You hired a great person from overseas and now they’re making the move to the U.S. Whether or not you are offering any formal relocation assistance, there are a lot of ways that your company can support them through their upcoming relocation. This is a good way to start building a relationship with your new employee. Your PERM advertising services worked and now it’s all about retention. Don’t let this precious window of opportunity slip away. Now is a great chance to start showing your employee how much you mean to them. They are embarking on a big move, possibly with family members, all to take a role at your company. It’s a big deal. Your company can step in with support and encouragement so they feel confident about their upcoming move.
Here are a few ways that your company can help a new employee with relocation.
Covering Costs Associated with Moving
If possible, your company should offer to cover some of the costs associated with moving. Smaller companies may not be able to handle airfare for the entire family and months of hotels while they look for a house. However, it’s critical that companies make some kind of offer during this stage. This shows your employee what to expect from your company going forward. If it feels like a big investment, just remember that this person was chosen out of the other applicants in response to your PERM advertising in New York. You want them to feel happy with their move and satisfied with their new team.
At minimum, your company could cover moving supplies and the cost of shipping a few boxes per person. A week’s worth of meals once they land is a nice gesture, or even stocking their fridge with their favorite foods. If you expect them to hit the ground running immediately after their move, think about what they will need to feel comfortable.
Connect Them with Help Setting Up Services
One of the biggest differences between countries is how utilities work. In some places, utilities are handled at the national level. But there are just so many different ways that a new hire might be used to getting heat, water, and electricity in their house. On their first week in the U.S., you don’t want them to feel incompetent just because they can’t figure out the American method of getting the lights turned on.
If your HR department has the capacity, they should spend time helping your new hire set up their utilities in advance of their arrival. This way, your new employee will arrive to a space that’s already set up and functioning. This is especially important if your employee will continue to work from home, remotely, for the foreseeable future. If that’s not possible, then at least have someone on your team reach out to offer assistance with phone calls and understanding new terminology.
Assign Them a Buddy
Moving to a new country can be nerve-wracking, but this is especially true if they won’t be coming into a physical office anytime soon. The PERM ads in New York may have described exactly what you were looking for in an employee. But it probably didn’t say anything about the employees or the person’s future colleagues.
Now is the perfect time to intentionally connect your current employees with your new hire. There’s no water cooler to gather around, and it’s not likely that anyone can take your new employee out to lunch to get to know them. Instead, be very thoughtful and assign them a buddy from within their new team. This person should have a similar personality to your new hire. Ideally, they should live in the same city and have the capacity to answer questions and support the new employee in their first month as they adapt to life in the U.S.
Adapting to a New Time Zone
Remember that they are adapting to a new time zone. The more grace you can show to your new employee during this phase of adaptation, the more loyal they will be to your company in the future. Keep the bar reasonably low and allow them to settle in comfortably.
It’s unreasonable, and unrealistic, to expect someone who just crossed six time zones to wake up refreshed and ready for work after a single day. If you used PERM advertising services in New York, it’s possible that you’re welcoming someone from as far away as India or China. Can you imagine making a move to a foreign country tomorrow and then showing up in top form to a new job on the following day?
Sleep deprivation is real, and it’s compounded by anxiety about being in a new country with new food and a new soundscape. Be gracious and don’t expect top performance from your new hire for at least the first month. You will definitely be paid back in the long-run.
Recommendations for Local Spots
Ask your team to put together a casual list of recommendations for local spots. If you have a distributed team, see if anyone currently lives in the city where your new hire is moving. This list could include coffee shops, libraries, favorite parks, and other important resources. For instance, everyone needs a great mechanic and a great barber. It’s a courteous gesture to provide a list of these services as a sort of welcome gift for your new hire.
If you don’t have the time for this, simply order a local gift basket with items from local providers. You could do a grocery delivery and order local bread, farm fresh jam, and a bottle of wine from a local winery to welcome them home.
A little effort in this stage goes a long way, so don’t be afraid to put your human capital to work even if you’re not offering much financial support.