Within the current recruitment and job-seeking landscape, the competition for talent is tougher than ever. A top recruit agreed to work at your company, and with the current global battle to attract such talent, ensuring a seamless onboarding process rules out any second thoughts.

So, after you’ve verified your candidate’s identity and credentials, offered the job, and the contract is signed, the work continues. From the job offer through to the new employee’s productive contribution it’s important to facilitate their professional and social integration. For this to be a smooth transition, ensuring minimal loss of talent and a great first impression, creating an effective onboarding process for international employees is crucial.

Not only is the job acceptance a big decision for an employee, but it also requires an ‘encyclopedic’ onboarding process; relocation, verifying their credentials, culture shock, new colleagues and a lifestyle change to name a few. Having an efficient process in place contributes to a prosperous employer branding strategy. If an employee has a bad onboarding experience, they are much more likely to share their dissatisfaction with their network.  

The process itself works both ways, but to encourage a long-lasting and healthy relationship with your new international hire, make sure not to overlook the significant steps that contribute to keeping them content in their decision to join your company. Being one step ahead at all times will support your new employee throughout the onboarding process, and into a high level of company commitment and furthermore, performance momentum.

Fortify Your Onboarding Process

Creating an Effective Onboarding Process for International Hires

The information you provide a new international hire should be coherent, informative and valuable. Doing so ensures that you address any questions or concerns the employee may have. Give them more than just the necessary corporate information. Go the extra mile and anticipate what your new hire may need prior to them knowing they needed it. One of the best ways to gather these resources or information is to ask recent international hires about what they wish they knew before they had joined.

Find out about any gaps in the existing process, or whether they have any recommendations for their new colleague. Gathering professional and personal feedback encourages iterations of your current framework, which contributes to the success of an effective and up-to-date onboarding process. 

Immigration Communication

At this stage of the process, get as much paperwork processed as soon as possible. Expediting the administrative side of things allows your employees to focus on preparing themselves for their new career adventure. If you’ve onboarded someone from the same country before, highlight previous process touchpoints with your new hire so as to avoid any ambiguity about the status of paperwork. 

Government websites often give a detailed breakdown of regulation timeframes for hires to be registered by or as well as a list of all necessary documents. With this information, you can easily tell them about expected protocols, policies and timelines to help overcome any bureaucratic hurdles. Having a great global hiring strategy means a new hire can acclimatise sooner, and get started on their new role. 

Steps, Tips & Guides

Creating an Effective Onboarding Process for International Hires

Due to the current pandemic, a new international hire may be moving to a new country without stepping foot into their company space. A lack of physical office structure or colleagues nearby to help guide them means that the necessity to bridge this new working condition with consistent communication is more important now than ever.

Compiling a thoughtful resource with tips on local eateries, transportation, setting up a bank account, social & recreational amenities, workplace dress codes, and HR initiatives will reflect the company’s outlook toward their most valuable asset: their employees. Being able to understand and navigate this new environment, before they’ve even arrived, will make the transition easier for them.

Why not take a step further and link them to cultural podcasts about your location or Youtube videos that give you guided tours of the area. This is a wonderful opportunity to think outside the box and to which other employees can contribute ideas. Get creative with your resources. This is paramount. The more engaging, the better. 

Once they have arrived, don’t underestimate the value of a step-by-step guide. A new international employee will be dealing with an overwhelming amount of new information, potentially in a secondary language, so a guide (in their native language) could be useful ‘hand-holding’ for them that they can refer to until they feel comfortable in their new environment. Bearing in mind that it may not be for every employee, covering all bases means that you can hand out valuable resources, regardless of where they’re coming from. 

Make It A Team Effort

Bringing someone new into your organisation affects your whole team. Think of this situation in terms of bringing a new person into an established friend group. Give your new recruit a list of relevant team members that they can reach out to, or better yet, set up a meeting between the new employee and other key players and let them all introduce themselves. With the decline in in-person meetings, it’s important to humanise the names of their colleagues through video calls.

Add your new team member to your relevant communication channels such as Slack, where you can do a mass introduction to the rest of your team. Here, you can make them feel welcome and encourage fun or quirky fact-sharing. This gives the colleagues a better idea of who they’re going to be working with and some common ground between them instead of just ‘Karen, from accounts’. 

It’s crucial that your new hire feels appreciated and seen. When meeting other employees digitally, particularly in the midst of a pandemic, asking these kinds of questions allows the new hire to establish an emotional connection with their colleagues. Introduce your new employee to other employees who may have recently been onboarded so that they can discuss each other’s experiences and know that they’re in the same boat together. Again, it’s a sort of ‘hand-holding’ but it’s guaranteed to help with an engaging transition into a new company, and location.

Conduct Routine Check-Ins

Creating an Effective Onboarding Process for International Hires

Initiate engagement. Be on-hand for any questions or queries a new hire may have. Take note of these questions, because if one new hire asks it, the next new hire may do the same. Don’t allow a question to become an FAQ. Instead, include the answer and the question in your onboarding resources. For some, this could be an anxiety-inducing time, so introducing face-to-face meetings (virtually, if needed) over email can help your employee adapt to their new job and environment and alleviate any uncertainties. 

If you happen to be unavailable for this routine communication, make sure that a colleague will be on-hand to answer their questions expeditiously, and share their contact details with your international employee in advance. Give an employee the room to communicate and provide feedback regularly by facilitating check-ins, in person, on the phone or via video call. Taking action after these meetings will benefit you both as you can find out what is working and make adjustments to your onboarding process. As they feel more at ease in their new surroundings, you can gauge whether to increase or decrease the time they may need to communicate with you. 

Set Expectations With The Line Manager

During the process, the last thing you need is for the employee’s tasks or responsibilities to take a hit in terms of productivity. Whether in-office or working remotely, make sure the new recruit’s line manager provides information regarding tasks, tools and timelines. Slotting in frequent one-on-one time with their direct line manager is very important for boundary-setting, and for beginning a positive and transparent working relationship. 

When you set-up an onboarding plan for a new employee, share it with them and include a training schedule which they can follow between the introduction calls and meetings with their new colleagues. A structured schedule provides rhythm and a routine. By setting task and role expectations, both the new employee and their line manager will be reading from the same page. 

Social Integration 

Creating an Effective Onboarding Process for International Hires

Loneliness is a key reason why expats leave their jobs and return to their native country. According to Expat Insider 2019 Business Edition, 45% of expats bemoan the lack of socialising opportunities. While it’s very important to address the practical needs of a new international hire, facilitating the personal need for socialising opportunities in a foreign country, is just as important for long-term employee retention. 

Being alone or lonely in a foreign place, outside of working hours, is not an attractive incentive to stay somewhere new. It’s crucial that HR addresses social and cultural assimilation before the international employee moves over, and that this support is extended beyond the first few weeks or months. 

A successful onboarding experience will ensure that your new employees are well-informed, comfortable and happy. Gauge this success by how well they have socially, professionally and practically integrated into their new company as a direct result of your efficient, effective and engaging onboarding process. 

To learn more about how you can source talent from a huge pre-verified global talent pool of candidates and mitigate risk while recruiting from overseas, visit our dedicated Business Partners’ area or request your free 7-day trial of TrueProfile.io Recruiting.