Sainsbury's to help staff better communicate with deaf shoppers

5 December 2016 - Janet Bird

sainsburys staff sign language

Sainsbury's has launched an initiative to help its staff communicate better with deaf customers.

After holding workshops with deaf colleagues and coming to better understand their experiences of shopping, the supermarket created a short film to help its 161,000 staff learn the basics of British Sign Language.

Titled 'Life Doesn't Come with Subtitles', the film shows staff how to sign phrases like 'hello', 'can I help you?', 'follow me' and 'thank you'. It also urges staff to relax, maintain eye contact, use their hands and write down more complicated communications.

Staff member Tracey Kennard, who has a deaf parent and is fluent in sign language, appears in the film. She says the impact it has had on her colleagues has been remarkable, increasing their confidence in dealing with deaf customers and their willingness to have a go at sign language.

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