Utskrift från Malmö universitets webbplats www.mah.se

Room for improvement to help English speaking staff

2017-11-30

A survey was recently circulated among staff members at Malmö University who prefer using English in their day-to-day communication. Respondents say that access to information is unpredictable, and that urgent emails about facilities and IT are often not available in English.

The survey, which was conducted by the communications department, was sent to all managers at the university, who then forwarded it to their English-speaking employees. A total of 60 staff members answered, the majority of whom work as teachers and researchers. One third have full working proficiency in Swedish, while the rest have very limited knowledge of Swedish.

Easier for Swedish speakers

Although most of the individuals surveyed say that they get the information they need to do their job, this often requires more effort than for their Swedish-speaking colleagues. Unpredictability and lack of access to urgent information were reoccurring themes. It seems the biggest issue across the board, however, is the need for instructions in English for various administrative systems like Proceedo and Ladok.

The majority of respondents make use of the English staff pages, but their main sources of information are colleagues, managers and emails. When it comes to news, articles regarding rules and regulations are the ones in highest demand.

Making headway

Several of the respondents who have worked at the university for a long time feel that the internal communication in English has improved a lot over the last few years, but staff members who cannot read Swedish still do not have the same access to important information. The goal of the survey is to provide a more nuanced idea of the target audience and areas that require more effort. In this way, it is a deliberate step towards improving how the university communicates with its international staff members.

Not just inside information

The information gleaned may also be useful beyond internal communications, as some respondents also took the opportunity to ask for Swedish and English language courses for staff, as well as changes related to the external website. Such requests will be shared with the relevant management.

If you would like to share your experiences with the Communications Department but did not receive the survey, you can still find it online

Text: Maya Acharya