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    HR Resources | 6 min read

    A Guide To Managing Multilingual Hourly Employees

    It is undeniable that, unlike full-time workers, companies tend to give a small amount of attention and benefits to hourly employees. Some owners and managers think that retaining full-time employees is more essential to make their business successful. However, this only results in poor management of part-time and hourly employees.

    In total, about 80.4 million hourly employees in the US make up 58.3% of the total workforce in the region. They play an integral role in keeping businesses such as retail and restaurants functional. Thus, it is essential for companies and their HR managers to learn the proper management of their hourly workers.

    However, this can be a challenging task especially when your hourly employees do not speak the same language as you. Aside from their complicated schedules, you also need to consider the language barrier and possible discrimination in the workplace.

    To help, we will discuss the challenges in managing multilingual hourly employees and what you can do to overcome them.

    The Importance of Language and Communication

    Maintaining a great relationship between multilingual hourly employees and HR managers is important. However, there are times when communicating is difficult due to the language barrier and overlapping schedules.

    Thus, it is important to have your means of communication such as bulletin boards, social media group pages, chat groups, or televisions in your workplace. You may also consider using translation services with language solutions that you need to make sure that multilingual employees can understand important announcements.

    Challenges in Management

    Managing multilingual hourly employees is nothing like handling full-time desk workers with consistent schedules and salary. There are a lot of challenges that you may encounter, from handling their schedules to maintaining your interactions with them. Here are some of the challenges that you may experience:

    • Complicated hiring process

    There are a lot of businesses that prefer hiring multilingual employees to handle language barriers with their clients and customers. However, the hiring process can be pretty complex since you might also need to converse with them in their native language.

    • Exhausting training for supervisors.

    Training multilingual hourly employees can be draining for supervisors. Their schedules vary and can be unpredictable. Thus, the supervisors might need to work on separate hours just to ensure that they can train all employees. Not to mention, multilingual trainers are pretty rare and you might need translators for effective training.

    • Interacting with them is difficult.

    Aside from the language barrier, interacting with multilingual hourly employees is difficult due to their inconsistent schedules. Most HR managers are full-time workers which means that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with the hourly employees at all times.

    • Managing their schedule is confusing.

    It can be pretty perplexing when scheduling a large number of hourly employees. You can’t consistently have an employee work on all busy hours and the other employees on easier shifts. Moreover, there will be part-time employees who may request a leave of absence a day or an hour before their work, and finding someone to cover their shift can be pretty difficult.

    • Racial biases are possible.

    It is important to promote a healthy environment in workplaces. However, racial biases still exist in companies hiring multilingual individuals. It doesn’t help when their hourly employees also have very limited time to interact with their co-workers.

    Effective Ways to Engage with Multilingual Hourly Employees

    With all the challenges that you can encounter when managing multilingual hourly employees, it is important that you already have plans to overcome them. There is a great difference between handling them and your full-time employees. From the schedules to work obligations, there are a lot of things you need to consider when planning your methods and programs to retain them.

    To help you maintain a positive work environment, we will discuss the effective ways to engage with your employees:

    1. Make their schedules manageable.

    One of the greatest challenges of multilingual hourly employees is balancing their working schedules and private responsibilities. Make sure to make it more predictable and manageable by letting your workers know their schedule 2 weeks or more in advance. This offers more time for your employees to adjust their personal schedules or ask for a leave in advance.

    Aside from that, you can also ask your employees if they have any preferences in working schedules whether it is due to health, familial, or religious reasons. Make sure to honor their answers or discuss with them properly if it is impossible to fulfill their requests.

    When scheduling, you also have to ensure that there are no biases. Make sure that the busy hours and graveyard shifts are allocated evenly with everyone else. This is to avoid overstressing your employees and making them feel like they are unfairly treated.

    2. Set the importance of transparency.

    Honesty and trust are important between the company and its employees. Thus, it will be beneficial to let your employees know about your goals, culture, and achievements to offer a familial feeling in the workplace. It will also be beneficial to offer them help whenever they are facing problems in their work, studies, family, or financial status.

    To be fair, your employees should also offer transparency to your business. You can ask them to send you a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly report about their work. If the job is remote or “desk jobs,” you can ask them to install a free time tracking software that will monitor the hours they rendered and send screenshots of their screen while working.

    3. Utilize anti-bias policies.

    It is important to utilize anti-bias policies to make sure that there are no discriminations inside your workplace especially when you hire multilingual hourly employees. Make sure that everyone is aware of the importance of respect and trust within the workstation. Post the policies on your bulletin board or social media groups if possible.

    Make sure that everyone is sensitive to lingual and cultural differences to avoid any misunderstandings in the workplace. If there are any important announcements, you should also translate the memorandums and messages into other languages to ensure that everyone understands them.

    You can also offer assistance to your employees who are suffering from unfair treatments and bullying inside the workplace. Let them know that you care for their welfare and hold meetings regarding the issue to try and resolve them. It is important to make sure that there is a corresponding penalty for those who violate the policy.

    4. Have a reward system.

    Most companies do not offer benefits and wage increments to their hourly employees. Not to mention, the rates for them are also considerably lower than the full-time staff. To motivate your employees to do better at work, it is essential to have a reward system in your company.

    You can set weekly or monthly quotas or key performance indicators (KPI) that will let you know if they are working well. If they meet or exceed your expectations, you can reward them with monetary or material rewards. You should also make sure that the whole team knows about this success by posting it on your group page or mentioning them in your group chat.

    Final Takeaways

    Your multilingual hourly employees are an important asset to your company and retaining them is beneficial for the organization in the long run. Despite the challenges that you may encounter, it is vital to utilize a management plan to ensure a comfortable and healthy working environment.

    Make sure to build trust and understanding in your workplace by placing importance on communication, respect, transparency, and rewards to all employees. By keeping your employees motivated, you can maintain a positive work culture in your office. Moreover, having a predictable work schedule and salary will also be highly appreciated by your workers.

    If you are looking for a fast and effective way to hire your multilingual employees, do not hesitate to contact us at Workstream. We help you streamline your hiring processes so that you can find quality hourly workers easily for your company. Join our growing numbers of clients today!

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