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Achieving DEI Through Language Access
Achieving DEI Through Language Access
Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) have surged to the forefront, steering companies toward success. These aren’t just buzzwords, they’re the foundation upon which thriving organizations are built. They reflect the growing awareness of the importance of creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their background, race, ethnicity, gender or language.
To fully represent Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, there’s a vital component that often remains in the shadows: language access. Language access plays a crucial role in creating a DEI workplace and companies truly committed to embracing DEI values, should consider a language access solution.
Language access refers to the availability of language services, such as interpretation and translation, enabling individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) to communicate effectively. In a workplace, language access is vital because it empowers employees to comprehend and engage in activities and discussions that impact their professional and personal lives. Without it, LEP individuals may struggle to interact with colleagues, grasp company policies and procedures and participate in training and development opportunities. This can lead to isolation, frustration, exclusion, and ultimately, reduced job satisfaction and productivity.
Language access also has a significant impact on the customer experience. For instance, if customers encounter language barriers when communicating with a company, it can result in misunderstandings, frustration and dissatisfaction. This can negatively affect the company’s image and potentially lead to lost business.
Creating a Diverse, Equal and Inclusive Workplace
By offering language services to both employees and customers, companies can demonstrate their commitment to DEI and ensure equitable access to information, opportunities and support.
Here are some steps that companies can take to support language access:
- Assess Language Needs: It’s important for companies to understand the language needs of their employees and customers. This can be done through surveys, focus groups and other research methods to determine the most common languages spoken within the workplace and among customers.
- Provide Translation and Interpretation Services: Companies can support language access by providing translation and interpretation services for documents, training materials and communication. This can include providing translated materials in the most used languages within the workplace and making interpretation services available for meetings, trainings and other important events.
- Foster a Multilingual Workforce: Companies can encourage a multilingual workforce by recognizing and valuing the diversity of languages and cultures represented within the workplace. This can include encouraging employees to use their native language skills, promoting multilingualism, and recognizing the benefits of a multilingual workplace.
- Encourage Cultural Awareness: Companies can also support language access by encouraging cultural awareness and understanding among employees. This can include offering cultural sensitivity training, promoting cross-cultural communication and recognizing the importance of cultural diversity in the workplace.
Language access is an integral component of a diverse, equal and inclusive workplace. By providing language services and promoting cultural awareness, companies can ensure that everyone has equal access to information, opportunities, and support. By valuing and promoting language diversity, companies can create a more inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported. Language access is a critical aspect of DEI, and companies prioritizing it are better positioned to create a fully inclusive environment.