Fostering integration over the long term

If you intend to employ foreign qualified professionals in the long term, you need to create the conditions for genuine integration during and outside working hours. Both managers and staff can do a lot to help make co-workers with different origins, experiences and needs to feel accepted and welcome. But your new recruits can, and must, also be committed to integration. Read how, here.

Fostering integration over the long term © istockphoto / LiudmylaSupynska

Diversity management

Diversity Management © istockphoto / asiseeit

Diversity management measures are a good way of ensuring your co-workers are ready to receive the new recruits.

There are several approaches to introducing diversity management at work. There is no single solution. For example, you can foster your workforce’s intercultural skills by raising the awareness of your German co-workers about an open, multicultural work climate. Alternatively, you can recommend that your workforce take part in open information events. These are hosted by organisations and associations engaged in social diversity.

To foster appreciation and trust among co-workers of different faiths, introduce cultural and religious calendars. That gives the entire workforce the opportunity to celebrate important holidays in appropriate ways. KOFA (centre of excellence for securing qualified professionals) provides further recommendations on diversity management.

Tip: Foster intercultural exchanges between your co-workers. By cooking, celebrating or doing sport together, your foreign employees will get to know their German colleagues faster and improve their language skills at the same time.

Arrange German courses

Arrange German courses © istockphoto / Rawpixel

Once they arrive in Germany, the language skills of new recruits may need to be improved in parallel to their work. As a company, you can help your employees by finding a suitable course. Besides the Goethe-Institut, the Volkshochschule – an adult education institution – and private institutes also offer courses. Discuss which course is the most useful with your new recruit.

The German Government offers special vocational language courses aimed to immigrants or persons with an immigration background at a low cost. These courses take place all over Germany. Basic modules provide language skills generally required in the workplace and special modules deepen the specialist vocabulary in specific occupation. Detailed information on professional language courses can be found on the pages of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

If possible, give your workers enough free time to devote to learning the language. You can also help them pay the costs of language courses.

Has your new recruit moved to Germany with his or her family? You should help in the social integration of his or her partner where possible. Inform your new recruit about integration courses near to you. You can find out where and how to find a suitable integration course in the guide entitled “Living in Germany".

Draw up an integration plan

Draw up an integration plan © istockphoto / scyther5

To provide systematic support for your new recruit beyond the period of familiarisation with his or her work, you might find it helpful to have an integration plan which takes into account not only work-related, but also cultural and social aspects. At the same time, this raises the chances of keeping your new recruit in your company for the long term. This plan should also cover the necessary work-related or language skills.

Use the integration plan to check at regular intervals how the integration process is progressing at the professional and personal levels. It can be helpful in this case to talk not only with the employee, but also with his or her immediate work colleagues. If you have set up a mentoring programme in your company, the mentors should accompany the integration plan. Alternatively, in larger companies, this task can be handled internally by the department in charge of diversity management.

You can find out more about integration plans on the KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals) website.

Example of best practice

The welcoming culture actively practised at SPS Schiekel Präzisionssysteme GmbH takes the form of intensive, all-round mentoring of its foreign staff and personal commitment by its general manager. Find out more about the concept.

Creating further training possibilities

In many companies “lifelong learning” has become an integral part of the company and its staff policy. Because further training of employees has many advantages.

Further training is a valuable tool for companies to train their employees according to the company’s needs. Also, further qualified workers contribute to a suitable improvement in productivity or processing quality of a company. Moreover further training has another positive effect: it ties the staff to your company – especially the international workers. Implementation of further training measures may not only promote and support your international staff, but is also a way to demonstrate your confidence in their abilities. This may have a motivating effect, may arouse mutual trust and is a good measure to make workers feel part of your company. By doing so you can keep supporting your international staff and get them involved long-term in the company. Than the familiarization and integration process of international staff is a long-term process which may constantly be pursued. Thus, take your opportunity to secure a qualified and a reliable workforce for the future.

For more information about further training and how you can implement an “in-company further training”, please visit the website of KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals). There you will also find examples about how to get your employees involved in the company. Additionally The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) offers advice on planning further training projects or promotion programs.

Information on this portal

Find out how you can learn German

Find out more about integration courses

Information on the World Wide Web

Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

Learn German for the workplace (German, English)

International Society for Diversity Management

Diversity management missions and services (German, English)

KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals)

Recommended action for vocational language coaching