Expats Need as Much Support as We Can Give

Office workers talking: What Expats Really Need From HR

August is the time when many expats are arriving. NIMMERSION has been helping expats settle in Sweden for over 20 years and we continue to be impressed by expats each and every day. They are brave and intelligent people. They risk everything in their home country to move to Sweden for their career. The culture gap between Sweden and their home country is often very large. This can cause unique challenges in addition the the usual ones for new hires.

What does expat support mean?

For new hires to give their best to their host company, it is crucial that they have the full support of their HR department. What does “full support” mean?

Here are our thoughts on what type of “full support” expats really need..

  1. An organized transfer. Being organized saves time, money, and also increases the success rate of your expat. “With so much at risk, global human resource managers can use the high failure rates to support investing in upfront and ongoing programs that will make international assignments successful. Selecting the right person, preparing the expat and the family, measuring the employee’s performance from afar, and repatriating the individual at the end of an assignment require a well-planned, well-managed program. Knowing what to expect from start to finish as well as having some tools to work with can help minimize the risk.” All of this must be done on a timely basis and this means planning a timeline in advance so that all of the puzzle pieces can fit together as planned.
  2. A mentor on each side of the move Expats need mentors on both sides of the assignment. It is important that they are properly educated on the country they are going to. They should be informed of the specifics of their new job, as well as what their new lifestyle will be like. This works best when done in advance of the move. We believe that once and expat arrives, they should also have ongoing support to answer any questions they have about office culture, general career advice, and be educated about fun things to do and getting around in Sweden. This greatly helps them to stay positive and informed.
  3. Time and resources to find a home that is within scope of their co-workers with similar experience. As you know, Sweden is in a housing crisis. We know this but the new hires are not always clued in on what this means to them regarding the housing search logistics and the type of home they will be able to rent or buy. They often arrive with only days to find a home and this can cause stress and overwhelm for all parties involved. You can learn more about housing in Stockholm from our Housing Guide and this blog post: 
  4. Cultural readiness training so they can give their new job the best possible outcome. At Boeing, they use a mix of a variety of approaches to teach their employees about the culture they are moving to from online modules to afternoon seminars, to one-on-one training. All these exposures help their employees to become more culturally aware. We use online courses, support groups, newsletters and short films as useful ways to teach expats about Sweden.
  5. A community for ongoing support is also helpful. Who doesn’t love sharing inspiration and struggles and also helping others who are just a few steps behind in the process. We find support from other expats is very helpful. Often your new hire is one of few foreigners and a network of other newbies to Sweden is a welcome reprieve.

  

NIMMERSION offers lots of services but we are excited to add cultural readiness education for new hires living in Sweden to the mix. This platform is called Professional Inspiration. We are combining this with a supportive community to help expats stay inspired and give their very best to their new position.

We put together a fun and convenient course that will help expats assimilate in Sweden.  It’s called Professional Inspiration. While this course doesn’t answer company specific things on where to find the coffee, or how the credit card policy works, it will give expats insights to how to act in the Swedish workplace and it can create a great start rather than friction with colleagues and not least things for HR to deal with. In addition, we aim to provide a community for expats where they will get lots of advice and encouragement from us and other expats on how to excel in their job and make the most of this exciting time in their life. This is a Facebook group called Successful Expats in Sweden. We will be in this group every day offering suggestions and answering questions so that our expats get the best new start they can possibly receive from their recent move to Sweden.

 If you would like to talk to your expat about helpful things they should know about the Swedes, this article might be helpful.

Wishing you a wonderful last few days of summer!

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