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Monday, September 25, 2023

How to Help Your Expat Workers Feel at Home


Hybrid work models have introduced a new workplace dynamics. For some businesses, it means local employees may work remotely. For others, outsourcing and attaining talent from abroad is more preferable.

New opportunities have presented themselves for employees, as well. Namely, remote work fits perfectly with digital nomadism, which is a dream come true for an increasing number of people.

However, it is important to note that expats need to observe more things than local remote employees, so here are some tips on what businesses should offer and how they can help.

Ensure They File the Right Paperwork 

Obtaining paperwork is always stressful even in the time of digitalization. For expats, there’s no saying which document may be needed in the future, so the issue is on a whole different level.

As for businesses hiring expats, they should keep in mind that tax deadlines may be different for them. That is to say, look into different contract types and benefits to help expats fit in.

In most cases, U.S. expats need to observe the following:

  1.     Taxes of the country they’re residing in
  2.     U.S. state taxes
  3.     U.S. federal taxes

However, there are several ways to prevent double taxation, including tax treaties, so don’t dismiss the possibility of your expat employees running their own businesses abroad. Be prepared for any scenario and have appropriate paperwork handy.

Give Then a Welcome Kit

Company swag (“Stuff We All Get”) is a good way to welcome new hires and show appreciation to everyone.

In case of expats, the gifts need to reach them, so expensive packages are not recommended (except for special occasions).

Luckily, it’s the gesture that counts not the actual choice of present, so you may sent, say, fun employee swag bags to greet new expat employees.

Make Sure They Receive the Proper Training and Continued Learning  

Much has been said about the importance of training and continual learning but there’s always something new to learn about the topic.

Because new tech is developing at a rapid speed, eLearning is following suit. Just look into hybrid learning to discover new approaches and trends.

However, top-notch training programs go without saying, but what about the desired outcomes?

Simply put: is your business measuring and comparing results?

This is actually more important than actual training as people have different learning routines and approaches. Since learning outcomes are directly linked to employee productivity and job performance, it is crucial to compare different training methodologies and select the ones that render the best results.

Obviously, large businesses don’t have the choice: they need to provide success models as personalizing materials for each hire takes too much time and resources.

Therefore, it is recommended to change the learning culture across the board. To achieve this, managers need to be educated first. It is no rocket science that when tasks aren’t being communicated clearly, results can’t be satisfactory.

Next on, the training environment needs to meet learners’ demands.

Finally, businesses should rely on employee feedback and best practices to create engaging training materials. Only when these three factors are combined will an organization truly empower workforce development.

Keep Them Engaged

Truly effective employee engagement is a never-ending effort affected by a myriad of factors. Organizational culture, digitalization, team-building activities, and workshops, are only pieces of a puzzle.

One piece that often gets overlooked is burnout. Contrary to popular belief, insisting on insane schedules to get a project done faster is never productive.

Rather than exposing your employees to stress, help them avoid burnout.

Note the word “avoid”; it’s different from “handle.”

Optimally, certain practices need to be deployed to ensure that burnout never happens, no matter how hectic the task.

Resolution to the most complicated of issues starts with small steps, and burnout isn’t an exception.

For starters, making the office space enjoyable (paint the walls in pastel colors, bring some office plants, let fresh air and light in, provide healthy snacks, etc.) won’t go far in satisfying expat workers. Since they’re not present at the premises, they need to ensure their own little work haven.

However, educating them about best practices is the least a business can do.

Next on, encourage regular breaks and healthy meals. Don’t pressure employees to be glued to the screen all the time. Expat workers have the freedom to work from whenever they want, so let them enjoy lunch breaks at their favorite spot.

Finally, organize activities focused on employee wellbeing. For this step, employee feedback will give you the idea. Hybrid and online meet-ups are one tip to get you started.

Provide Cross-Cultural Training

Expats are, as a rule, used to working with people from different countries and all walks of life and can fit in more easily than office workers. However, hybrid work models not everyone is working remotely.

Cross-cultural training programs have proven to be a step in the right direction in this regard. Optimally, they should be incorporated with onboarding materials so that new hires can hop in seamlessly.

Basically, these materials deal with efficient communication but, for it to be efficient, businesses need to establish good communication channels in advance.

Assign a Mentor to New Expat Workers

Assigning a mentor to new hires is not a new approach, but it does need to be adapted to suit remote employees.

Connecting new hires with an experienced colleague (optimally from a different team) online is different from the regular practice. Since the first goal of assigning a mentor is to help new hires integrate faster (this translates to networking and meeting as many colleagues as possible early on), hybrid meet-ups may be in order.

Also, the typical practice of a 90-day mentor program may need to be revised, so keep an open mind.

Expat Workers Are on the Rise

Expat workers are already common but digital nomadism is predicted to step up. If you haven’t set up standard procedures for onboarding, communication, networking, and mentoring, it’s high time you started ASAP.

Finally, keep in mind that people are different, so brush up on organizational personalization techniques. Setting up an anonymous feedback system is the cherry on top.


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