Learning & Development

4 Tips for Effectively Onboarding New Immigrant Employees

Yesterday’s post covered information that you need to know about immigrants in the U.S. workforce right now. Today’s post will cover what you need to know when onboarding immigrants at your own organization.


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Especially if you work for an internationally based organization, an organization that’s in an industry where many immigrants already work, or an organization that wants to increase diversity among its employees by hiring immigrants, you will want to consider the information below.
Here’s what you need to do when onboarding new employees who are immigrants.

1. Verify U.S. Federal Government Requirements

Before officially making a job offer to a new employee who is an immigrant, verify current information and forms on the U.S. Immigration and Services website. On the website, you’ll see a new employee guidance kit, a final checklist of required documents, and other helpful resources to make sure you are compliant with all federal mandates and requirements.

2. Facilitate an Inclusive Yet Culturally Sensitive Environment

It’s important to remember that every single immigrant employee has an individual story that he or she may or may not want to talk about. Some immigrant employees might be refugees fleeing violence or war, while others are far away from their family and customs and culture and so on.
So, as you’re sharing your employee welcome packets with them, introducing them to their coworkers, and setting workplace expectations for them, make sure that you are being inclusive yet culturally sensitive and aware. Avoid using slang and referring to stereotypes, and always respect each person’s personal space and privacy about his or her personal life outside of work.
Additionally, be careful not to take common U.S. workplace customs and norms for granted. For instance, employees in Japan may not be reprimanded or ostracized for taking naps at work, and in France, you can refuse to check your e-mail outside of office hours.

3. Use a Buddy System

Workplace buddies can help new immigrant employees adapt to their new workplace environments much easier. They can show a new employee around, take breaks with him or her, and answer any questions about workplace etiquette and language, as well as welcome the newcomer to participate in projects and other workplace activities with other coworkers.

4. Set Clear Expectations and Offer Feedback

Above all else, make sure your new immigrant employees are very clear about what is expected of them while they’re at work. Don’t simply hand them a welcome packet during their onboarding and then expect them to understand right away what is expected of them every day.
Make sure they fully understand what tasks they are responsible for, and offer regular feedback (whether it’s requested or not) regarding their performance and any questions they may have about their job roles. This means that onboarding can last several months if it’s to be effective—just as it should for all other employees, as well.
As you onboard new immigrant employees, be sure to do the things mentioned above if you want their onboarding to be successful and yield more lasting results.
Learn how to apply design thinking principles to your onboarding approach, when you attend the session, “Onboarding in B Flat: How to Apply Design Thinking to Build a World-Class Onboarding Program, Improve Customer Experience, and Reduce Turnover,” at TalentCon 2019 on March 12—13, 2019, in San Antonio, Texas. Click here to learn more or to register today!