Diversity and inclusion – overcoming language and literacy barriers

The communication of standardised workplace procedures to workforces with multiple languages and different levels of worker experience is a challenge for multinational organisations. A tier one Australasian business resolved these issues with local region adaptations of critical workplace procedures, overcoming language and literacy barriers for better safety outcomes.

workforce viewing training video in the field

Communication breakdowns contribute to increases in workplace incidents

A challenge for multinational organisations is how to communicate standardised workplace procedures across multiple languages and different levels of worker experience. Written procedures in non-native languages can lead to incorrect practices in an effort to get the job done, putting workers at risk of potential harm and limiting their capacity to earn an income. At the same time, differing levels of experience of workers onsite means critical information needs to be communicated in a way that can be easily accessed and understood.

One Australasian tier one business addressed these issues with local region adaptations of critical workplace procedures, overcoming language and literacy barriers for better safety outcomes.

One message to protect a diverse workforce

This tier one business realised that it needed to communicate standardised critical safety messages in various languages to better protect its workers on multiple sites. To ensure safer work environments and improve efficiencies, the business had to alter its existing procedural material and documents to support a pan-Asian workforce.

For their business, it was vital that workers, wherever they were located, engaged with and comprehended critical information to avoid incidents in the workplace. Lack of understanding due to language barriers could make it difficult to complete projects safely and improve the productive output of workers.

Local language adaptation improves worker engagement and minimises risk

This multinational needed an inclusive solution that bridged the language and literacy gap, communicating critical procedural and safety information to a diverse workforce. It had to deliver a consistent message regardless of a worker’s native language, while monitoring and tracking engagement with the content.

The company turned to CodeSafe as we had previously provided them with a customised mobile solution to efficiently deliver critical information Australia-wide.

The project had included developing and distributing a series of visual resources that communicated the corporate minimum safety requirements expected to do high-risk tasks.

Visual content with native language support overcomes cultural barriers

To create an environment of inclusion, this new particular project leveraged the organisation’s existing videos further by translating them into additional languages to provide a deeper level of detail to their visual support solutions.

Verification of engagement forms are completed in a worker’s language of choice, enabling the organisation to monitor and track comprehension of the information and confirm that individuals followed the correct work procedures.

Creating visual resources with support in multiple languages, showing ‘what good looks like’, ensures procedures are consistent wherever workers are located irrespective of their language of choice.  By valuing, not only a worker’s preferred learning style, but then doing so in their language of choice increases overall morale and thereby project success.