Developing your bilingual workforce

This is our 4-point checklist for you on how to make the most of what you’ve got and take things that bit further! Our clients vary from the public, private and third sector but everyone loves a good plan and a bit of common sense.

The Basics
Identify any statutory and regulatory requirements – are you required under legislation to provide bilingual services? Even if you don’t come under any statutory requirements, you may find that the guidance and good practice that is out there for public bodies will help you map out an effective and meaningful plan for your own organisation.

Define Welsh speaking customer needs – do you know what your customer needs and expectations are? Take steps to identify the hidden needs that are out there and where you need to target your efforts.

Analyse your capacity – identify any gaps in your current capacity to meet your customer needs so that you have a baseline to work from and to plan your strategy.

Attract the right people
Clear requirements – before recruiting, outline the language skills needed for positions and roles based on your analysis of current capacity, so that you are clear on what level of skills are needed.

Organisational values – let people know how important the Welsh language is to your organisation, so that Welsh speakers feel valued and will want to work for you!

Approach to recruitment – make sure you adopt the right approach and methods to recruitment. Be flexible and research how best to tap into the Welsh language labour market.

Retain and develop

Workforce strengths – identify and evaluate Welsh language skills in the workforce. Demonstrate the value of these skills and encourage take-up of learning and improvement.

Recognition – make sure bilingual staff feel that their contribution is valued and give them recognition for it in appraisals and general feedback.

Future workforce – tap into the future workforce through partnerships with local Welsh-medium schools and colleges.

Support structure
Bilingual software and resources – there’s a wide range of resources available (many are free!), from learning Welsh in the workplace, glossaries, spellchecking software to machine translation. Make sure you make the most of what’s out there.

Training – as well as making good use of resources, make sure that all staff have a chance to undertake Welsh language awareness training in order to understand how valuable bilingual provision is to your customers.

Champions – appoint Welsh language champions and mentors within the workforce to encourage and support those who speak Welsh and who are learning Welsh, and to make sure that your bilingual ethos is positively maintained throughout the organisation.

We hope you’ve found these suggestions useful – obviously there are many more, please get in touch if you’d like more information or just a friendly word of support! (There’s very good advice and guidance over on the Welsh Language Commissioner’s website on this and much more.)