Integration of international professionals   

Integration tips for SMEs

In my article on recruiting international specialists, we have already discussed the recruiting process for foreign specialists in detail.

The next question that arises is: „How do you integrate your international specialists into the company?“

Try to put yourself in the following situation: You arrive in a country that is foreign to you, perhaps only barely speak the language, perhaps do not yet know the local conditions well and are supposed to work for a company there. What or who would be important to you now?

I’m sure several points will come to mind, so I’d like to list a few here that are important for the successful integration of international specialists.

1. Include diversity in your corporate mission statement

The foundation for a company that relies on an international workforce is that you also incorporate the desired and practised diversity into your corporate culture.

Perhaps you have a corporate mission statement in which you can include a commitment to diversity. This will make a statement for both internal employees and external parties.

In any case, it is important that, in addition to your management, your executives should also be aware of the need to act authentically and responsibly in dealing with the will to integrate.

2. Personal contact persons

Many questions will arise for your new employees, especially in the first few days at the company. How nice it is to have a personal „company tutor“ who can provide the first answers.

Experienced colleagues with perhaps even a corresponding cultural background or language skills will be a great support for your new international employees as they familiarise themselves with work processes and everyday working life. This can make it much easier for people from different cultural backgrounds in particular to familiarise themselves with life in Germany.

3. Ensure intercultural exchange

Inform your staff about the new foreign employees. Explain their cultural background and encourage your staff to engage in dialogue.

Perhaps you could serve the new employee a traditional dish at lunchtime, or perhaps typical snacks at the next meeting?

Why not introduce the new employees to the regional cuisine at a business lunch and let your staff exchange flavours about the culinary delights of the different countries.

Don’t they say „The way to the heart is through the stomach“? This can also apply to a successful long-term business partnership!

You will see how quickly a better understanding of the cultures and lifestyles of other countries develops in your company and how successfully the integration of international specialists works.

4. Provide support in finding accommodation and dealing with the authorities

As already mentioned in the article on international skilled workers, you can offer your new foreign employees enormous support if you help them find accommodation and deal with the authorities.

For many of us living in Germany, dealing with the authorities is already stressful, but how stressful will it be for someone who has just arrived in Germany and now has to deal with German bureaucracy?

Ask a colleague to accompany the new employee on various visits to the authorities. Possible language barriers at official appointments or misunderstandings when filling out various forms correctly can be prevented in this way and unnecessary additional appointments with the authorities can be avoided.

Perhaps your company has company flats or you can rent a (holiday) flat or flat, e.g. in a boarding house or a room in a nearby guesthouse, for your international skilled workers for the first few weeks until a permanent housing solution is found. This makes it much easier to find suitable accommodation to start with.

As a company, you could also provide a so-called rental guarantee for your employees when renting a property, which is often well received by the renting party.

5. Plan the first few days for your foreign skilled workers

The wealth of new information, new surroundings, new language, new contacts, new tasks and challenges can overwhelm many an international skilled worker.

Welcome pack and induction plan

So think about this in advance and create a welcome pack in which you provide your new foreign skilled workers with the most important information, such as

  • Interesting facts about your company
  • Information about the conditions in the new environment
  • Orientation material

You have probably already drawn up an induction plan for your employees, but if not, you should definitely do the same for your foreign skilled workers.

This will provide information about their tasks, responsibilities, departments and contact persons. You can use it to provide structure and guidance, inform them about upcoming internal company appointments and define goals that can then be discussed within specified time frames.

If you plan the first few days and weeks well in advance for your foreign skilled workers, you can speed up their integration into the company and their familiarisation, avoiding conflicts and unnecessary costs.

Pay attention to public holidays and leave for your foreign employees

Particularly with regard to holiday planning, you should offer your foreign specialists the opportunity to travel home on public holidays or for a longer stay.

Take this into account when planning staff and holidays so that appropriate holiday and replacement arrangements can be made in good time and coordinated with existing staff.

6. Integration outside of work as well

Integrating new employees into everyday working life is one side of the coin.

But what about the time after work?

To ensure that your foreign employees quickly make social connections in their new home, it is a good idea to take them along to various events and activities.

Perhaps your company has a company sports group or your colleagues share the same interests in leisure activities. So ask your employees to simply take the newcomers to the football match, the opera, an exhibition or other events. Or put together an overview of cultural events, sports clubs and sporting events, etc. for your international specialists.

In this way, the free hours in the first few months can be spent together and the arrival in the new home country can be made much easier.

7. support the learning of the German language

We all agree that the German language is not easy to learn.

There is a very large selection of German courses, which vary depending on the type and level of learner.

Try to support your new employees with language courses, e.g. via local adult education centres, or via various online language courses or apps.

You may even have the opportunity to provide additional language units for several international specialists on one day at the company using your own German teacher. This is particularly useful for specialised terminology in the relevant departments, areas or industries. This promotes communication and significantly simplifies everyday working life with colleagues.

Also inform your permanent staff that a simpler German language is spoken in order to avoid or reduce some linguistic misunderstandings in everyday working life. This helps everyone involved and ultimately saves time and money.

Further information on language support can be found on the KOFA Online Recommendation for Action and the Network of Companies Integrating Refugees.

8. Accompanying family members and family reunification

In your integration efforts, you should definitely also consider accompanying family members. Find out about the family situation of your new employees.

  • Who will be coming to Germany, when and how?
  • Who could you also help to find a job, perhaps there is even a possible vacancy in your company? Perhaps you can also arrange a job through your existing contacts and network.
  • How are children travelling with you looked after? Are there international kindergartens and schools nearby that you can recommend to your employees? Offer support in arranging childcare and school places.

Your company may offer childcare or you may have contacts with a nanny who can help your employees‘ children during the initial period of familiarisation.

As you can see, the issue of family reunification should also be clarified from the outset so that your international skilled workers feel well integrated into the company.


The successful integration of international skilled workers depends on various factors.

However, the most important factor should be that your foreign employees feel welcome, not left alone, but well looked after from day one.

Factors for the successful integration of foreign skilled workers

With appropriate measures, guidance for colleagues, the promotion of social exchange and personal support in everyday (working) life, you can integrate your foreign employees into your company quickly and purposefully and retain them in the long term.

The success of successful international recruitment of specialists will be reflected in the fact that you will receive more applications from international candidates. You will be able to fill your vacancies more quickly. The fluctuation rate, particularly among foreign specialists, will be reduced and you will see an increase in orders from abroad due to the international orientation of your company.

Do you have questions about the successful integration of foreign skilled workers?

Talk to me.

With my many years of professional expertise in the international recruitment of specialists and managers as well as in personnel management in global corporations, I am at your and your company’s disposal for the integration of foreign specialists. My team and I will provide you with lots of useful information and relevant tools.

Enquire today by email and we will be happy to send you our prepared checklists for a successful application process and integration into the company.

Follow us – your HR experts for the Allgäu!

Helga Jungnickl HR Consulting & Interimmanagement
More than 25 years of professional experience in leading positions in Human Resource Management of well-known companies, e.g. BMW Group, Toshiba GmbH and the Hoerbiger Group.
For more than 10 years as a self-employed consultant in HR consulting for medium-sized companies.

Consulting & Solutions
Berliner Str. 17 b
86825 Bad Wörishofen

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