Best Practices

Efficient Onboarding of International Employees: Create Your Localization Plan

Building a cultural fit when onboarding international employees, engaging your colleagues around the world is a two-way street. That’s one thing many of us forget when we’re onboarding international employees.
Gabriel Fairman
2 min

One big problem I’ve noticed with company processes of onboarding international employees is that, often, the onboarding managers focus too narrowly. They concentrate on training the employee to work within the company’s various workflow management systems and platforms but overlook the more important part of integrating and streamlining the comprehensive onboarding process. In other words, they forget to acclimate the employee to the organization’s overall culture.Simple things, like how an employee can fill out a request for time off or where they can see the terms of their employment contract, are just as important as training them to use workflow systems. How easily a new employee can look up crucial information about their job and their company is going to make a big impact on their overall comfort with the organization. Comfortable, confident employees are productive employees. That’s why you need to see the system through their eyes to develop an employee onboarding program that’s intuitive, interactive, and effective.

Building a Cultural Fit When Onboarding International Employees

Engaging your colleagues around the world is a two-way street. That’s one thing many of us forget when we’re onboarding international employees. We push them through the process like we’re working on an assembly line, concentrating only on completing a series of checks in our learning management system (LMS). However, what gets lost in translation is the culture of our environment—which bears on how employees will represent the company globally.To fully integrate a new employee into an international organizational culture, managers need a strategic plan based on the target region and the employees who live in it. You need to look at your content and then at the employee and ask:

  • What’s the employee’s primary language?
  • What’s their comfort level with English? Are they sufficient enough to follow most training in English, or is personalization needed?
  • Do you have learning materials where language won’t be a concern, such as image-driven infographics or other multimedia?
  • What value would your translated content have to international employees? Typically, content that furthers the culture of the organization is vital for all, but many job-specific pieces of media may be able to go on the back burner.
  • Are there specific regional concerns for training? If you have a specific market where employees struggle, it may be wise to focus on localization efforts for that area.

During international onboarding, your employees learn as much about you as you do about them. Take advantage of those opportunities to create a more inclusive environment. That inclusivity breeds retention that will pay dividends in the future.

Preparing Your Learning Models for Localization

While every company is different, the models they use to train new employees are relatively similar. Depending on which model you choose to use, you’re going to have to adjust your elearning localization strategy to work with it.

Learning Management System (LMS)

The LMS is a traditional, straightforward approach to onboarding that’s very convenient for companies as it can typically connect to the human resources information system (HRIS). An LMS makes it easy for learning managers to get an at-a-glance look at where employees are in the training process, what information is still outstanding, and how they’re transitioning into the organization overall.Proper vetting of the system is crucial from the get-go; if it doesn’t support the language you need, you’ll be dead in the water. Even if it does, the integration may not be straightforward. Ideally, the program will default to the language set in the employee region or profile. That supports the rapid automation needed to create a simple, programmable routine that works for all new hires.Essentially, you want a program that considers the user experience based on all your locales, not just the English-speaking ones. If your employee must hunt around an English site to find the translated content they need, they’ll find the onboarding process frustrating, and productivity will suffer. The translation must be a primary factor in ensuring a good LMS experience.

Learning Experience Platform (LXP)

The LXP is a newer, more dynamic employee-driven program for maintaining onboarding. In this case, the user will have access to a library of content that employers can organize into playlists for new hires. The employer’s content control is limited as it’s created and cataloged by the provider.Vetting the actual available languages of these platforms is crucial to ensure good international employee training. A platform provider may allege that they have content in 10 languages, but when you investigate, you find that most content is focused on only one or two more-commonly spoken options. For example, they may have ten videos on developing soft management skills, but only one of those videos is designed for a Hindi or Punjabi audience—with the brunt of foreign language content focused on Spanish or French speakers.Ideally, your LXP will offer enough content that it can default to the language of the viewer based on their IP address or user profile. That way, you get a good look at exactly what is available to them upfront and can create playlists specific to your market.

What You Need for eLearning Localization

Whether you’re looking at an LMS or LXP for onboarding international employees, you need to consider two factors: configurability and integration. You want the system to adjust itself for the viewer automatically so your workers don’t have to hunt down content in their language. You also want something that works smoothly with your existing program. That helps your user become part of your overall organization, rather than a siloed entity. With the effective management of these two factors, you can create an onboarding program that’s inclusive for all the new hires in your organization.Bureau Workscan help you create more inclusive onboarding of international employees with our top-notchelearning localization. For more details on how we can streamline the new hire process in any market,contact our team.

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