To help managers better understand the experiences and challenges faced by immigrant employees, Sarah Tattersall, Manager of Recruitment and Talent Development at 3M, suggests managers take part in a quick language exercise.
Managers have a five-minute conversation and every time they use a verb, they force
themselves to replace it with a synonym. This simple exercise gives them an appreciation for how much work goes into a simple conversation when your first language is not English.
Here are two tips to develop your company’s language exercise:
- Set up the diversity context for the exercise and debrief participants afterward to have them reflect on how they felt during the exercise. Then ask them to apply that learning in other workplace scenarios.
- Keep it fun and light. The conversation can be about anything and doesn’t need to be work-related. If you see participants struggling, allow the pair to switch roles so the other person has to come up with the synonyms.