According to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the landscape industry is comprised of 35% Hispanic workers. Many of the companies employing a Spanish-speaking workforce say that they still struggle with language barriers. They often utilize several bilingual employees to serve as translators for those employees that don’t speak any English at all.
While language can be a barrier in some aspects of business, particularly when it comes to interacting with clients or English-only speaking employees, there’s no reason to believe it has to be a barrier for everything. Despite that, we have found that landscape businesses with a lot of Spanish speaking employees are often hesitant to adopt green industry software. One of the biggest objections to adding landscape operations software is due to the fact that landscape business owners believe their Spanish-speaking workers will struggle with understanding the software and therefore it will go unused.
We get those thoughts a lot—and we understand the concern. But the truth is that even businesses with a strong Spanish speaking workforce can successfully implement green industry software. We have many examples of it already being done. Let’s explore why it’s not as challenging as you may think to have your Spanish speaking crews adopt green industry software.
Green Industry Software and Spanish Speaking Crews
By nature, the Hispanic workforce is comprised of risk takers. Think of the risks they’ve already taken to come work for the green industry in the first place, often without any prior skill. Many have traveled to America from incredibly far away solely for the opportunity to provide a better life for their family. Because of that, the Hispanic workforce is typically very hardworking and willing to learn new skills in order to get those opportunities.
Think back to when some of your Spanish speaking labor force first began working for you. In addition to being hard workers, were they fast learners? Were they determined to learn the trade? We feel confident that most landscape business owner would say “Yes” to both of those questions.
With a workforce that has already proven it is willing to take risks and to try new things—and keep trying until they get it right—there’s really no reason to assume it will be any different with learning how to work with a new software program. If your Hispanic workers were willing to learn what it required to work for your company in terms of trade skills, what’s to say they won’t be willing to learn more about the software you’d like to adopt? In our experience having worked with many landscape businesses over the years, the Hispanic workforce is typically eager and willing to learn and adapt to changes in the business. That includes learning software.
Landscape Operations Software with Spanish Speaking Crews
You probably already know that landscape operations software could help you in the field. By helping you better manage available materials, providing real time data from the field back to the office, and better managing your schedule, there are many ways that landscape operations software can improve your operations.
As a mobile app companion to Asset, we offer a feature called iCREWtek, that assists in that real time data input and output and improves your efficiency. For instance, through iCREWtek, you can send all the information your crews need for the day to your crew leader’s mobile device. As crews input data from the job site, you’ll also receive real time information on each of your accounts.
That all probably sounds incredibly helpful and those that have implemented it have already found it’s vastly improved their operations. But where we often get pushback is from owners who say their Spanish speaking workforce couldn’t possibly learn to utilize iCREWtek because of the language barrier.
Besides the points already discussed about the Hispanic workforce being an adaptable group who would likely be very willing to learn anything that would help keep them employed, it’s also important to recognize that the language barrier is easily addressed with software that translates from English to Spanish on the phone. At Include Software, we have also done some very specific things within the program to incorporate Spanglish, which is the combination of American English Spanish—a dialect that a lot of Hispanic workers adopt after living in America for some time.
We know that most of our clients employ Spanish speaking workers—that’s nothing new for us. It’s an issue that we’ve addressed and worked with clients on for years so we have solutions in place. With the software being translatable and even the incorporation of Spanglish features, it often winds up being easier to adapt to than most companies realize.
Let Them Prove You Wrong
Despite the fact that this has been an issue we’ve addressed for years, it still comes up as one of the main objections to adopting software. Time and time again we get initial pushback from ownership only to have them eventually realize that their crews adapted much more easily than they ever imagined they would. We’ve literally had clients say to us “our crews could never learn to use this,” only to find out a short time later that the crews quickly learned to adopt and use the software.
What we like to tell our clients is: Let them prove you wrong. Instead of just deciding that your Spanish speaking crews will be unable to use landscape operations software, give them a chance to prove you wrong. If you truly believe your Hispanic workforce is incapable of learning something new, you’re selling them short. You must give them the opportunity to try.
After all, it’s important to give the Hispanic workforce the credit that they deserve for coming over here and embracing challenges in order to have opportunities to work for the green industry. So many landscape businesses have Hispanic workers that have worked their way up through the company and overcome challenges at each level. There’s really nothing to say that your Spanish speaking workforce can’t do the same thing with learning to use software.
One of the most important factors for success with implementing green industry software is willingness to try something new. In other words, you have to be open to change. The Hispanic workforce has proven that they are adaptable to new situations. It’s not surprising for us to hear from clients that the crews were on board before everyone else. They’re often eager and willing to learn something new and appreciate the trust and responsibility you provide by giving them technology tools to do their job better. In the end, it’s a win for everyone.
If you’d like to find out more about how landscape operations software can work for you and your Spanish speaking crews, contact us for a free demo or call us at 800-475-0311 so we can answer your questions.