How to Help New International Employees Adjust to Life in Your Business

Hiring international employees into your business can benefit in filling a skill gap that you’ve been trying to accommodate for so long. For the employee, it can be an exciting time as they make a step forward in their life and take a huge leap in growing their success.

However, although it’s a great opportunity many HR managers admit they do struggle to onboard employees when they first come on. This is particularly worrying when you think that international employees are coming from overseas and will need time to adjust as they step out of their comfort zone.

In order for onboarding to be successful, HR team’s need to be able to be able to facilitate international employees accordingly and fit in a process that will make them feel comfortable quickly and depend on reliable resources to help them through the transition. So, how can this be achieved exactly?

1. Provide guidance and tips before they move

The best way that an international employee can plan for their transition into new surroundings is by providing them with relevant information beforehand. This will minimise the chances of them having a major culture shock and taking longer to adjust. Provide them with guidance on what to expect when they arrive and how they’ll be able to cope with it accordingly.

There are several ways you can help them with this. Provide them with educational resources to help them learn about the local culture, language and daily life. Even if it means you invite them to the country earlier to provide them with a tour beforehand, it can really benefit them in understanding what they need to look out for. If they experience the life beforehand, they’ll know what to expect.

2. Ensure their goals are manageable

Arriving at a new business can bring a sense of anxiety and stress on the new employee. They’ll want to impress early and make sure that tasks are completed on time which can be good from an employers perspective, but it can be mentally and physically draining for new employee so early on.

Onboarding a new employee, you should outline goals and targets that are achievable based on the candidate’s skills and their current situation of being new to the company.

Having a clear conversation with the employee about what’s expected of them is likely to reduce anxiety and make them confident in achieving the goals. This way, they’ll feel more comfortable about expressing any concerns they have before they start.

3. Make settling in a primary focus

Having an employee that’s struggling to settle in is probably one of the biggest fears for an HR department. If they’re unable to settle in, it can cause serious issues for the business overall. More precisely, with the employee struggling to acclimatise, it’s likely to affect their productivity which can provide a domino effect on the business’ success too.

As an employer, you’re most likely to be the face their most familiar with in the business so it’s important that you do your part in offering support and help for them to settle in. There are steps that you can take to greatly enhance the chances of international employees settling in to the business:

  • Make the arrangements for their UK visa and other relevant documents
  • Offer accommodation options
  • Will the employee need a form of transport?
  • Help with certifying bills and insurances
  • Provide information on local necessities in the area e.g. supermarkets, hairdressers, petrol stations etc.

4. Communication should be key

Let’s face it, if an employee is unable to communicate well they’re very likely to fail in their role. Communication is a necessary skill to have in any form of business in order to succeed. If there are communication issues, they can easily lead to mistakes, misunderstandings and errors.

Not only will international employees be adjusting to a new language but they also need to be familiar with how to operate correctly. Being unable to communicate can affect a team’s morale and ability to function.

Providing workplace language training can go a long way but you need to make sure that you’re patient, because it will take time. Don’t apply too much pressure on your employee to be an effective communicator as they will require help.

Do your bit to communicate with them so it becomes a two-way communication system. Arrange basic language lessons if needed or provide them increased time allowance to complete tasks and processes that can still be manageable.

Bare in mind…

Remember that there is a fine line between being helpful and being patronising to the new employee. To help international employees feel more comfortable, involve them in discussions and allow them a space to express any issues they might have. By gaining feedback, you’ll be able to provide a better onboarding process for the employee and they’re more likely to transition more comfortably.

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