Strategies for Immigrant Inclusion in the
Workplace

Strategies for Immigrant Inclusion in the Workplace
Photo Source: Provided by the author

Diversity is one of the most essential aspects of every business. Regardless of your niche or goals, you have to be diverse and inclusive at the same time. Inclusion is a practice that takes you in the right direction. 

Inclusion is a process that ensures participation and involves everyone in the team. On the other hand, diversity means a range of identities, backgrounds, and experiences people bring to the team.

As most companies are experiencing a shortage of labor all over the world, they want to utilize refugees as a workforce. Bringing refugee employees to the company involves more than routine effort. You have to adopt a unique approach to design an inclusive workplace culture. However, it has many benefits in the long run. 

Advantages of Diversity and Inclusion

Many studies reflect that a diverse workforce promotes innovation, productivity, and quality decision-making. More importantly, business diverse teams generate nearly 20 percent more revenue as compared to companies that do not have a diverse environment. 

How does diversity impact the revenues? Well, it enhances innovation and brings new thoughts and perspectives to the discussion. When you get ideas from people with different backgrounds, you can design strategies, goals, and address a wide range of audiences. Moreover, diversity brings additional insights into new consumer demographics. 

Immigrant Inclusion in the Workplace

Immigrants have different knowledge and experience as compared to an average American employee. Depending on the culture and traditions, every region has a different approach to solving the same problem. With more immigrants in the team, you get better solutions to your problems. Ultimately, it allows you to be more dynamic, insightful, and creative in the decision-making process. 

Fortunately, many businesses are playing their role in offering opportunities to immigrants. However, you need to understand inclusivity to yield better results. With a mix of immigrant and local employees, you can create a dynamic and strong workforce. But, you have to take certain steps to create a communicative environment that gives positive outcomes for the business and its employees as well. 

When you fail to invite and accommodate people from different backgrounds, you are stopping them to work at their full potential. Now, you probably that what’s effective inclusion? Well, here are a few steps:

Develop an Effective Onboarding Process

Designing an onboarding strategy is essential to involve new employees. Carleton University published a study that highlights the difficulties of immigrants. Most immigrant workers complain about unwritten office rules and difficulty understanding arbitrary. Moreover, they do not share hurdles in adapting to the new job environment as they want to demonstrate their worth. 

So, you need to provide a written manual about workplace rules, company culture, and other stuff to new employees. Taking it one step ahead, you can offer a mentor to each new employee who guides about company norms and business values. 

When your employees are clear about their job responsibilities and have someone to discuss their issues, they can adjust to the workplace quickly. Ultimately, they will be able to work at their maximum potential. 

Promote Socialization at the Workplace

Most likely, you don’t want to encourage a culture where people waste most of their time talking about unnecessary stuff. However, you have to establish an environment where new and current employees can communicate freely. Invite new employees to a dinner where they can socialize and interact with current employees. They usually have a few immigration-related questions where current employees can help them. Ultimately, it will create a bonding between them. 

In addition, you may want to host social events that encourage cultural exchange. For instance, you can honor holidays that are important to your immigrant employees while allowing other workers as well to celebrate them. It allows people to communicate about their cultures and tradition. 

When you show respect, acknowledge, and learn about their cultures, they become more comfortable in your company. 

Language is a Skill

Language is not a barrier but a skill. When it comes to immigrant workers, people often use the term “language barrier.” However, you should never frame your employee’s first language as a bad thing. In its place, you should find ways to convey essential terms in their first language. Use a translation resource or host a training session to improve their English language skills. 

On the other hand, you should take the first step by learning a few essential terms in your worker’s first language. With this thing, you show their importance to the company. Moreover, it shows that you truly accept diversity in the business. 

Provide Cultural Guidance

The shift in work culture is one of the major hurdles for immigrant workers. Each country has a different corporate hierarchy, way of collaboration, work hours, and more. Many immigrant workers find it difficult to adjust to their new homes. 

In modern work environments, it is important to guide your workforce about the workplace culture. Moreover, you should guide them about the skills and knowledge they should seek to progress in the right direction. In the end, professional success is attached to how you communicate in meetings and projects. 

Now, this step is essential for every new employee regardless they are an immigrant worker or not. Introduce everyone to your workplace culture. Communicate your approach, value, and process to handle a situation. To get the best results, it is always better to convey the company’s culture and set expectations. 

Every company has a different path to promotion. During the cultural guidance, you must convey the path clearly. It helps in employee retention and encourages them to work hard to get to the top of the ladder. 

The Bottom Line

The method of inclusion shows whether you are serious about diversity in your company or not. Welcome, inform, and support new immigrant workers to make them feel worthy of the company. As a result, you will have better employee retention and talented employees. 

Implementing a reliable inclusion strategy should be your top priority. If you do not have a strategy in place, this is high time to make a move and advance your company to higher levels with a diverse workforce. 

Richard Herman

Richard Herman is a nationally renowned immigration lawyer, author, and activist.  He has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration.  He is the founder of the Herman Legal Group, an immigration law firm launched in 1995 and recognized in U.S. World News & Report’s “Best Law Firms in America.”  He is the co-author of the acclaimed book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).  Richard’s poignant commentary has been sought out by many national media outlets, including TheNew York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Forbes, FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor), National Public Radio, Inc., National Lawyers Weekly, PC World, Computerworld, CIO, TechCrunch, Washington Times, San Francisco Chronicle and InformationWeek.


The content published on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.


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