15 things a company can do to ensure that international employees quickly feel at home in the Netherlands
The economy is growing and talent is becoming scarcer. Many companies attract talented employees from abroad, which also helps them in communicating with foreign clients. But how do you ensure that they quickly feel at home in the Netherlands? As Htel Serviced Apartments is an expert in the field of employee housing for 15 years, we’ve gathered some tips!
The right match
It actually starts in the preliminary phase: it is important that you examine whether a potential employee has not only the right capacities, but also whether he or she fits the company. This increases the chance that they continue to work with you.
- Assistance on arrival
Assistance on arrival in the Netherlands is also important, for example in the area of residence and work permits, insurance and taxes. By assisting international employees, they are deprived of tension, allowing them to fully focus on their work.
- The right housing solution
Serviced Apartments are a good solution for a short or extended stay or as a temporary home for international employees when waiting for their new home to be available. For Htel Serviced Apartments it started out in 2003 when our first client noticed that his employees were getting less productive as they were staying in small hotel rooms with Western meals for weeks at a time. The situation was working on the nerves of the employees as well. By offering fully furnished apartments with more space and the ability to cook, Htel offers international employees a home away from home.
- Living environment
For a large proportion of international employees, their choice is determined by an interesting living environment. This varies from entertainment venues to international schools, and from childcare to healthcare facilities. Facilitating education and childcare by employers is very much appreciated. They often also prefer to stay in an environment where many like-minded people live.
If several international employees start at your company on the same day, it’s a good idea to organize a joint introduction in which more is told about the history, culture, structure, the various departments and the working methods of the company. In this way you make them feel they are involved with the company from day one. It also gives them a chance to meet some of their new colleagues in advance.
- New collegues
Expats moving abroad have to adapt to the culture of their new country of residence. As a company you can also make some small contributions that will make them feel more welcome. For example, encourage staff to speak English at the coffee machine. This will make it a lot easier for international employees to get in touch with their new colleagues.
The canteen is a perfect place to celebrate the diversity of cultures within a company. For example, establish an Asian corner or create a changing weekly menu that allows you to take into account different eating habits. It can also be simpler: place microwave ovens so that people can heat their own dishes.
- Their story
Organize an event where international employees can tell their story. For example, the Dutch high-tech company ASML annually organizes Diversity in the Park. People are proud of their culture and are happy to tell about it. Such an event can increase mutual understanding between employees.
- Cultural differences
Spread knowledge about cultural differences within the organization – and of course embrace these differences – to ensure a pleasant cooperation and mutual understanding. For example, in many cultures people are less likely to say what is on their minds, but that does not mean that they do not communicate. We sometimes do not recognize the information they give.
- Vivad expat communities
Vivid expat communities exist in large cities such as Amsterdam and Eindhoven. Inform international employees of their existence so that they can come into contact with like-minded people in their free time. Practice shows that these contacts are also very valuable for partners of international employees.
- Language barrier
Listen carefully and remember that the language that international workers speak can be their second or even third language. So think about what they really mean and think about how you formulate something before you say it. Accept that they have their opinion, just as you have yours. Cultural differences play a major role in this.
Thousands of international employees have already merged into Dutch society and have also created their own communities. Do you, for example, welcome new Indian employees in your company shortly? Give them tips about good restaurants or Indian stores near their homes. Or maybe there is a popular cricket club in the neighbourhood? By being part of a sports team they can feel at home more quickly.
It is very important that the partner of your international employee also feels at home. Support your employees by discussing the possibilities for finding work for their partner. If the family can’t ground in the Netherlands, for example due to a lack of support, they will be more inclined to leave our country.
- Places of worship
It is important that there is space for the profession of faith. Inform international employees upon arrival about the possibilities within the company itself and places of worship in the neighbourhood. In Amsterdam you can find Protestant churches, Christian churches, mosques and synagogues.
Many international employees experience a lack of information provision in the field of healthcare. Health issues are unpleasant at the best of times, and the experience can be even worse when living abroad and dealing with unfamiliar procedures. In Amsterdam The Amstelland Hospital has developed dedicated support for the Indian, Japanese and Jewish communities.
Like to know more about Htel Serviced Apartments? You can find our story here.