Employing migrant workers

Germany is welcoming migrant workers but what about small employers in the UK?

Legality

Before employing anyone it is important to check their legal status to work in the UK. There is more information here. But there are other considerations:

The ability to communicate in English

Read our blog here

Induction

Those who may have been through some traumatic experiences may need special care. This is not to say supervisors and managers should be counsellors, but to suggest that particular attention to the induction process would be wise.

As well as new tasks and procedures, migrant workers will need to gain a grasp of organisational culture both in the UK and in your organisation.

You might consider a “Welcome Pack” of helpful information (possibly partly in their own language) to which they can refer. The internet, or intranet, may be a great way of providing this as it can be updated easily if new groups are to be welcomed or if there are changes to be made to the “pack” as a result of experience.

You will want them to begin to build relationships within the organisation and beyond the cultural or language group to which they belong so they become members of your organisation while they are at work. This will require some face to face meetings with people that will be important to them in their work. Induction needs to involve their supervisor, who may often be the best person to take responsibility for the induction process, assisted by your guidance.

Another way to welcome employees from another culture is by a buddying system. The employees are buddied with an established employee, whom you trust, in order to assist them in integrating into the work environment.

Don’t neglect, of course, all the other information about which new employees should be informed. There is more detail in our book.

Other members of the workforce

Few of us know much about Syria, Afghanistan or Libya and that will apply to your workforce too. It is possible that, fed by some of our media, that they will face some prejudice.

Our advice is to involve your existing workforce in what you are doing. A staff council is ideal but use your normal communication processes if not. It is often an informed minority that is prejudiced, so information is king.

Remember too that harassment on racial grounds is unlawful and you could find yourself liable for the actions of your employees.

In summary

There will be many judgements on what the UK Government should or should not do in the light of world events. But this blog is written for employers for whom migrant workers may represent an opportunity.

 

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