So, you’re thinking about hiring international employees. Congrats! Recruiting talent outside your country borders has numerous benefits. It lets you widen your talent pool, minimize skill gaps, diversify your corporate culture, and come up with fresh business ideas.
However, hiring and managing international staff comes with numerous complexities. According to the 2016 research study by CEMS, almost half of businesses struggle to find the right international candidates.
So, what the major pitfalls of recruiting foreign employees are and how to avoid them?
Let’s find out!
Understand Local Ethical and Legal Regulations
When hiring overseas employees, familiarize yourself with the international employment regulations. For example, an at-will employment relationship in the U.S. law means that both an employer and an employee can immediately terminate the employment relationship without any previous warnings.
In some foreign countries, such regulations don’t exist. So, before you even send an employment contract to a future employee, check whether their country demands just cause to terminate employment relationships and what the criteria for the termination are.
The same goes for Paid Time Off (PTO). In the U.S., these regulations don’t differentiate personal days, sick days, or vacation days. On the other hand, in some foreign countries, legal entitlements for these types of employee accommodations are clearly separated.
Precisely because of that, you should always consult a local accountant, legal advisor, and HR specialist that will help you understand local regulations and implement them effortlessly into your hiring strategy.
Overcoming Communication Barriers
According to the CEMS survey mentioned above, 16% of HRs defined language and communication barriers as one of the major challenges when recruiting global talent. Precisely because of that, communication skills should be one of your determining factors when deciding whether to hire an international employee or not.
Helping your international employees overcome their language barriers should be your main priority. For starters, invest in resources and language classes for them to master their language skills and meet the requirements for their job position. For example, by providing PTE classes for your employees, you will help them improve each segment of their language skills, from speaking to writing. There is a bunch of alternative basic English, corporate English, and academic English courses like IELTS or OAT that may also work for them.
Most importantly, each of the tests mentioned above can also serve as proof of a candidate’s language proficiency. This way, you can choose classes that will allow them to improve their language skills at the pace that suits them.
Understand the Culture of your International Employees
Living abroad is an exciting experience that gives foreign employees an amazing opportunity to meet new people and explore new cultures, ways of living, and worldviews. However, it’s not easy. If not prepared properly, your employees may soon start feeling lost.
This phenomenon is called culture shock and, unsurprisingly, it is common among international employees. It’s important to understand that culture shock is not something that happens overnight. It takes time to develop.
An employee usually goes through four different stages of culture shock:
- Honeymoon– when everything seems perfect
- Frustration– when it’s difficult for an employee to adapt to the new culture and customs
- Adjustment– when an international employee starts feeling more positive about their new surroundings and begins to accept it
- Acceptance– they accept the fact that they don’t need to know everything about their new country right from the start. An employee already has some basic understanding of how things work and starts fitting in.
Employee culture shock is normal. The only problem with it is that, if their new managers or colleagues don’t understand them, many international employees will give up and return to their homes. For your company, this means wasted recruitment, training, and relocation investments.
That is why you need to take culture shock seriously and help your new employee overcome it.
One of the causes of culture shock is recruiting an employee without preparing them for their working environment, as well as not making sure whether their personality traits match the local lifestyle.
So, before getting them to relocate, prepare your candidates properly. Send them a bunch of resources that will help understand what’s expected of them once they move.
In a recent article on Juice, Leila Dorari emphasizes that employers should hire the best candidates to work remotely before moving. This is a great way to get to know them better and determine whether they’re the right choice for your organization. You can even consider inviting a candidate to visit your country before they move.
Also, just implementing your existing strategies to international employee management won’t be enough. Instead, you need to understand the culture an employee comes from, consider the potential cultural variations, and make the adjustments needed.
Start with your human resource policies, tailoring them to reflect the cultural profile of your international staff. Consider factors that may influence your employee motivation, performance, satisfaction and loyalty that vary across different cultures.
Additionally, keep in mind that some other aspects of employee management, such as conflict resolution, collaboration, and giving/providing feedback also differ across countries and will probably have a great impact on foreign employee satisfaction.
Over to You
Just because hiring international talent seems daunting doesn’t mean you should give up. Hiring foreign employees will help you make unique teams team, bridge skill gaps, and revamp your corporate culture.
You just need to find the right way to implement these processes into your recruiting strategy.
Start by doing thorough research, learn more about local employment regulations and adjust your business model according to them.
Next, provide your employees with language resources and classes to help them overcome language barriers and thrive in their new workplace.
Finally, let them feel welcome and help them overcome culture shock efficiently.
This is the only way to attract the right international talent and retain them.
How do you hire international employees?