Diversity and cultural mix across the UK has been at the very core of the growth in the restaurant and takeaway industry, changing and blending the palate of the nation.
However, managing staff who are new to the UK can bring its own challenges, as bilingual staff can sometimes lead to miscommunication contributing to on-the-job accidents and injuries, which may lead to employers liability claims under your Takeaway Insurance policy.
Bridge the Learning Gap
When employees are learning English, or their English is limited, they may hesitate to ask for help when they aren’t sure of meaning or instruction, as such, every takeaway or restaurant with a bilingual staff must take steps to bridge cultural gaps and ensure proper and clear communication.
Wherever possible, your business should provide on-boarding programmes for new staff in their native language (including written documentation). This will ensure a clear understanding of your processes and risk management steps to reduce risk.
Allocate key team members to act as translators or buddies at safety presentations and team meetings to help new staff to fit in and feel comfortable with their environment.
Clear Communication and Information
To promote worker safety, you should post signage and communication materials in multiple languages, including those in which your employees are fluent.
In addition to printed safety materials and documentation, provide staff handbooks and HR information about wages, insurance and employee policies. This will help to protect your business against employment claims or other such disputes whereby the member of staff could claim that they were unaware of the procedures. It is also wise to consider Management Liability Insurance to protect the business against these instances.
Evaluate and Record Data
When a new member of staff joins your team, have a clear process to evaluate employees’ level of education and language ability. This will allow you to manage messaging and training clearly and easily across the business.
Comparing and evaluating abilities with job duties and common injuries, as well as culture and background, will allow you to adapt your safety programmes and communications materials accordingly.
Even if you feel you are proficient across a number of languages it may with worth considering professional translation of your materials. Translation fees are well worth the expense when weighed against the risk of workplace accidents due to poor communication or understanding.
It is not recommended to use free online translation tools, particularly when dealing with HR or Safety matters, as you may need to rely on these documents should a workplace injury lead to an HSE (Health and Safety Executive) investigation or Employers Liability Insurance claim.
We all know that finding and retaining quality chefs and other staff for your takeaway can be difficult. By offering to provide English Language classes or time off to attend learning sessions, you can reduce your staff attrition levels and attract new employees more easily.
Even something as simple as online learning opportunities at the workplace can prove convenient and attractive for both your business and employees.
New Safety Environment
For many new immigrants the heightened requirements and importance of following British safety standards may come as a shock and there will be a period of transition, which is only enhanced by any language barriers.
For example, If a frying range or stove breaks down, or is not functioning correctly, he or she may worry that their job is on the line and simply make-do or try to fix it themselves, which can have fatal consequences.
Make sure new employees understand that broken equipment in the workplace is taken very seriously to ensure everyone’s safety. Employees should understand that properly reporting problems is a behaviour to be rewarded, and will not cost them their jobs.
Open Communication Culture
If you do not work on-site on a daily basis, try to visit with your bilingual employees on a regular basis, carrying out one-to-one meetings including safety issues in the workplace, and encouraging them to ask about any doubts or issues they are finding in their role.
By creating a welcoming environment for all employees, your will develop a multicultural workplace that promotes and supports diversity as a core value of your restaurant or takeaway.
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