Onboarding should be an essential part of your immigration program—here’s why
A thoughtful onboarding experience creates happy, productive employees—the dream for any organization. For companies that sponsor foreign talent, fostering trust with them in those first few months is especially critical. Foreign talent is an investment in your workforce, and going the extra mile to ensure that employees are well-settled can help retain talent for the long-term.
Here are the do’s and don’ts of an onboarding experience that will impress foreign talent
DO: Create a robust process that covers all the bases.
The information provided to new hires should go beyond a basic overview of company policies and employee benefits. Take the extra step and build out content that showcases the company culture as well as workplace expectations that may not be clear to a newcomer, such as dress codes, work schedules and other HR initiatives like lunch and learns or special committees to boost engagement.
Gather quotes from employees about what they like the most about their workplace or have them provide live testimonials about their experience. Doing so can help relieve any uncertainty a new hire might feel about their decision and gives them a chance to meet new colleagues from different departments during their first few days.
DON’T: Fail to include the rest of the organization in the onboarding experience.
Onboarding is not just a job for HR. The rest of the organization should be actively involved in making a new employee feel at home. Take the time to introduce new hires to key personnel in each department, and encourage open communication within their own team.
If your organization already has a number of sponsored employees, their input on the process can be invaluable. Ask them to identify gaps in the current framework that would be helpful during the onboarding process, and if they’re willing to provide any kind of mentoring to new hires in their first few weeks of employment.
DO: Start early.
An onboarding program should begin as soon as a foreign national accepts a job offer. Reach out early to handle any immigration paperwork needed so your employees can focus on preparing to start a new job. Technology can play a huge role in streamlining this process. For organizations that offer green card sponsorship, it’s important to make the policy and the process clear to new hires as soon as possible to avoid any kind of confusion or uneasiness. Explain any policies regarding waiting periods and payback stipulations, and be willing to answer questions expeditiously.
DON’T: Forget to check in regularly.
New hires may have questions about benefits or other aspects of their job and not know who to reach out to. Make it easy for employees to express concerns or ask questions by setting up periodic check-ins with HR during their first few months of employment. These meetings are also the perfect opportunity to collect feedback about what’s working and what isn’t in the onboarding process and make adjustments as needed.
DO: Go beyond workplace training and help employees with assimilation.
Starting a new job is scary enough. Being in an entirely new country—likely with few familiar faces—can heighten anxieties for foreign employees. Lunch-and-learns and online tutorials are great ways to help foreign nationals navigate day-to-day nuances of living in a new country, such as setting up bank accounts or navigating the school system. In addition, make sure employees are aware of and feel empowered to reach out about immigration-related perks such as language and cultural training.
DON’T: Take a one size fits all approach to onboarding.
Every new hire is unique, and the onboarding experience should reflect that. Personalization can happen as early as the offer letter. Although general benefits packages should be identical for employees with the same qualifications and roles, you can still work with your foreign national employee to develop a customized immigration perk package that meets their needs and is right for the organization’s budget. Furthermore, make sure you and the new hire’s manager are available and willing to answer questions about his or her role, team or immigration status at every step of the way.
If you're interested in learning even more about effective onboarding, check out our upcoming webinar, Creating a Stellar Onboarding Experience For Foreign National Employees. We'll cover everything you need to know about onboarding foreign nationals from start to finish!
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ian Love, who is a Managing Attorney at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy's affiliated law firm.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-retained attorney or another qualified professional.