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Employee onboarding in international subsidiaries: 8 steps for success

Onboarding is a critical process for every company, especially when it comes to international subsidiaries. It is the process of integrating new employees into the company’s culture, values, and operations. It is not just about orientation or training, but it is a comprehensive program designed to help new employees understand their role, the company’s expectations, and how they can contribute to the success of the organization. In this article, we will delve into the importance of employee onboarding in international subsidiaries and provide a step-by-step guide to best practices.

Why Employee Onboarding is Critical to Success

Employee onboarding is a critical component of a company’s success. A well-structured onboarding process helps new employees feel welcomed and supported, and provides them with the tools and resources they need to be successful in their new role. This, in turn, leads to increased motivation, engagement, and performance.

Studies have shown that employees who go through a structured onboarding process are more likely to stay with the company longer and be more productive. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, new employees who go through a comprehensive onboarding process are 58% more likely to be with the company after three years compared to those who did not go through a structured onboarding process.

Moreover, employee onboarding helps new employees understand the company’s culture, values, and expectations. This understanding helps them fit into the company’s culture and work effectively with their colleagues. In turn, this helps to create a positive work environment, which can lead to increased productivity, better employee morale, and improved customer satisfaction.

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Challenges of Onboarding Employees in Subsidiaries Abroad

Onboarding employees in subsidiaries abroad comes with a unique set of challenges that can make the process more difficult than onboarding employees in the domestic organization. Here are some of the challenges:

employee onboarding

Onboarding is a critical process for any company, especially for international subsidiaries.

  1. Cultural Differences: The cultural differences between the home country and the subsidiary can pose a challenge for onboarding. The subsidiary’s culture may be vastly different from the home country, making it difficult for the employee to adjust and integrate into the new environment.
  2. Language Barrier: The language barrier can also make onboarding difficult. The employee may struggle to communicate effectively with colleagues, making it difficult to understand the company’s expectations and goals.
  3. Legal Compliance: Compliance with local laws and regulations can be complex, especially for an employee who is not familiar with the legal system of the host country. It is critical to ensure that the employee is aware of the local labor laws and regulations.
  4. Time Zone Differences: Subsidiaries abroad may operate in different time zones, making it difficult to communicate and coordinate with colleagues in the home country.
  5. Different Work Ethics: The subsidiary may have different work ethics, which may not align with the home country’s values. It is essential to ensure that the employee is aware of the different work ethics and is comfortable with them.

Optimizing the Onboarding Process

To optimize the onboarding process in international subsidiaries, companies should consider the following steps:

1. Prepare Before the Employee Starts: Before a new employee starts, companies should gather all the necessary information and materials they need to conduct a comprehensive onboarding process. This includes job descriptions, company culture and values, and relevant policies and procedures.

2. Assign a Mentor or Buddy: Assigning a mentor or buddy to new employees can help them feel supported and connected from the start. The mentor or buddy should be someone who has been with the company for a while and can answer questions and provide guidance on navigating the company’s culture and operations. Consider assigning a Mentor from the Headquarters for key positions.

3. Provide Training about the corporate culture: Understanding the corporate culture is essential for new employees in international subsidiaries. This training should provide an understanding of the company culture, and help new employees adapt to their new surroundings.

4: Ensure Compliance with Local Laws and Regulations. The company should ensure that the employee is aware of the local labor laws and regulations. It is critical to comply with local laws and regulations to avoid legal issues.

5. Reduce Language Barriers: Even in a globalized world, not everybody is comfortable with training content in English. Make an effort to present the content in the local language.

6. Use Technology: Technology can play a critical role in the onboarding process for international subsidiaries. Virtual onboarding platforms and video conferencing tools can help connect new employees with their team and provide access to the resources and information they need.

7. Regular Check-Ins: Regular check-ins with new employees can help identify any challenges they are facing and provide support where needed. This can help ensure that they are successfully integrating into the company and performing their role effectively.

8. Continuous Improvement: Companies should regularly review and assess their onboarding process in international subsidiaries to identify areas for improvement. This can help ensure that the process remains relevant and effective in supporting new employees as they start their journey with the company.

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Onboarding employees in subsidiaries abroad can be challenging, but with the right approach, it can be a successful and rewarding process. By following the best practices outlined in this article, companies can ensure that their employees are well prepared, integrated, and productive in their new roles.

It is critical to remember that onboarding is an ongoing process, and the company should continue to provide support and guidance to the employee even after the initial onboarding period. Regular communication and monitoring of progress can help identify any issues or concerns and address them promptly.

Overall, onboarding employees in subsidiaries abroad requires careful planning, open communication, and a commitment to cross-cultural understanding. By adopting these best practices, companies can help their employees succeed in their new roles, contribute to the organization’s success, and thrive in their new environment.