Hiring International Talent: Key Steps to Take – David Webb

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Recruiting international talent may be the cornerstone of your business’ success in the competitive market. It gives you the opportunity to hire experienced people from all across the globe and bridge skill gaps. By focusing on your employees’ fresh ideas and attitudes instead of their location, you will also boost your business’ performance and build a solid corporate culture.

On the other hand, hiring foreign employees is tricky. In 2016, CEMS conducted a detailed research study and found that over 46% of HR managers struggle to find good global candidates.

So, what are the problems you may face when hiring international talent and how to overcome them?

Stay on Top of Local Legal Regulations

One of the most important steps to take is familiarizing yourself with the international legal and employment regulations. Here are a few things to pay attention to:

  • Employment terminations

For example, in U.S. laws, there is an at-will employment relationship, meaning that either party can terminate the employment relationship immediately. They can do so at any time and without any previous warning.

However, just sending such an employment contract to a foreign candidate is a big mistake, given that this concept doesn’t exist in many countries. In some countries, for example, an employer needs to have a good reason to terminate the employment relationship and this usually excludes things like poor performance.

  • Paid time off

The way paid time off is perceived in different countries also varies. In the U.S. employment law, PTO plans do not distinguish personal days and vacation days from sick days. In other words, an employee gets a certain number of days they can use however they want. Most importantly, the PTO plans in the U.S. usually don’t allow employees to carry forward their unused days.

In many other countries, there is a clear distinction between different types of leaves and employees are given the opportunity to use their untaken days in the following year. So, always consider the different types of leaves available in the target market and see how they work. Analyze what factors determine them and whether they are paid and at what rate?

  • The type of immigration programs

There are numerous types of work visas, such as H-1B non-immigrant visas, Seasonal Agricultural Worker (H2-A) visas, Temporary Non-Agricultural (H-2B) visas, Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visas, Diversity Immigrant Visa Programs, or temporary green cards.

Your goal is to choose the one that meets your needs and, to do so, you need to ask yourself numerous questions. For example, do you want your international employee to become a permanent resident? Maybe you want to only hire them temporarily. What is their job role at your company? Do your international candidates already live in your country or they live overseas?

Help them Overcome Language Barriers

The report study mentioned above emphasizes that one of the major problems related to hiring international employees is language and communication. The lack of language proficiency will make your foreign employees feel less confident. This may further impact their relationship with other staff members, as well as hurt their overall performance.  

That’s why you need to encourage your new employee to overcome language barriers. One of the best ways to do so is to send them to a language course. For example, by providing PTE coaching for your international employees, you will help them improve their speaking and listening skills, as well as reading and writing. Once they prepare properly and gain confidence in their language proficiency, they take the test that assesses their readiness to communicate with the rest of the team and complete their tasks in English.

In some countries tests like PTE are even accepted by the government. In other words, by investing in such courses, you will not only help your global staff adapt easier, but also get their visas faster.

Make Them Feel Welcome

No matter how exciting meeting new friends and cultures is, moving abroad is not easy. There is a common phenomenon that appears among foreign employees and that’s a culture shock. Namely, once the excitement dies down, an employee finds it difficult to adapt and develops the feeling of being lost.

Unfortunately, if their colleagues and employers don’t understand the issues they’re facing, chances are they will ditch the job without even giving it a chance. As employee training programs costs, not being able to retain top talent will heavily affect your bottom line.

Your goal as an employer is to help employees be more positive about their new environment and feel accepted. So, make sure the employee onboarding process is smooth and gradual.

Before hiring them, you need to make sure that they’re the right person for the position. For example, prepare them by sending them lots of materials that would help them understand the country they’re moving to, as well as what exactly is expected from them.

You could even hire them to work remotely at first. Introduce them to the rest of your team and help them understand your corporate culture and see whether they fit in.

Strengthen your HR Policies

When hiring an international employee, you expect them to adopt your culture, language, and customs. However, to keep them happy, you need to understand their background and the culture they’re coming from. Turn the cultural variations to your advantage and create a highly diverse environment that will make everyone feel welcome.

You could start by adapting your HR policies according to their cultural background. Pay attention to all cultural factors that may impact employee productivity, morale, and retention. For example, in the U.S. and Europe, employers emphasize the importance of teamwork and collaboration. In South Asia, on the other hand, they focus more on individual achievements and success. So, if such differences aren’t researched and predicted, they may result in numerous conflicts. Also pay attention to other employee management aspects that can vary greatly across countries, such as conflict resolution or teamwork.

Over to You

Hiring global talent comes with numerous challenges, but this doesn’t mean you avoid it. Instead, help your international employees overcome major language barriers. Help them understand your culture. Provide them with all relevant resources and be open about your expectations. Also, you need to understand them. Learn more about their culture and research legal and employee management regulations and implement them in your recruitment strategy. Only this way will you be able to connect with the right international candidates, get them to accept your offer, and make them feel like they’re a part of your culture.

Is there anything you would like to add? Please, let us know in the comments!