Working abroad, part 3 – settling in & benefits of a diverse workplace

Beate OeraTalent retention and management

International workforce - working abroad
International work force - working abroad

Part 1 – the Brit abroad
Part 2 – the expat in England

Research shows that diversity helps a company improve performance. Indeed, a report by McKinsey titled Diversity Matters found that ethnically diverse organisations are 35 percent more likely to financially outperform those with low diversity. An international workforce, with diverse backgrounds, bring greater creativity and original thinking, new potentials for increased service offering, not to mention better language skills and understanding of foreign cultures.

Still, working abroad comes with its own challenges, and there are things firms can do to help new ex pat employees settle in:

• Relocating
As Jack demonstrated in part 1, there are numerous challenges when faced with a different legal system, and an unfamiliar environment, especially when English is your second language. Everything from NI numbers to tenancy agreements and employment law is potentially different, and can prove difficult and time-consuming. Assisting your new employee navigate the British system will help them settle in faster and more smoothly.

• Settling in
Finding your feet in a new job takes a bit of time, and especially so when everything feels foreign. Inductions become particularly important here, but it also worth considering life outside of work. Advice on everything from gyms and supermarkets, to nightlife and culture is appreciated when you are in a new city.

• Etiquette
Different cultures have different concepts of politeness and especially of good business etiquette, and some differences are more pronounced than others. English politeness is famous, but not always easy to grasp for foreigners (as Beate found in part 2), and that’s just the language – do’s and don’ts in a business setting varies considerably across the world.

• Humour
A difference in humour is mostly a positive, as it can create many opportunities for bonding (and fun!), but it is perhaps good to keep the more robust aspects of the national humour under wraps until people are more comfortable with each other. What is funny in one country, can be seen as rude in another.