What to do if your employees don’t speak English: An employer success story

November 9th, 2018|News|

Ian and Roberta MacGillivray, owners of The Filter Shop, are dedicated to building healthier, welcoming and inclusive work environments. The Filter Shop has partnered with CCI-LEX in order to better invest in their employees skill development.

“Let’s say you have a job that needs to be filled… The job is easy to learn and do well but difficult to hire for. People don’t stay or have the necessary work ethic and orientation to be good team members. How do you find employees who will do the work AND have the right attitude, work well with others, and stay over time?

Many employers in manufacturing, hospitality, food processing, and retail, fed up with the revolving door of employees are increasingly focusing on immigrant populations to find that perfect fit. When employers turn to employment and immigrant serving or community organizations to find employees, they are delighted by having workers with a strong work ethic, great attitude and desire to be with the organization commitment. The only downside is the lower English proficiency that can be an obstacle in communication.

After ensuring that candidates can complete the required tasks and have the desired attitudes, employers hire multiple people from similar ethnic background and language groups, often keeping them together in teams with one or two more English proficient employees serving as volunteer translators.

This approach solves problems for both sides… Although this arrangement takes care of immediate workforce needs and initially has happy people on both sides, there are problems that emerge over time partly because the workforce is not fluent in English, and partly because all human beings need to feel that they are realizing their potential to be happy in the workplace…”

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TEC member Ian MacGillivray is Co-Owner and Vice-President of the Filter Shop

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