Appreciation Is Key to Creating a Great Place for Interpreters to Work

thank you

This is the next post in a series for interpreter managers that covers six steps essential to creating a great place to work.  Appreciation is the second step in this process.

When was the last time you thanked an interpreter for the work they do?  I'm not talking about the interpreting itself. I'm talking about the efforts they put into building your brand. 

Brand can be defined as a name, term, design or other feature that distinguishes one seller's product from those of others.  If you’re a manager that means your company, whether that be a health care system or agency, is your brand.  How your interpreters respond to their job will distinguish them and their value to the organization.  You also have a personal brand that represents your ability to get the right things done.  Your interpreters are no different.  That's right: interpreters are responsible for your reputation with customers and the community

Your customers contract with you because you can meet their needs. Your organization may have chosen to build your department as a response to those same needs.  That relationship is only possible because of the work interpreters do on your, the manager’s, behalf.  Take a time out and thank them for being a valuable asset to your organization. Keep a special eye out for opportunities to appreciate individuals who consistently meet or exceed expectations. And don't underestimate the impact of acknowledging small improvements that individuals make. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day.

Not sure what to watch for? Here are a few things for starters:

  • Did someone send in their billing information in a timely manner?  
  • Do they always answer their phone when you call?  
  • Are they nice to talk with on the phone?  
  • Do they "steal" appointments (not good) or do they respect your business policy (very good)?  
  • Do they make sure they're available to you when they say they will be?
  • Do customers go out of their way to tell you they enjoyed working with that interpreter?
  • Did someone take time away from family or friends to help you in a pinch?

This isn't a comprehensive list, nor does it mean you should recognize someone every time they do their job.  You should have clear expectations of what the job requires so you can recognize when someone goes above and beyond.  

Everyone wants to know their work matters, even you.  It’s all too easy to focus on what people are not doing and their shortcomings and mistakes, but take on the challenge of showing your team they matter to YOU.  Be the manager you would want to have.  

Let everyone know how well someone on your team is doing.  As we mentioned in an earlier post, interpreters want to feel like their work is meaningful and impactful.  They want to be part of a team and know they’re part of reaching a common goal.  

How you approach appreciation will also foster the collaborative environment you’re trying to make or maintain.  It’s an opportunity to share best practices.  Appreciation gives you the opportunity to shape and reinforce your expectations.

The point is to take a minute to show appreciation for the talent that makes you successful. The truth of the matter is that without your interpreters, you, the manager, don't have a job. 

And finally, remember you want a team, not a department, because Together Everyone Achieves More.

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