We’re amazed how many businesses we talk to are not familiar with the Immigration New Zealand Accredited Employer scheme. In short, once you are accredited, the process of hiring from overseas is significantly streamlined. For example, it means that you no longer need to test the local labour market before hiring someone offshore and processing times for visas are improved. In order to become accredited and maintain accreditation, you need evidence of things like a diversity policy and good pastoral practices for helping new migrant staff and their families settle into New Zealand.

A key aspect of this is language at work – helping new staff gain confidence with the kind of Kiwi English used in workplaces – on their construction sites, or in the factory or the lunch room. And this might be very different from the kind of English they have learnt at school. Words such as smoko, dwang, Gib, and ute might be completely new to them. They may lack confidence with their pronunciation and be scared of talking on the radio, for example. They may actually have very good English but are just very hard to understand, especially when the heat is on. They might be alarmed when other staff appear to shout at them – whereas actually… that’s just the way it is when you’re working on a scaffold. The actual communication style might also be problematic. They’re new. They don’t get the jokes. They wait for instructions. They might appear not to take the initiative. They may say they understand but actually are just too scared to check what they’re supposed to be doing. They take a suggestion as an instruction. They miss the instruction implied in “You might want to take another look at that.” Awkward? Yes. Potentially dangerous? Absolutely

Providing some initial support with language here is a great way of helping your new team members settle in and can also provide evidence that you are investing in learning and development and will go a long way to helping your new staff make connections and feel like they belong. With our background in English language and experience in workplaces, we’re in a good space to help.