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Employers, brokers, and benefits managers invest a great deal in benefits communication, whether in terms of time, money, migraines, or all of the above.  And when a benefits package needs to be explained in Spanish, they normally turn to two strategies.

Chances are, you will start off by translating your written material.  This is necessary, and it needs to be done right, but revisit Light Bulb Moment Número #1 for a reminder as to why translation alone will not change employee behavior.  You might also bring in an outside expert.  The carrier might have bilingual staff, or you can bring in an interpreter.  Again, this strategy may have some value.  This person will present and answer questions, and, with any luck, develop a rapport with employees.  However, wherever this person comes from, he or she will have contact with your team for a day or two during open enrollment period and then disappear.  So what source of benefits information does have the greatest impact on your Spanish-speaking employees?  As we’ve seen, it is unlikely to be your translated written material or your outside expert.  In fact, it is your bilingual supervisors.  Communication from them (intentional or unintentional) is consistent and ongoing, and has a much greater impact on employee behavior than brokers or employers are aware of.

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