How to Manage Multilingual Contracting Crews

three construction workers working on site

Managing a multilingual crew can be a daunting task, especially if you only speak one language yourself. However, it’s not impossible. With some work, you can manage a crew who speaks different languages just as well as a unilingual crew. Here’s a quick guide on how to manage your multilingual contracting crews.

Choose Words Carefully

When managing a multilingual crew, choose your words intentionally. Use simple language that everyone will be able to understand. Not all of your crew members will understand English fluently, but they likely will have a basic understanding.

Also, be careful when using slang or making jokes. Some of your crew may not understand this due to the language barrier and could end up confused, offended, and/or feeling excluded. This doesn’t mean you need to avoid slang or jokes, though. The first time you use a slang word or tell a joke, explain it to the crew so everyone has an understanding and is in on the fun.

Create an Inclusive Environment

Language barriers between crew members are difficult because they can often feel exclusive. Crew members who speak a different language may feel excluded if they don’t know the primary language fluently, and those who only know the primary language may feel excluded if people have conversations in their own language. This can not only feel exclusive, but can affect trust between workers.

To combat this exclusion or lack of trust, work to learn basic phrases in other languages your employees speak, and encourage others to do the same. If you have the funding, you could even offer classes or training. This will make people feel less excluded and will help form a more trusting environment.

Be Open and Welcoming

Some people naturally don’t feel comfortable speaking to authority figures, and a language barrier can make that even more uncomfortable. Be open and encourage your crew to talk to you if they have issues or questions they want to discuss. This will make them feel more comfortable and welcome in your crew, and will help you get to know them better.

Utilize Bilingual Employees

Recruit and utilize bilingual employees to help with the language barrier. These employees will help create the company culture mentioned earlier, and can also help with instructions and communication of things that might get lost in translation. Providing language classes or independent translators may not always be feasible, and translators could create a greater language divide since it brings more attention to the fact your crew members speak different languages. However, when an employee’s equal is facilitating the translation, it creates more of a community.

Delegate Tasks

Learn what your crew members are most skilled at and assign them those tasks. Those who speak other languages may not be as forthcoming about asking for certain assignments as those who speak English, so finding their strengths and assigning them can be a great confidence booster — making them feel like an important part of the team.

You can also delegate tasks that deal with the other side of contracting: working with getting clients the right financing. At HFS Financial, we can help fit your client with the right loan while you’re figuring out how to manage your multilingual contracting crews. All your clients have to do is fill out a 60-second loan application that doesn’t affect their credit and we’ll get them connected. Partner with us today by calling 1-800-254-9560. It will free up your time to build the best team around. “You Dream It, We Finance It.”

How to Manage Multilingual Contracting Crews

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