Workplace English – Communicating Effectively with Your Spanish-speaking Employees


Spanish-speaking employees are often critical members of a restaurant team, and learning to bridge that communication gap is an important skill. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Focus on communicating the main idea – keep phrases and sentences as simple as possible.
  • Don’t use broken English.
  • Think of at least one other way to rephrase what you want to say.
  • Avoid asking “yes/no” questions or asking judo you understanding Remember to ask “wh_” questions or open-ended questions to check comprehension. For example, instead of asking, “Did you talk to your supervisor ask, “Who did you talk to?”

When listening to an employee whose first language isn’t English, be sure to give them time to communicate, and encourage them to “show” you what they need to tell you. Take the time to learn about your employees both culturally and personally. Whatever you do, never assume that a lack of English proficiency indicates that lack of intelligence.

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