Increase Employee Engagement Through Translation

For the past few months, I’ve been updating Avantpage’s employee handbooks for our team members in our offices in the United States, Poland, and Mexico. Because of Avantpage’s commitment to clear communication, it’s essential that our company materials reflect our mission and values—no matter what language in which they are written.

The process has been time-consuming, but worth it. I know that employee handbooks, when written correctly and conveyed correctly, can create the type of boundaries people need to feel freer in the workplace.

If you’re in the same boat as me and are now looking to translate your employee handbook, your next step and choices are just as crucial as putting together the document in the first place. It’s crucial that the meaning of your company’s policies is translated clearly into the handbooks you provide to employees who speak another language. When you do this, you can increase employee engagement and commitment to your company.

Get A Professional Translation

One of the problems with employee handbooks is that they’re policy heavy and can be very dry—but you need employees to read every line. This can become even more difficult if you’re presenting employees with a document that’s not written in their primary language.

Using an online translation tool, such as Google Translate, to translate an employee handbook can introduce errors and confusion. For example, in some languages the word “terminate” can mean “kill.” So if you’re writing a policy about terminating an employee, the sentence can become very deadly very quickly if mistranslated.

A professional Language Services Provider, such as Avantpage, can help you avoid embarrassing errors and create a document that is cohesive and understandable. Your employee handbook is your company’s bible and reflects directly on your organization. If a translated version sounds disjointed or sloppy or has amateur mistakes, then you are communicating with your employees that you don’t care about them.

It’s important to ensure that your intended message gets across to your employees, and the best way to do that is with an LSP that can provide quality and accuracy.

Localize Your Content For Each Office Location

While updating Avantpage’s employee handbooks, I’ve had to keep track of many different laws and regulations for each of our locations.

For example, Poland has 26 vacation days that are mandated by the government. So, I can’t write one lump employee handbook for all our employees, because our U.S. accrual-based PTO policy would violate Polish laws. Another example is that the process of requesting a vacation in Mexico is incredibly extensive and requires reporting to the government, which is different than the procedure for our U.S. offices.

Even for U.S. companies, different local jurisdictions will have different requirements that need to be included in your handbook.

Custom content for your handbook at each location can help, but to take this geographic focus to the next level, consider localization. With localization, an LSP can adapt your content so that it looks, feels and functions as if it were produced within the target country. The process may involve creating new, culturally relevant content, revising graphic design, color schemes, symbols and other visual elements, and modifying currency, time, weights and measures, and other numerical elements to reflect local usage and standards.

This additional step can further communicate your commitment to your employees, no matter what language they speak.

Consider Creating And Translating A Cultural Guide

At Avantpage, we have some policies that are fun and meant to foster engagement with our team. These types of practices non-verbally communicate our company’s mission and values. But, more fun policies could get lost in a dry document that’s crammed with rules and regulations.

If your organization has a similar situation, consider creating a company culture guide that can cover these types of policies. This will help your employees understand that it’s a part of your cultural makeup of the company.

Culture guides are also a good way to address different offices in different countries. You can have one employee handbook for the rules you’re legally required to have, and another that outlines the culture you’re trying to have. Each can be edited to fit different locations and translated and localized into the appropriate languages.

Most HR departments are moving away from the old, stark presence of being the policy police and embracing employee engagement. HR professionals are looking for ways to empower and increase employee engagement, and language has a lot to do with that goal.

At Avantpage, we work with many LEP individuals and what robs them of their power is not feeling like they can communicate. By translating your employee-facing documents and policies, you empower all your team members to understand and increase employee engagement within your company.

At Avantpage our experienced team can help guide you through the translation process and make it fast and easy. To find out more about our services call us at 530-750-2040 x11, or request a free quote.