Staffing your company through the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program comes with a new set of challenges. The time and effort that go into securing and implementing a successful program is significant.
Integrating TFWs into an existing Canadian workforce takes strategic planning. Business owners with entrepreneurial mindsets often neglect this stage. Excited about the new arrivals with a vision for future success, the expectation is that they will naturally blend in. This is often not the case without a strategic plan in place. A vision without a plan is a hallucination. We have witnessed a few hallucinations as a result of poor planning and would like to share some knowledge, experience and strategies to help you make your program a success
The media is keen on reporting the horror stories of TFWs disappearing from the job, misbehaving, being mistreated, etc. Quite recently, a group of 50 TFWs entered into a class action suit against their employer due to a number of reasons that, with hindsight, could have easily been avoided. We have attached five tips on how to manage an effective TFW team which should eliminate the majority of these issues and protect you, the employer from exposure to legal issues and integration problems.
In our experience of recruiting and placing thousands of workers in Canada from abroad, it is true that managing expectations and clear communication are the two most important keys to a successful program.
Here are a few words of wisdom to help you create a sustainable foreign recruitment program that will result in the retention of your workers.
- Know the laws.
TFWs often call Diamond Global from across Canada seeking to change employers because they are not receiving what they were initially promised in their contract. Contractual terms as outlined in the contract and LMO such as salary, hours, and job responsibilities should never be changed without following the correct procedure. In our experience, TFWs welcome the opportunity to earn extra money to send home by working additional hours or performing responsibilities outside of their official job description, but the risks far outweigh the benefits for the employer. When creating your recruitment plan for hiring TFWs, do not over-estimate the staff you will need. Your worker depends upon the hours in their contract, and you are obligated to provide those hours. Mistakes are made when companies divide hours among the workers since they cannot provide full time work. Diamond recommends that you start slowly. Hire only the staff that you can ensure full time hours to and add on as required. Should business increase and warrant additional recruitment, you can always add on new staff at a later date. Your TFWs will thank you for it.
- Make sure your staff know the rules.
Employment standards are very different in other parts of the world. When recruiting from overseas, it is necessary to supply your staff with a detailed copy of your internal policy manual and your provincial employment standards. If you don’t have a policy and procedures manual inclusive of an organizational chart, we strongly suggest that you create this before your workers arrive. Your new workers should understand your mission, vision and philosophy, and have all of your employment policies in writing. Remember, communication and managing expectations are the keys to success.
- Create detailed processes.
One thing we have always respected about the quick service industry is their attention to detail when creating process. This is the reason why a Big Mac is the same everywhere you go, and it is no accident. Employees are trained and expected to implement process in every aspect of the job. This eliminates potential mistakes (such as leaving fries in the oil for too long, or oversalting) as the instructions are so clear the room for error is microscopic. Add process to your business model and you will have an amazing staff member with a clear understanding of your expectations.
- Open your lines of communication.
One of the reasons Diamond Global insists on a personal interview with every new recruit, is to put a face to the job for these potential employees. This may be the biggest adventure TFWs will encounter in their lives. Adding a human element will build trust and pave the way for open communication. Once your workers arrive, speak with them regularly. Many foreign nationals will keep bad news from their employers, afraid that by bringing it to their attention, they will upset them and risk termination. Make sure you provide regular venues for your employees to speak to a manager as well as address any concerns they may encounter. Just remember, if they are not talking to you, they have probably already called their recruitment firm asking for a new placement.
- Follow through.
Most TFWs share the dream of immigrating and living in Canada permanently with their loved ones. Be a part of the process. There are many unscrupulous so-called immigration consultants that promise but don’t deliver. Help screen immigration consultants or have a recommended, company endorsed, CSIC licensed consultant in place. Your TFWs are targets for ghost consultants and scam artists, all looking for easy prey. Ensure that this doesn’t happen to your team. Many employers choose to contribute to the costs of immigration or bonus costs back to the employee for retention. This is a very powerful motivator. Your involvement in your TFWs’ future shows a commitment to their long-term happiness and success and builds company loyalty. Ultimately, your goal of long-term retention, less turnover and increased profitability will become a reality with strategic planning, managing expectations and good communication.
Diamond Recruiting is a CRFA-approved foreign recruiter, and CRFA members are entitled to a 5% discount when using Diamond’s services. Contact Diamond at 416-730-0029 ext. 240/1-888-886-8209, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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