10 tips to help integrate a foreign worker

The success of hiring and retaining a foreign worker depends on a variety of factors, and properly integrating the worker into their new environment is paramount.

Filed under :

Foreign worker, Integration

Employers invest a lot of time and energy searching for and hiring candidates. However, too few adequately prepare for the new member’s arrival to their team.

According to the CRHA, the new employee’s first contact with his physical and human working environment is very important, whether this employee is from Canada or abroad. In fact, this experience “conditions” their relationship with the company. This first meeting is an opportunity to inform the worker about the company’s history, its values, customers, the services offered, the co-workers and the desired behaviours.

For a foreign worker, this step is even more important because the person must also acclimatize to a new country and a new culture.

Job Alliance’s international recruiting experts have identified 10 key behaviours to
better integrate a foreign worker.

  1. Design an orientation plan that covers the new worker’s first few months of work. Be sure to involve your team and stagger training and integration activities over several weeks to avoid information overload.
  2. As soon as possible, provide the new employee’s arrival date and first day on the job.
  3. Prepare your existing team of employees well in order to facilitate the first conversations between them and the newcomer. Feel free to share their new colleague’s history, professional experiences, a little about their family, age, job title, as well as some information about their country of origin. Lastly, explain to the existing workers the reasons that led to hiring a foreign worker in order to defuse potential fears.
  4. Facilitate access to all the important information about the company and the job by putting it into a folder or a binder. You can also print a directory with photos and names of the entire work team, specifying their roles and responsibilities. As the newcomer will not yet be familiar with everyone on a first-name basis, this will give them a way to contact a co-worker if needed.
  5. Create a schedule for the new employee’s first day (e.g., 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – office visit, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – meet with immediate supervisor, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. – presentation of the company’s policies and procedures, etc.)
  6. Organize a formal presentation meeting. Both the immediate supervisor and key employees should have one-to-one time with the new worker. Take this opportunity to clarify the position’s duties, responsibilities, schedule, tools, work methods and other expectations, and to validate the worker’s understanding. If the latter is not yet fluent in the local language, be sure to use simple, unambiguous vocabulary. The supervisor or other team members should spend their lunch times eating with the employee, at least for a few days. Also consider organizing an informal evening event for the new employee.
  7. Prepare the new employee’s workplace with some local products and even invite your current employees and the newcomer to organize a meal with the flavours of their respective countries, so that everyone can discover their culture. Why not!
  8. Make sure to provide feedback in the late afternoon. This discussion will check that the tasks meet their expectations and that they feel at ease. Encourage the new employee to ask for clarification on anything that might be unclear to them.
  9. Get your employees involved through mentoring or coaching programs. This will be very rewarding for existing employees, and will also be a positive experience for the newcomer. Some companies even create a diversity committee, whose mission is to facilitate the newcomer integration process by intervening in certain situations, in addition to becoming informed and putting best practices into place in terms of foreign worker integration.
  10. It is also imperative to equip the newcomer’s immediate supervisor so that they are able to adapt their management style to the newcomer’s unique needs. To help these managers embrace the challenges ahead, you can involve them in the hiring process. It will also make them more responsible for the success of the newcomer’s integration.

In summary, it is important to remember that successful hiring and retention of a foreign worker strongly depends on the quality of their integration, both at work and in their environment. The employer’s role in this regard is crucial and involves two main axes: creating an inclusive environment, and providing the right training and support at work. By implementing the necessary resources, you significantly improve your chances for a successful and satisfying hire for all parties.

Do you need help planning and putting these integration measures into place? We can help you! Contact us!

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Filed under :

Foreign worker, Integration