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Retaining Newcomer Employees

Moving to a new country with new cultures and customs involves a lot of personal change. Supports and information to support successful settlement and integration is very important for retention of newcomers in their new workplaces and communities.

A few considerations are:

  • Housing;
  • Transportation;
  • Climate;
  • Language;
  • Workplace; and
  • Community.

There are a number of things you can do to make the move easier for your employee and to help them integrate into your workplace.


1. Pre-arrival in Saskatchewan

Help your new worker prepare for travelling to Saskatchewan and settling in the province. You may want to consider the following preparations before your worker arrives, to help ensure their transition to Saskatchewan is smooth and successful.

Learn about the settlement services and programs available to you and your business before your international worker arrives in Saskatchewan. Your local Regional Newcomer Gateway can also help you prepare for the new employee's arrival.

Important considerations include:

  • Housing;
  • Transportation;
  • Climate;
  • Language;
  • Workplace; and
  • Community.

Travelling and Living Arrangements

  • Choose a travel date that works for you and your new employee.
  • Discuss accommodation needs before your new employee arrives in the province.
    • Some international employees may have friends and family in Saskatchewan who they can stay with initially, while others will need to find accommodation of their own.
    • You may also assist them with finding temporary accommodation until the right kind of living arrangements can be made.
  • Plan to assist your new employee with finding groceries, appropriate transportation and other necessities.
    • If the worker is travelling with family, you'll want to know the number, their ages and genders and whether they have any medical, social, or nutritional needs. You can plan to help them meet those needs.
  • Newcomers to Saskatchewan may not be prepared for the cold weather in winter or the hot weather in summer. Tell your new employee about the kind of weather that can be expected in your community. If appropriate clothing isn't available in the worker's home country, you may want to organize and collect appropriate clothing that your worker will need during the first few weeks in Saskatchewan.

Give your new employee the contact information of someone in your organization in case there is a problem or delay during travel. You may also want to have someone from your organization present when they arrive in the community. Your company representative can provide orientation, as well as take the time to welcome the worker to the community and your workplace.

Workplace Preparations

The introduction of international workers to your workplace may be a new experience for your current employees and managers. You can inform them about your plans to bring new workers into the company. Outline your expectations for new and existing staff to help ease the transition for all employees.

Not all of your workers will be accustomed to diversity in the workplace. Diversity training and team building activities for all your employees can help you all prepare for the new worker and boost team morale. A well-planned orientation program will also make the transition easier for the new employer. The program can include:

  • A tour of the work site with introductions to co-workers.
  • Explaining the company's workplace culture, as well as any procedures that your employee will need to follow.
  • Outlining your workplace expectations and schedules.
  • Ensuring that appropriate on-the-job training is available.
  • Assigning a work partner for each new international worker:
    • This could be another international worker who has already made the transition; or
    • Someone in your organization that demonstrates leadership and mentorship skills.
  • Providing a payroll orientation session. Use this session to explain the pay process in your company, what deductions will be made from their pay, etc.

Community Orientation

Your international worker will be curious about what your community has to offer. Sending information about housing, schools and education, faith communities, recreation and special events will help make your new worker more aware of the community.

Newcomers can learn more about Saskatchewan communities through Tourism Saskatchewan.

Where necessary, you may want to encourage your international worker to improve language skills in order to better adjust to the workplace and to life in Saskatchewan. Explore the Government of Saskatchewan's language training options.

The Government of Saskatchewan has established Regional Newcomer Gateways across Saskatchewan to help newcomers find the information, resources, services and people they need to make their move to Saskatchewan a success.

There are also a number of ethno-cultural group associations which may be available in your area. You may want to consider providing the contact information of an ethno-cultural group to your foreign worker.


2. Arrival in Saskatchewan

Help your new worker settle in the community upon arrival in Saskatchewan.

When they arrive, extend a warm welcome by arranging to have someone available to meet the plane, train or bus.

  • Transportation will likely be required from the arrival location to the place your worker will be spending the first night.
  • Your worker may need a few necessary items to get started in a new home. The effort that you make to welcome your employee to your community will make the transition easier.

Welcoming Workplace

  • If the workplace is not within walking distance of your new employee's home, you may want to discuss transportation options.
  • During the first few days of employment, provide them with information on their rights and obligations related to:
  • If your business is unionized, introduce your employee to the shop steward.

Some international employees may need to have their qualifications recognized in Canada, which may require a formal assessment. Learn more about regulated occupations in Saskatchewan.

The Employer's Roadmap to Hiring and Retaining Internationally Trained Workers outlines how to integrate and retain internationally trained workers and how to create an inclusive workplace.

Introduction to the Community

  • Provide a short tour of the area your worker will be living so they can learn where any close available services are.
  • Consider providing a package of local information to your employee. This may include a map, newspaper, location of important services (grocery, hospital, drugstore) and a list of things to do in the area.
  • International workers will need certain documents to settle in Saskatchewan. You can help your new employee acquire the documents by helping fill out the application forms. Your new employee will need:

3. Settling In

Follow-up to ensure your worker is successfully settled and comfortable in the community.

  • If your new worker immigrated with family members, it may be helpful to inquire about the rest of the family. If their family is unhappy, that will cause some stress in their life that may reflect in the workplace.
  • You don't need to be involved in every aspect of your international worker's transition to Saskatchewan. However, it's important to pay attention to warning signs of unhappiness, as they may consider returning home.
  • Foreign workers may be used to a different pace of work or different workplace traditions and cultures. You may want to take this into consideration before conducting a performance review:
    • Be clear about your expectations.
    • Praise the performance that you want to encourage and gently point out the areas where improvements can be made.

It may be beneficial to monitor your employee's work permit, visa and other documents to make sure they don't expire before your worker applies for permanent residency (where applicable).

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