Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Frontline Staff Not Trained In Our Lingua Franca ?

Employment of foreign workers has come under fire again - this time on wait- staff and other frontline staff with an apparent lack of linguistic ability.

Whose fault ?
Blame their employers ?
Must employers ensure that they are adequately trained before deploying them to the frontline ?

"No Way !" say some employers with their all too familiar reasons ( or excuses ? ). "Government should consider literacy test just like what foreign maids have to undergo before they are employed in Singapore" says the public ( some, at least ).

While big players in any industry may have the resources to commit their staff to some internal programme or training by external institutions, many smaller enterprises may have difficulty in substaining such good practices.

As a management consultant, I have always impressed on both employers and employees on the need to realise that communications do not solely depend on human interaction alone.

Indirect communications speak volumes, and if properly implemented may relieve all relevant parties on the arduous and time-consuming tasks of repeating standardised messages and instructions.

Such indirect communication means include proper and effective signages( electronic moving messages, for instance ), sound systems ( repeating promotional packages, for instance ), pamphlets and table-cards/menus ( highlighting time for last order, for instance ).

Finger-pointing is not going to lead us anywhere. Brainstorming will resolve most situations.

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