Immigrants in the Workplace: 5 Strategies for Employers

Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 11:35AM

Foreign born workers can bring a wealth of insights and benefits to your workplace. Diversity among your employees can lead to better problem-solving strategies, unique perspectives, and more community awareness. Did you know there are things you can do as an employer to make the workplace more conducive to your employees’ success? Today, we will be discussing five helpful strategies you can put into place as an employer.

Foster communication

Communication is a vital part of any workplace—but good, clear communication is especially important when working with foreign born employees. While your new hires are every bit as competent as native born ones, they may require special attention when it comes to communicating ideas, office memos, or important in house news. 

For example— “touching base,” “pushing the envelope” or “thinking outside the box” are all common US workplace phrases. An employer or coworker will often use these terms (and more) when referring to basic office tasks and assignments. But to a foreign born employee, these phrases may be misinterpreted or missed altogether (and often, new employees will be hesitant to ask for clarification). Be mindful in the language you use and focus on fostering clear communication among all of your employees.

As an employer, you will also want to follow up and ensure that important messages reach your employees. If an advancement opportunity comes up or an important assignment needs attention, don’t assume that all of your employees received and understood the message with ease.

Be understanding

A little patience and understanding goes a long way! Focus on creating an open, understanding relationship with your new employees—they will appreciate the show of support and are likely to integrate themselves into the office environment in much less time.

Invest in employee training

If you are welcoming foreign born employees into your workplace, you may want to use this time to invest in employee training that will allow everyone to get on the same page. Training in specialized areas—customer service, diversity, etc.—can be hugely helpful for both native and foreign born employees.

Be open to new perspectives

Employees who are immigrants are likely to offer new, unique perspectives on common office problems—which is a huge advantage! When working with your new employees, be sure to open yourself up to new perspectives and viewpoints. While you may be accustomed to a certain routine, know that your new employees likely have their own (sometimes more efficient) way of doing things, so don’t be closed off to new approaches. After all, it’s diversity in the workplace that can open up your business to bigger and better successes.

Lend a hand

Finally, always be willing to lend a hand to employees who may need more attention or training in certain areas. Processes you take for granted—customer service calls, office emails, etc.—may be challenging to foreign born employees who aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of the US workplace. Understand that, and always offer help when you can.

Immigrants can present new, creative solutions to common problems and can be hugely positive additions to any workplace. Consider the above strategies when working with your new employees.



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