When building your career as a professional in Human Resources, there are many skills you might need. They include communication, conflict resolution, ethics and management just to name a few. Though there is only one skill that could boost your prospects (and potentially your paycheck) before even stepping a foot in the door: bilingualism.
According to Indeed, translation is the fourth most in-demand skill for job applicants. While there are always reasons to pursue rare or niche languages, the language that will most help you in the United States is undoubtedly Spanish. After all, it’s the second most spoken language in the U.S. and the fourth most spoken language worldwide.
Adding proficiency in Spanish to your resume won’t only make you more competitive, but it will also provide more opportunities for mobility and promotion. You’ll be better at your job both in the office and across borders, and will be able to eliminate the need for a company interpreter.
Why HR Professionals Should Learn Spanish
The United States Census Bureau reports that over 40 million people in the U.S. speak Spanish. Of those Spanish speakers who are between the ages of 18 and 65, about 12.5 million speak English less than “very well.” Depending on where you’re located or the sector that your job is in, chances are that some of your coworkers or applicants are among those stats.
Alternatively, it could be the case that your company is actively recruiting employees from Mexico, South America or Spain. And your HR Manager put you in charge! These candidates may not have had proper English training yet and are relying on the HR department to be their main line of communication. Maintaining a solid level of work-related Spanish will not only impress your boss but also entice the candidates to take that coveted job offer.
To be more informative and inclusive to these employees who may be adapting to English, it is highly recommended that HR personnel learn Spanish. From the hiring process to retirement planning, make sure you’re equipped to handle employee needs at every step of the way.
Knowing Spanish Can Make You a Better Resource
As an HR professional, you are responsible for covering the various onboarding and compensation needs of an employee. It’s probably also under your purview to tackle the more challenging areas like termination, discipline and conflict management. And of course, there’s career development and health & wellness support as well. Why make these tasks any harder by adding a language barrier?
Many companies will handle this issue by using a translator to fulfill their communication and resolution duties. Some businesses may have the resources to hire a full time interpreter, but it could also be the case that businesses are simply relying on an online translator.
The Internet can do many things, but Human Resources is not one of them. In the midst of all the paperwork and daily work struggles, employees need a reliable and flexible HR representative to make them feel supported and heard.
Not to mention, the benefits aren’t limited to the office. As a Spanish speaker, you’ll be able to explore a whole new world of travel, friendship and food.
Helpful Topics to Learn to Talk About
Let’s be real, learning a whole other language can sound daunting. The good news is, you don’t need to become fluent in Spanish in order to be able to better communicate with Spanish-speaking employees. Rather than trying to undertake all 150,000 words in the standard Spanish dictionary, we recommend focusing on a few key themes.
Benefits: You’ll probably be spending a lot of time talking about benefits to employees, no matter if they’re newly hired or nearly retired. Learning basic vocabulary pertaining to health insurance and vacation plans can greatly speed up this process as well as help in avoiding any misunderstandings.
Finances: While it’s not HR’s duty to be a complete financial resource, it is expected that employees may ask questions about tax forms, payroll or retirement plans. Try having a handy resource sheet with this information already printed in Spanish nearby.
Relevant laws: In addition to Spanish, you’ll probably want to pick up a little legalese too… in Spanish. The ability to explain laws such as the Family & Medical Leave Act and the Employee Non-Discrimination Act will ensure workers can maintain a good understanding of their rights.
Career development: No matter the position, most employees aspire to move up in their field. A good HR department will offer training materials and workshops, which may be inaccessible if they’re only offered in English. Try translating these resources to extend these opportunities to those who are still learning English.
Privacy: Employees are encouraged to talk to an HR representative when they encounter problems or uncomfortable situations, and trust is a crucial component within this duty. Inviting an interpreter may compromise the worker’s privacy or worse, discourage them from reporting the problem at all.
Helpful Spanish Vocab for HR Professionals
You know the topics to focus on, and now you’ll learn 10 relevant vocab words to propel your professional lingo from good to great.
The position – el puesto de trabajo
The interview – la entrevista
The employee – el empleado / la empleada
Full-time job – trabajo a tiempo completo
Benefits – los beneficios
Wage – el salario
Vacation – las vacaciones
Insurance – el seguro
Work schedule – el horario de trabajo
The labor laws – las leyes laborales
Join the World’s 527 Million Spanish Speakers
If you want to step up your performance and reliability as an HR employee in an increasingly globalized workforce, considering learning the Spanish language is one of the best choices you could make. The number of Spanish speakers is only expected to grow in the future, and developing professionals should certainly be among them.
Take a trial class today, and see your career in Human Resources bloom tomorrow.