Talent Onboarding Guide for Your New International Hires
Category: Global Talent, Hiring Internationals
Tags: diverse workplace, diversity, global talent, hiring international
Now that you have found the right global talent for your business, it is time to make your foreign employees feel at home. According to Brandon Hall Group, a well-implemented onboarding process would improve the retention rate by 82% and productivity by 70%. For the international worker, not only are they stepping into a new company, but they are also entering a new country. Here are some ways to help them navigate the new working environment.

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding is when a company provides their new employees with training and information to help them adapt to their new position. A successful onboarding program makes sure they understand their role, their employer’s expectations, and the company’s culture.

Benefits of Global Talent Onboarding

Expectation setting

Without communicating clear expectations, your workers would be confused about what their roles and responsibilities are. It is important that each employee understands the company’s goals and values so that they know how they can contribute. A personal development plan should also be set for each employee so that they could challenge themselves in fulfilling different goals and grow as they work in your company.

Compliance with the law

When hiring international employees, most companies have legal concerns such as payroll, taxation and labour laws. It is important to utilise talent onboarding as an educational resource to familiarize employees with the local rules and regulations. A comprehensive onboarding guide should also inform employees of the standard operating procedures of your company. 

Social support system

For first-time workers in Hong Kong, they might not be familiar with the local working culture. With the diversity of Hong Kong, there is no one-fit-all working environment for local businesses. An onboarding process should help international hires in navigating the new environment. It also serves as an opportunity where you welcome your new hire and let them meet their colleagues. 

Steps of a Successful Onboarding Program

Now that you understand the benefits of successful onboarding, let’s talk about ways you could help your international employees get acclimated to your company.

Before arrival

Onboarding begins whenever a hiring decision is made. The key to successful employee engagement is to make them feel welcomed and keep them feeling excited for their new journey. Here are some ways you can kickstart your onboarding process even before they arrive.

  • 1-on-1 Expectation Setting

    Expectations should be done before an international employee arrives at your local office. We want to make sure that they understand their roles and responsibilities before they start their job. For example, the new hire can start learning on their own if the job requires them to learn new software.We should also remind them of some unique cultural features of Hong Kong so that they can prepare themselves. For example, an international might be interested in the working culture in Hong Kong. Is working overtime common in your company? What is the dress code for your company? What time do people go for lunch? These might all be trivial questions but are crucial for first-time workers.


  • Incoming Preparation 

    This is where we tell them about the technical details of living and working in Hong Kong. You might want to prepare an information package for your incoming international employees. Technical information such as Hong Kong COVID measures, taxation, banking details and housing should be addressed so that they could be mentally and financially  prepared for their stay in Hong Kong.


  • COVID Arrangements 

    As required by the HKSAR Government, all inbound travellers must fulfil COVID travel measures before entering Hong Kong. The international has to undergo a nucleic acid test before boarding a flight, to be fully vaccinated and secure a hotel for their mandatory quarantine. It is helpful to provide the international employees with a checklist of items they have to complete before entering Hong Kong.

Upon arrival

It might be the international employee’s first visit to Hong Kong. It is important that we leave a good first impression of the city.

  • Quarantine Engagement

    Living in isolation could be difficult for someone who is just starting to get used to a new life. To cure the boredom, the company could organise some virtual engagement activities, or simply ask the new hire to work on some easy tasks that could be done remotely to get them onboard. It is also a nice gesture to send them some local food and snacks to show your enthusiasm to have them here!

In-house Onboarding

After a long wait, your international employee is finally here in your office! Here are a few things you can consider:


  • First Day Meet and Greet

    Most employers often neglect this as they believe their employees are grown-ups who can just figure things out on their own. Yet, having a warm welcome would encourage someone getting used to a new way of life. Your company could organise a team lunch to show the new employee around and give them some time off work to get to know their colleagues. It would be useful for the international to know where to get the best coffee in town or where to go for happy hour!


  • Feeback and Check-ins

    New hires want to know how they are doing. You can provide feedback and guidance in regular touchpoints. Discuss their adaptation process to unravel some difficulties they could be encountering so that you can answer any questions they may have about their new way of working. 


  • Buddy System

    A little help and support could go a long way. Especially to an employee who is acclimating to a whole new culture. Social interaction is crucial for anyone, let alone international employees who are new to the city. Existing team members could clarify the responsibilities and expectations of the international. This also serves as a good team-building exercise as it builds up momentum and encourages peer feedback.

Onboarding for your Remote Workers

Virtual onboarding could be drastically different from those working physically in an office. Working in an office with your colleagues means you could observe social cues and learn through instant conversations. Although it can be difficult to implement an onboarding process without face-to-face elements, employers must pay attention to your remote workers. You should make space for social chats to check in on everyone to encourage idea sharing.

How can AIESEC HK help you with international talent onboarding?

With a global presence in over 120 countries and territories and 4000+ tertiary institutions worldwide, AIESEC has access to a large pool of distinguished international youth talents. Our international hiring programme helps companies in Hong Kong to expand globally through recruitment and selection, talent onboarding and cultural immersions. Book a meeting with us for a personalized onboarding consultation!

Our Latest Posts

Living Proud and Loud: Celebrating Pride Month
July 3, 2023
Social Media Team
Takeaways from Global Classroom in Thailand
June 8, 2023
5 Pictures That Made My AIESEC Exchange Abroad Worth It
April 8, 2023
Bokhim Sunu