ESFM’s English as a Second Language Program Impacting Associate Confidence
You may have heard the saying, “communication rules the nation.” Some people may say it when wanting to emphasize the importance in information sharing and transparency, but in simple terms, the ability to communicate is the foundation of connection, clarity and understanding.
ESFM and Eurest’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Council (DEIAC) recognized the opportunity to help hourly associates feel more confident in their communication abilities if they had the right tools to express themselves. Hispanic Americans make up a majority of ESFM’s hourly associate demographic at nearly 45% with a large portion of that group adopting English as a second language.
In August 2021, ESFM launched into a pilot with two vendors to provide English as a Second Language (ESL) courses for 130 hourly participants, giving them both self-guided and instructor-led coursework and activities.
“The pilot helped us confirm our initial assessment of how important it is that we offer English learning to our diverse and dynamic team of associates. This program drove a lot of excitement and interest,” said program lead and DEIAC member Daisy Mendes.
Veronica Razo was one of ESFM’s first associates to participate in the ESL program. She is from Mexico City and oversees floor maintenance at Philips 66 in Houston, TX.
“I have taken an English class before and have practiced speaking English with my family and co-workers,” said Razo. “But I really wanted to be able to communicate better and therefore, be better at my job. This was really about wanting to continue to better myself.”
Over the course of two pilot phases, nearly 200 associates completed 6200 hours of learning with Eurest and ESFM. Program leaders are now working on scaling the program to be offered nationwide to increase the ESL’s program level of impact on empowering associates to feel more confident as communicators like Razo feels today.
“I’ve been able to communicate better with others and I’ve felt more confident. This will hopefully help me achieve more of my career goals. I feel like I can speak fluidly and have more confidence having conversations with English speakers now, which means a lot to me.” Razo shared.