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Moving home? Well, what about moving home and country?

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Businesses all over the world are struggling to recruit staff, and Social care is no exception to that struggle. So many businesses are struggling and the NHS is in a similar boat. So, what do we all do? We look abroad for staff to help. This is a fantastic idea, as well as part of a solution, but how often do we take the time to think what it is like for those individuals who not only move house, but who have moved country too?
So, in this short blog, I’m going to get you to think about how you as a provider can support those individuals and retain them in your team.

It’s time to step into someone else’s shoes. Imagine why someone may want to move to another country for work. It could be because they want to travel to new countries and explore the world. The reality is for many they need to move abroad for a better lifestyle and to earn more money, which a lot of the time they send a large portion of back home to family. Many leave to go abroad for work and leave loved ones behind, including children. They have no choice.

When considering that, it’s important to see things from the new employee’s perspective and to always consider that when working with them.

Recruiting from abroad isn’t anything new. I can remember supporting adaptation nurses (that’s what the role was called at the time) well over 23 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. The treatment that some of them received from some providers was awful and I’ve heard of cases recently where things have not been much different, even after all these years. This is why its so important to get it right. To get the process of recruitment right, to support your employee with their transition into a new country, and the on-boarding into a new way of working and a new way of life for them.

A great place to start is building rapport. Ultimately, as the sponsor, you are the new member of staff’s first port of call when in the UK, so you need good rapport. They have to be able to feel that they can come and talk to you about anything.

Get to know them. Show an interest. Learn about their likes, dislikes. Their family. Their reason for coming to the UK, their ‘why’. Get to understand their model of the world because I can guarantee you that theirs will be different to yours.

Be clear with the practical stuff. Make it easy for them to understand and let them know that it is okay to ask questions, even if they’ve asked 100 times before! When I say practical stuff, I mean the process of sponsorship. How a visa works, the conditions, the terms of service with regards to employment, how long things take, and what to do if there are questions that need answering.

Then we get to the process of moving to the UK. Are you providing accommodation or do they need to source their own? Are you booking flights or do they need to book their own? What about transport from the airport?

Now that you have your new member of the staff in the country, you understand their ‘why’ and are still building rapport, what do you need to consider next?

Just remember, unless they’ve been here before, the UK is going to be very different to their home country. Smells, sights and sounds. There will be some universal indicators (like traffic lights) but not much more. Their first experience of travelling from the airport is likely to be different due to our driving on the opposite side of the road from many other countries, also we wear seatbelts here in the UK, but many countries still do not.

Here is a list of things that you may want to consider prior to your new employee arriving in the UK:

  • Accommodations – who’s sorting it? They may have family to stay with. If you are arranging it- do you have everything? Furniture, bedding, kitchen equipment? Instructions for the house
  • Who’s sorting out the bills, council tax etc.?
  • What about a welcome pack- some basic food stuffs, some treats and a selection of toiletries.
  • A list of who to call if this and that happens- include emergency services, local authority numbers, support agencies relative to their home country here in the UK, embassy contact details, local taxi numbers.
  • Where are the shops – provide them with a guide to where the shops are and if there any culturally specific ones that are relevant ensure that they know.
  • Support them to register at a GP – this is really important
  • Local faith groups- find out where the local place of worship is that is relevant to the person and whether this is even relevant.
  • Bus and train times- where to catch them and a brief ‘how to’ guide.
  • All the work place stuff- induction, welcome guide, a ‘how to’, training, uniform, shift patterns, rota.
  • If something goes wrong- a number and name they can contact if they need someone to confide in, someone who will support them, and this support may be needed outside of the work place.
  • A UK sim card-they may even need a phone
  • Help them set up a UK bank account
  • Ensure that they have an amount of UK cash – till they have a bank account set up with money available.
  • Allocate them a buddy/mentor- ensure that the person wants the extra responsibility and knows what it entails and also how to do the role.
  • Ensure regular check ins- folk can quickly dip and hide how they feel. Not only is there the adaptions to the whole new way of life, there’s the adaption to being away from loved ones and that’s hard.
  • Do they need any additional clothing initially- it may be that your new employee has come from a warm climate, but we here in the UK have just moved into January and snow is showing its presence.

There’s also a very important part of the process, and something that will play a big part in the success of your company retaining the new staff, and that is that they are accepted by the rest of the team. It’s so very important for the existing team to be on board and for any problems to be dealt with before they arise. You can do this by ensuring the culture of your business is one of acceptance, get your values right and ensuring that everyone is aligning to them and ensure you model them at all times.

Above all else, don’t forget that people are people. They may be coming as a solution to your business problem, but they are just as human as you are.

This post was originally written for Borderless – click here