Foreign Employee’s Needs
When a foreign employee moves to a new country he will have a lot of questions about working and living there. In order for his input to be utilized as effectively and quickly as possible, answering these questions is of paramount importance. So what are some of these needs a foreign employee might have?
First off, the workplace needs to be ready for a new employee. Many companies have had foreigners working for them before, but especially when it comes to the first foreign addition to the team one must pay extra attention. Are the necessary internal memos and instructions available in a language the newcomer understands? Is the team (and the team lead!) aware of potential cultural differences? It is also important to provide the new employee with information and training about Finnish work- and communication culture. It is also important to arrange time for mandatory registrations, so the scheduling and planning of the first week require understanding and flexibility from both the employer and employee.
Home is much more than just a place where to sleep and prepare meals. Some of the most important aspects of a home are to be a place where one can destress and be oneself. Finding a home in a new and strange country can be challenging, especially if the schedule is tight. Before finding one however, it is a vain hope that the employee can give his 100% at work.
If the new employee moves with a spouse or a family, attending to their needs is of vital importance. We have written a whole article about the importance of considering the spouse, which we also recommend you read. In addition to the spouse, paying attention to the needs of the children (for example school and daycare) is something that should be considered very early on. Finding a place in an English language primary school for a foreign employee’s child in Finland is challenging, which might come as a surprise to a lot of parents. If the children’s needs aren’t met the company runs the risk of increased stress and dissatisfaction for the employee, which may lead to a return to their home country.
Free time and every day life
Employer representatives often say that their employees don’t need any help with hobbies or every day matters. When discussing with the employees however, they experience help with these matters as the most necessary. Moving to a new country is exciting, but also frightening. The difficulty and rarity of the Finnish language do not make this move any easier. Following a vegetarian or vegan diet, continuing a beloved sport or hobby, or getting to know the local nightclub scene are just a few things that we have helped foreign employees that have moved to Finland. They are also the things that we have received a ton of thanks from the employees directly.
The needs of foreign employees are always individual, but they have to be recognized and met. When managed properly, they can be leveraged to the employer’s benefit by providing the employee with a feeling that he is a valuable and important part of the organization. You don’t have to provide everything to the newcomer, but if he is left entirely to his own devices you run the risk that he will never be fully committed to the company. A good question to ask therefore is, what is the right way to answer a foreign employee’s needs?