Welcoming a Foreign Employee

How to handle the arrival of a foreign employee? What guidelines should be given to employees before they welcome a foreign colleague? How to avoid a negative impact on the employee's family? While recruiting foreign employees can be a real win-win situation, these questions, among others, need to be addressed before the new recruit arrives. Here are several ground rules to help overcome these challenges:


Laying your cards on the table

"A company has to be very clear and precise in its presentation of the job offer, the country and the company's activities. It's crucial to respect commitments made during a recruitment and not embellish facts." warns Sabine Lauria, head of the MSc International Human Resource Management and Organizational Development and HR Director at Grenoble Ecole de Management.

At stake is the opportunity to avoid losing a disillusioned employee. The integration process is in fact the second event, after the recruitment process, that a new employee must face. Thus it has a significant impact on the employee's impressions and motivations. Three steps are key to successfully navigating this challenge: first, preparing the integration process in advance; second, identifying a person who will be there for the new employee; and finally, organizing regular feedback opportunities.

Recognizing the importance of private life

Managers have to take into account the importance of a foreign employee's personal situation. Being aware of the employee's companion, children or domestic animal is a key factor. "Companies can help an employee's companion find work, offer them training or give information about childcare and school options for the children. The key is to remember that the successful integration of an employee also passes through the successful integration of his or her family." explains Sabine Lauria.

Organizing regular meetings

The first few months are critical to ensure the successful integration of an employee. One good guideline to follow is to organize a meeting with management right after the employee's arrival, followed by meetings with human resources and the employee's new department. It's also important to set up a follow-up meeting after two or three months to answer questions and address any problems. "The first year requires the most attention as this is the time that will make or break the employee's integration." adds Sabine Lauria.

Using an intercultural management approach

Despite globalization and an increase in the flow of goods and people around the world, cultural differences and local customs are still very present. Even international groups are affected by continuing cultural differences that can have an impact on performance. Offering intercultural training management to a department that will be welcoming foreign employees can be a good way to identify problems before they start. This will help everybody understand the cultural differences they will have to negotiate as well as give them tools they can use to ease communication and team work.


Sabine Lauria
00 33 4 76 70 64 42