When US workers are offered the chance to work remotely, nearly 90% take it! Despite the “new normal” kicking in, the pandemic’s shift in working habits is sticking around.
Some have pointed out an unexpected side effect of this change in working culture. If your workers are remote, why hire them locally? Especially as some governments introduce remote work as a legal right, this may become the next phenomenon.
Instead, take advantage of the international talent pool that’s becoming more accessible. Everything from recruitment to employee onboarding can now happen remotely, as long as their role can.
But onboarding international employees brings its own set of challenges.
It’s not just remote recruitment, it’s international employment. That means languages, cultures, time zones, and currencies all have to be addressed. And it may be your company’s first time facing these issues.
With the right setup and management procedures, you can make it a success. Your international employees can become an invaluable asset in our ever-increasingly digital world.
To that end, we’ve rounded up seven onboarding tips for international recruitment. Read on for how to make your international hiring a success.
1. Use a Digital Onboarding Program
Using a digital onboarding program makes the onboarding process as standardized as possible. Wherever new employees are working from, they’ll go through the exact same online process.
Using a digital program also allows your company to gather important metrics. As the whole process happens online, businesses can gather data over time to improve it.
2. Prioritize Real-Time Communication
That being said, not everything can be digital. If your new employees never meet others in the company, they’ll feel disconnected. That eventually triggers a loss of motivation.
This must go beyond the initial remote recruitment process of video call interviews. While the onboarding program may be digital, real-time communication should still be happening.
A system of scheduled calls with management or a more relaxed “when it’s needed” policy can both be effective. Either way, employees must still receive enough “face time” with their bosses to feel included and accountable.
3. Schedule Virtual Social Interaction
Maintaining company culture when staff is spread around the globe can be a challenge. Tackle this problem from the outset. Schedule social calls within the company even during the onboarding process.
As soon as a new hire joins, they should virtually meet those within their team. Schedule structured social interaction that allows them to get to know their colleagues. This is an essential step in building trust and collaborative culture within international teams.
At the office, employees also get to meet people outside of their teams. Casual conversation can quickly evolve into cross-silo communication.
Therefore, new hires shouldn’t just meet their needed points of contact. During the onboarding process, implement social calls with others in the company, too. Give them the opportunity to build working relationships with those in other departments.
While it may feel stilted at first, management’s enthusiasm can help these meetings feel natural. Over time, this helps to build a good working relationship between in-house and remote workers.
4. Set Company-Wide Policies
For onboarding international employees to be a success, your company needs to be fair. Employees should have the same expectations and opportunities regardless of where they work.
The best way to ensure this consistency is to put it in writing. Set companywide policies around everything from HR procedures to payment arrangements. That way, all receive fair treatment.
5. Provide International Tool and Resource Access
In a similar vein, all employees need to have access to the same tools and resources, regardless of their location. Those in a similar role can’t be expected to work to the same standard if not given the same advantages.
To do this, digitalize company resources and documentation. Then make sure that all have equal access to it. And in the onboarding process, clearly communicate how to access these resources.
6. Set Technology Protocols and Expectations
Companies have less control over the technology that remote staff use. Less control over technology means less control over security.
To ensure the safety of the company’s data, set an international standard. Global employees must clearly understand the criteria their hardware and software must meet.
7. Research the Country
Each country has a different working culture. For your new hires to last, it’s best to accommodate their country’s working culture as much as possible.
However, we already established that company policies should be globalized. How then can they allow for different cultures and working styles?
The best way is for your policies to be relaxed in the first place. That way, workers have more freedom to use their own working style.
Clear communication also makes expectations clear from the beginning.
For example, in Italy, it’s a widespread practice to take the month of August off. So if you were hiring remote employees in that country, you’d have to make it clear in the interview stages whether this can or cannot be accommodated.
Do your research and clarify expectations before the onboarding process even starts. This helps to minimize misunderstandings.
Involve the Employee Onboarding Experts
Global employee onboarding isn’t an insurmountable challenge. With the right procedures and policies in place, you can make it as smooth as local recruitment.
You don’t have to start on your own. At Bradford Jacobs, we specialize in international recruitment and global expansion. As a PEO, we also help companies transition into new markets by handling the lengthy legal processes ourselves.
Speak to us today to see how we can get your international employment program started. We’ll take you through all the steps, and customize our services to your business’s exact needs.