English in the Workplace
For my latest blog I would like to look at the problem many foreign workers have in the workplace which is a poor or even non-existent grasp of English, and the difficulties that this throws up.
Many foreign people struggle to get by at work or only manage on very little English. Some rely on a supervisor or spokesperson to convey everything. This means hoping for the best much of the time that the English-speaking representative has fully understood the brief and can report back accurately. The non-English speaking workers have no control over what is being said and cannot join in conversations, which not only impacts on work performance, but also can have an effect on their relationship with their employers.
This, clearly is not an ideal situation. So let’s have a look at the main reasons why it is important to have a working knowledge of English if you work in the UK and are in contact with others in your work.
Why speaking English is important in your workplace
Firstly, work communication. You need to be able to communicate with many different people in the workplace, from your colleagues, the general public, tradespeople, your supervisor, Human Resources and your managers. Relying on others or adopting a ‘someone else who understands will sort it out’ strategy is unhelpful and unproductive.
If you work in an office, your English needs to be good enough to understand not only your own colleagues, but people from other departments. If you work in a hospital, it is vital your grasp of English is good if you are working directly with patients and you need to be able to understand what your colleagues and superiors are saying to you. If you work in a factory, you need to be conversant with individual instructions and team instructions and to be able to carry them out without having to ask someone to translate.
Secondly, health and safety. In all workplaces, but particularly in factories or on building sites and construction you need to be able to understand the signs around you and the safely instructions that are given you. Being conversant in English could save an accident and even your own or someone else’s life.
Thirdly, you need to be able to discuss any issues you have with your bosses or Human Resources. You will feel much more confident if you can put your ideas or queries forward in good English. You will also need English if you want to advance in your job and get promotion.
Let’s finish with well-being. Knowing what is being said, being able to join in speaking with native speakers at work, being able to understand requests and commands and being able to ask questions with all impact on your well-being at work and how you feel about your job. It will have a positive effect on your work performance which in turn will please your boss!
So what can you do to better your English? English in the Workplace Training can be taken with Connect to English. We will design the classes around your working hours and design a course that meets you language needs.
Finally, a word to company owners. Speaking and understanding English is a valuable skill for your employees to have. It makes people feel more a part of your team. It makes people feel more secure and gives them confidence. This in turn will be of great benefit to you and your business. By gaining more confidence employees will work better. This greater efficiency will add greater profitability for your company and your employees will feel a greater sense of well-being and loyalty to you.
What employees will learn
Typical language items in the English in the Workplace Training include:
- Giving instructions
- Understanding Instructions
- Understanding common signs in the workplace
- Health and safety instructions
- Asking for things
- How to indicate a problem
- Sector-specific vocabulary
- Reading information
- Reading a memo
- Writing a note/e-mail
English in the Workplace Training can be tailored to individual or group requirements.
So there you have it. If you are an employee or you are a business owner whose employees are experiencing difficulties in communicating in English, get in touch with us on 01206 504277 or go to our Contact Us page