HR managers are facing a challenge on a global scale. In a recent study conducted by CEMS, a leading authority in management education, it was discovered that nearly half of HR managers struggle to recruit international talent.

For business owners reading, alarm bells are probably ringing already.

Procurement of international talent is essential for many companies worldwide. Foreign employees offer a range of benefits unattainable in the domestic job market, such as filling skill gaps and enhancing offshore trade.

Without international talent, businesses can struggle, but of course, there are also immediate costs to consider.

International recruitment processes are expensive. It is estimated that it costs £30k to replace a staff member, a price that is significantly increased when scaled from domestic to global.

In the study conducted by CEMS, the HR staff involved outlined their biggest problems when recruiting foreign workers. By preparing and preemptively acting on these major issues, we can work to avoid them.

  1. 48% of HRs were concerned with a candidate's ability to settle in
Here’s a concerning scenario.

You find the right employee — one that offers the benefits you need and has the skills to do the job — you go through the entire recruitment process, you relocate them to your office and they start work. Then, they are gone.

It’s a worry affecting nearly half of all HRs in the global recruitment industry.

Settling in can be difficult for anyone, even when moving domestically. On an international scale, it can prove far more difficult.

It isn’t just the big things that cause problems, but everyday challenges, too, like sorting insurances, finding a home and schools, meeting people and adjusting to a different pace.

As an employer, you may feel these personal matters are not in your jurisdiction. But, if you want to secure a long-term employee, you really should consider becoming more involved.

As the employer, you may be a recruit’s only link to a community during their transitional phase. Therefore, supporting them in this period could make all the difference.

Get involved in their relocation and subsequent adjustment stage as possible. Help them solve the small problems and the big. Become the support column they can lean on during this time, until they’ve found their feet.

A practical way of doing this is to provide an HR representative who will manage their transitionary process. Being able to communicate problems with a person, rather than your business as a whole, is likely to secure the best response from your recruit.

  1. 24% of HRs were concerned about the effects of culture shock
It is all too easy to lump difficulties settling in with culture shock, yet they are very different problems.

Settling in problems stem from an inability to adjust and find belonging in a new area. Culture shock is a severe reaction to international relocation, which can lead to an inability to function on a basic level.

The effects of culture shock can be minimised through preventative and proactive action.

Prior to relocation, offer educational resources to help candidates become acquainted with local culture. It is also recommended that you have prospects visit the country, spending time discovering on a personal level without the stress of starting a new job to contend with at the same time. During this time, area orientation is invaluable.

After relocation, support is important. You should ensure recruits aren’t left to handle problems by themselves. Daily tasks as simple as shopping can be overwhelming when you are unable to navigate them. A friendly support structure of guidance and local knowledge can negate most of the culture shock impact.

  1. 16% of HRs felt that communication barriers stood in the way of effective recruitment
Effective communication is key to success in the workplace.

Without the ability to communicate well with colleagues, clients and management, employees cannot hope to work to the standards required.

Communication, though, is trickier for international employees. You not only have language barriers to deal with, but also workplace culture with different methods of operating.

When it comes to communication, you can face two problems:

  • The employee arrives unprepared for communication with your team and cannot complete their tasks effectively, or;
  • The perfect candidate is put off by the pressures of having to learn complex communication processes.
How do you solve these problems?

Effort from both parties is required. You cannot expect your employee to put in 100% of the work if you want to entice the very best. Likewise, if they want to work for you, they need to show they are willing to put the work in.

Devise an educational process for both your new recruit and your staff — or at least, a member of the HR team. Help both parties understand how to effectively communicate with each other.

While you will expect the employee to adapt to your company's language and communication methods in the long-term, short-term plans should be to create a compromise.

This both stops employees from being unprepared and unable to communicate, taking the pressure off their shoulders as they know you are also putting effort into communication.

By Heather Darby, marketing manager, Momentous Relocation