9 Tips for Onboarding New International Employees

 The process of onboarding an employee seems like a straightforward undertaking to many, however things become a little more complicated when welcoming a new employee from abroad.

Luckily, there are steps that Human Resource professionals can implement to improve their onboarding program that meet the needs of a newly recruited expat. A successful onboarding program can help to lessen the social tensions and cultural shock for the employee and his or her family, it can also help save considerable costs by ensuring roles, responsibilities and goals are clearly in place.

Consider the following tips in designing an onboarding program that can accommodate both domestic and international employees:

  1. Clearly present the role and responsibilities of the position long before offering a position. Misrepresenting these can be disheartening to a new employee.
  2. Create a balanced itinerary for the employees first day. Be sure to include both informal and formal meetings, social activities, administrative processes and job training. Setting aside the appropriate time to address these tasks will help make your new employee feel wanted.
  3. Address any issues outside of work and clearly point out how your company can assist. This can include outlining benefits options, providing resources for life beyond the office, offering opinions on finding a new school, doctor or gym, and taking the opportunity to extend your support outside of the office.
  4. Have all relevant paperwork ready. Remember, different paperwork may be required for an international recruit. Be sure to explain any differences between the US administration process and what they may be used to back home.
  5. Introducing the new employee to their colleagues and provide staff members with the opportunity to interact. Consider pairing your new employee with a mentor or buddy. It may be beneficial to find some common background between the two, i.e. pairing international recruits with other fellow countrymen in the workplace or employees that speak the same language. Hosting a luncheon to introduce the new employee or putting together a new employee bio can make things a little less formal at their arrival.
  6. While setting up their workstation may seem less important, having a fully stocked desk and the necessary software and email access set-up before their arrival can make a new employee feel more welcome.
  7. The onboarding process is not limited to the first day, be sure to follow-up weekly or bi-weekly during the first 30 days, and schedule the appropriate reviews throughout the year to ensure your new employee is meeting the goals and expectations of the position. This is also a great opportunity to check-in with the employee and see how they are adapting to life in a new city or country.
  8. Family inclusion can also be beneficial throughout employee onboarding. Take in consideration the needs of a relocated family and see how you can provide assistance.
  9. Let the employee know that you and other staff are available to answer questions-even if they’re not directly work related. Much of the stress felt during an international move is dealing with a magnitude of small differences and unfamiliarity with their surroundings.

By following these tips and implementing a few of your own, your newly recruited expat will feel right home, even when home may be thousands of miles away.