How Well Do You Look After Your Expats?

March 31, 2022 by Melinda Meszaros

A white beach
Image credit: Hugh Whyte via Unsplash
Reaching beyond the legal and professional needs, we have to understand that when people arrive from different corners of the world to work with us, their mind and body may need things that are unusual and unexpected to us.

Once I had a colleague from the Caribbean. She came to the Netherlands to join our team and the first few months went really well. She was an amazing person with creative ideas and a cheerful attitude. However, after the first few months her smile started to fade, and her productivity dropped gradually. She started complaining about stomach aches and low energy. In a few weeks time she needed to take sick leave.

We were all worried because at first glance there was no obvious reason for her complaints. Luckily, after quite some research (and the right medical specialist) we learnt that she has a well-treatable condition caused by a vitamin D deficiency. In other words: she got sick due to the sudden change in the amount of sunshine that she was exposed to. The Netherlands is not the Caribbean and bringing people from one end of the world to the other is never straightforward.

Our cultural competency guides us in our multicultural and international relationships and strategies. This also includes how we and our organisation look after expats and international partners. Reaching beyond the legal and professional needs, we have to understand that when people arrive to from different corners of the world to work with us, their mind and body may need things that are unusual and unexpected to us.

Of course, we will not be prepared for all scenarios, but giving expats (or any kind of international partners) that extra bit of attention can make a huge difference. An excellent starting point is to keep in mind the biggest differences they face, both culturally and practically. It will make the people feel honestly appreciated, and we can create together in a healthier and more productive way.

Next up: Understanding (Cultural) Diversity & Inclusion - Your Vocabulary for Success

Previously: Diversity & Inclusion Like We Mean It