company. Smaller companies are struggling to attract and retain top talent to fill critical positions. While some business owners are settling, you do have alternative options.

The truth is top talent is attracted to small businesses to a degree. But you do need to be realistic about your expectations. Some professionals still want the safety net that comes with working for these major corporations. But there are others who dream of a hands on position that covers more than a single focused piece of a department.

Get Your Staff On Board

When swaying top talent, you need to have people talking your company up. There’s a good chance your staff has experience with other professionals in the industry. Have them talk to the people they know. When people love their job and communicate what they do with others, it can become infectious. You just might find you have an edge over some top talent.

Promote a Learning Experience

Comps and perks are fine in a corporate environment. But small businesses can give top talent a chance to experience new things and grow. Fortune 500 companies have people who handle a small portion of things. They are a well oiled machine. The problem is you don’t get the experience that comes with handling other areas also.

Well selling your position to top talent, give them the chance to expand on their knowledge and grow. Some top talent will even come in for a specific amount of time as a head of department as it gives them time in a title which will aid their resume. Agree to hire them on, in exchange for a specific period of service. In most cases, you can sway them to remain on board past this timeframe.

The Ability to Grow Your Company

Top talent tends to look at companies that are ready to take off and make an impact. If your company has the potential for powerful growth, let them know. Give them some insight into how you plan to expand and mention they can become part of this growth. Helping a company to grow and expand looks incredible on a resume. In fact, there is top tier talent that actively seeks out companies and works closely with companies to grow them.

Give Them Some Honesty

Being realistic about what you can and cannot do for an individual is important. While you might not be able to pay a person six figures, let them know what you can do for them. Can you let them head a department and put them in charge of high profile items? If they hit certain thresholds can you give them a bonus? Being honest about what you can do and offering top talent options that will pay off down the road can be enough to entice them to join your company.

Is it possible to attract top talent to your business when you aren’t a Fortune 500 company? It is. You just need to present the possibility of a better future, the potential for learning and a positive work environment to get them to join your team. Once they are there, give them a reason to stay.

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