After going through the PERM advertising process to sponsor a foreign national employee, it is important that employers and managers work hard to make their new worker feel valued and welcome.
After all, the permanent labor certification ads process is complex and investing the time and energy to obtain an immigrant employee for a position, you want to be sure that they enjoy what they are doing and will want to stick around. Essentially, after running a successful immigration ads campaign, employers want to be sure that their hard work pays off.
With that in mind, here are seven handy tips that employer, human resource workers, and managers can use to ensure that a new immigrant employee feels respected, welcome and comfortable in their new environment.
1. Be Clear About Expectations
When sponsoring a foreign national employee or welcoming them into your workplace, it is important to be absolutely clear about what is expected of them. Keep in mind that they are operating from a place of different cultural expectations, and what might seem obvious to an American employee may not be standard practice in another country.
Complete clarity is the best way to prevent confusion and misunderstanding. Take the time to fully explain how everything works and exactly what is normally expected of an employee in their position. It is very possible that an employer may have to spend a bit more time to really lay things out during the onboarding process then they would with an American hire.
2. Make Yourself Approachable
Adapting to a whole new workplace culture can often feel overwhelming and confusing, so it is important that any new foreign national employee knows that they can approach authority figures. It is very important that they never feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask anything. It is much better than an employee feels comfortable coming forward and asking for clarity rather than proceeding to do something the wrong way because they are afraid to ask.
The first thing to do is for employers and managers to explicitly make it clear that the new employee can come to talk to them if they need. It is also important that they appear approachable, open and relaxed so that they are able to build trust and respect.
3. Help Ease the Transition
If at all possible, try to avoid bombarding a new foreign national worker with too much new information within a short period of time. Keep in mind that adapting to an entirely different culture already takes tons of energy and effort, and they are likely to become overwhelmed if they are given too much to take on too quickly.
Be sure to execute the onboarding process slowly and in concrete steps so that they get the sense that they are advancing and learning rather. This helps ensure that a new international employee never ends up feeling overwhelmed or frustrated during their first few weeks on a job. A bad experience can easily shape how somebody comes to feel about their work for years after, while a smooth transition will help to improve morale and overall productivity.
4. Make an Effort to Incorporate Valued Cultural Practices
One of the best ways to help a new foreign national employee feel welcome and comfortable is to help assure them that their culture is respected and valued.
Whenever possible, teaming this new employee up with other workers of a similar cultural background will go a long way to help them feel a sense of commandery and belonging.
Be sure to make them feel welcome to engage in cultural practices that are important to them. It helps to do a little research beforehand to understand exactly what type of traditions and practices are valued in their particular cultural background and go out of the way to make them feel welcome.
For example, an employer or manager could order in a catered lunch with traditional food from their country of origin, or join them in celebrating a valued tradition. These thoughtful gestures will go a long way in terms of gaining the trust and respect of the new employee.
5. Work to Be Accommodating
It is important that employers avoid expecting that a foreign national employee becomes totally adapted to American culture overnight. Give them some leeway with language imperfections and avoid the urge to correct everything they say, especially in the weeks immediately following their arrival. Understand that there are many cultural nuances that Americans take for granted, and these things can sometimes just take time to catch on.
Adopting an overly critical stance can leave an immigrant employee feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, and this, in turn, can negatively affect the overall quality of their work. It is better to adopt a sympathetic stance and try not to sweat the small things.
6. Show Appreciation
It is not easy to be a foreign national employee adapting to an entirely new culture, and maybe all the while having to communicate regularly in a relatively unfamiliar second language. Acknowledging when a new foreign national employee successful overcomes many of these difficult hurdles will help them build confidence and reassure them that they can overcome these difficulties to successfully adapt to American culture.
Taking the time to notice and point out when they nail the proper pronunciation of a difficult word that they have been struggling with or nail down a standard workplace procedure, for example, will help boost their overall sense of morale and well-being all while making it clear that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
7. Plan Fun Outings Outside of Work
Another smart way for employers or managers to help a new foreign national feel a sense of belonging is to plan after work outings. This could be anything from lunchtime potluck picnics to heading out to a ball game or a fun neighborhood bar together.
This will give everybody an opportunity to get to know an international employee on a deeper level, as will allow the new worker to share some of their culture and values with others as well. After all, it is always a major stress reliever to get out of the office and partake in an enjoyable activity together without having to worry about the usual workplace rhythm.