Helping New Employees Settle in NZ

Win Them Over, Keep Them Happy

Simple tips to help your overseas hires settle in and thrive in NZ

Every year countless people come to New Zealand, settle well and prosper. However, there will always be people who find it harder to call New Zealand home.

At Working In, we believe in taking a positive and active approach to help ease your employees into their new life. As an employer, it’s in your best interests to make it a win/win for both your business and their future.

Below are a few simple techniques that we have learnt from some great employers over the years. They centre around some commonsense, full proof methods;

  • Establishing clear communication from the start – be upfront about the role, your expectations, the location and the fine details involved, like the daily commute, for example. Let there be no – or as few as possible – nasty surprises that could have the potential to derail things


  • Paying the market rate – there’s nothing like the feeling of being underpaid to send even the most committed person into a tailspin. So, with long-term retention in mind, be sure that their remuneration is a fair reflection of their role and the New Zealand market’s benchmark for the particular skill level.


  • Recognising that your new employee may be part of a family – the happiness of your new hire’s spouse and children is just as important as that of the employee themselves. The less worried or diverted your staff member is during the day, the more productive they are likely to be in your workplace. Consider putting effort into helping the spouse and the little ones settle into the community, with advice around schools, playgroups, sporting clubs, even things like finding a good local doctor and dentist. Allowing your employee free time in the initial stages to organise some of these aspects of life is also advisable.


  • Checking in on their partner’s employment situation – if your new hire is in a relationship, take the time to ask if their partner is considering employment in New Zealand. They may not have a clue where to start. Working In is happy to provide practical, general assistance and guidance to help achieve their spouse’s employment goals.


  • Getting together outside work – simple gestures like inviting your new team member and their family out or just around to your place for a Sunday barbie (perhaps alongside other team members and their families) can go a long way to easing the emotional weight on them and their loved ones. Social networks and the opportunity to share experiences are incredibly valuable in establishing a sense of belonging.

Equally, setting up an informal ‘work buddy’ system to answer any questions that may arise is a useful idea. It’s also recommended that, at least in the first couple of months, you (or another senior person on staff) make time for a weekly catch-up.

This kind of up-close-and-personal mentoring can alert you to any issues that may be developing and give you (and your employee) a safe forum to address and resolve them effectively.

All in all, when it comes to the management of new staff from offshore, a little human kindness goes a long way. Add in some good, well-thought-out processes that focus on setting new people up for long-term success and you’ll experience more positive outcomes than negatives.

As always, the team at Working In is here to help guide your decision-making before or after the arrival of your new employees. We believe in New Zealand and in the benefits that a skilled workforce can bring to our country and we are only too happy to share our experiences and learning with you.

You may also want to check out the Immigration New Zealand website  for some great strategies and a full suite of resources, freely available for employers.


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