Attracting and managing international employees can pose challenges for both experienced and novice managers. Before hiring foreign employees, make sure that you understand the legal requirements between the U.S. and the country your employees are working in. Once you get the paperwork out of the way, you can focus on becoming an effective leader.
Develop a Mentoring Program
Ask your current employees to reach out to your foreign employees to share their experience and act as mentors. This is best way of easing the pains of starting a new job in a new country. Business monitoring has many benefits as it provides coaching, knowledge transfer, and sharing. According to a report by Forrester Research, it also allows your company to build leadership, grow your talent pool, and reduce turnover.
Over 70% of Fortune 500 companies have their own mentoring programs. It’s time you have one as well. One of the biggest benefits of having a mentoring program for foreign employees is that it allows them to adapt to both the company and American culture.
Offer Attractive Relocation Benefits
Potential employees who are considering relocating to a new country have to consider their needs not just yours. Some of their concerns include the climate, family-friendly neighborhoods, and the local school district. These are just some of the most important factors for most employees to consider relocating to another company.
These factors are amplified with the increasing distance between the employee’s current location and the new place of employment. These uncertainties should be addressed as soon as possible. Your company should offer immigration perks and relocation benefits when seeking international employees.
Offer Administrative Assistance
There is a lot of red tape involved for international employees to get hired. Some of the required paperwork that’s involved is Social Security documentation, benefits, and work visas. The paperwork can prevent most employees from making the move to the U.S. Some are turned off by the thought of going through the process on their own. Offering to simplify the process with administrative assistance or a program such as snap immigration is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Making this easier for your employees will, in turn, benefit the company both short and long term.
Build Strong Communication Skills
Strong communication is important for managing foreign employees. You should write clear and simple e-mails and memos when communicating with your international employees. If you don’t speak their native language, clarity is important in your message. Avoid using cliches, idioms or slang that may not translate well.
Keep in mind that communication may take a bit longer. It’s important to practice patience when communicating with your foreign employees and getting to know them. If they work from their native land, it could take time to get a response. Make sure your e-mails are clear on your objectives and goals.
Establish Flow of Communication
You want to continue to establish that flow of communication. If there’s a pressing question on an upcoming project with a demanding deadline, you may be in bed while your employees are in the office. Hire someone who can provide some authority and clarity when you’re away from the office.
Your employees can communicate with this individual, and CC you in the e-mail. By the time you return to the office, send a response even if the concern has been addressed. This ensures everyone that you’re aware of the issue.
Embrace Cultural Differences
It’s important to respect the cultural differences of your international employees. There are major cultural differences between the U.S. and other countries. Some work cultures are more relaxed than others. On the flip side, there are some work cultures that are stricter.
Let your foreign employees know if there’s a deadline on an upcoming project. If there’s a timeline, tell them as soon as possible. Clarity is important when it comes to communicating with your foreign employees. You may have to explain the difference between the deadline and the timeline.
It’s also important to learn about the culture you’re working with. The more you know about their culture, the more your communication will improve. This can also reduce problems that can contribute to unhappy clients or slow business.