Employers, brokers, and benefitsmanagers invest a great deal in benefits communication, whether interms of time, money, migraines, or all of the above.  Andwhen a benefits package needs to be explained in Spanish, theynormally turn to two strategies.

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Chances are, you will start off by translating your writtenmaterial.  This is necessary, and it needs to be doneright, but revisit Light Bulb Moment Número #1 for areminder as to why translation alone will not change employeebehavior.  You might also bring in an outsideexpert.  The carrier might have bilingual staff, or youcan bring in an interpreter.  Again, this strategy mayhave some value.  This person will present and answerquestions, and, with any luck, develop a rapport withemployees.  However, wherever this person comes from, heor she will have contact with your team for a day or two duringopen enrollment period and then disappear.  So what sourceof benefits information does have the greatest impact on yourSpanish-speaking employees?  As we've seen, it is unlikelyto be your translated written material or your outsideexpert.  In fact, it is your bilingualsupervisors.  Communication from them (intentional orunintentional) is consistent and ongoing, and has a much greaterimpact on employee behavior than brokers or employers are awareof.

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Tune in next week for Light Bulb Moment#6!

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Melissa Burkhart is the founder and president of FuturoSólido, which provides a wide variety of Spanish language services,including written translation, on-site interpretation, and languageinstruction. They have successfully served such industries asfinance, insurance, landscaping, construction, manufacturing,health care, non-profit, and hospitality. To learn more,visit www.futurosolidousa.com.

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