In my last column, I convinced you (I hope) that it is of utmost importance to provide specific and customized support for bilingual supervisors around benefits communication.   This does not mean that you should try to educate these folks as to how benefits work.  Your supervisors are not going to become benefits experts, and there is no reason that they should.  They do, however, need to understand just how important benefits are.

This training should, above all, be a math lesson.  How much does the company invest in benefits?  What do we know about how good benefits, and advantageous utilization of plans, impacts employee morale, productivity, and retention?  But don’t stop there.

Very often, bilingual supervisors do not understand the costs and risks of low morale and retention.  Walk supervisors through the business rationale of providing benefits. This may well be very eye-opening for them.  At the end, encourage them not to try to answer employees’ questions or give advice they’re not prepared to give.  Rather, guide these supervisors to guide their employees to the experts—whether that is yourself, the booklets you have paid so much to produce (and translate professionally), or other resources you are providing.

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