Global workforce

How to Onboard International Employees with Ease?

Mayank Bhutoria

Onboarding international employees is a complex process that can be fraught with challenges. According to SmartRecruiters, 68% of companies have ramped up their onboarding programs to improve employee retention and productivity. 

But how do you tailor these programs for international hires?

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through:

  • A checklist before international onboarding and the entire process 
  • The onboarding process for international hires.
  • The common struggles that HR professionals face when onboarding international employees.
  • Actionable tips and solutions to simplify international hiring.

Stay tuned as we delve into these crucial aspects!

A 6-step Checklist Before Onboarding International Employees

Onboarding an international employee is not the same as onboarding a local hire. There are legal nuances, cultural differences, and logistical challenges that can make or break this crucial phase. That's why we've created this 6-step checklist to help you navigate the complexities of onboarding international employees, ensuring compliance and a warm welcome to your international hires. 

Eligibility and basic details

The first step in international hiring is to ensure the candidate is eligible to work in your country. This involves thoroughly checking visas, work permits, and other legal documents. Don't overlook the basics either; ensure the candidate's educational qualifications and work experience align with the job description. Failing to verify these details can lead to legal complications and wasted resources down the line. 


Compensation should be competitive and tailored to the needs of the international employee. Discuss salary, benefits, bonuses, and any other perks that may be relevant. Remember, you're not just competing with companies in your country but globally. Also, consider currency exchange rates and local taxation laws when paying international employees to avoid misunderstandings. Transparency at this stage sets the tone for an open and honest working relationship.

Compliance and Documentation

Legal compliance is non-negotiable. Gather all necessary documents like tax forms, identification verification, and any industry-specific certifications. Store them securely and make them easily accessible for future reference. This is where a robust Human Resource Management System (HRMS) can be invaluable. A streamlined process makes life easier for HR and the new employee.

Employment Contract

The employment contract is the cornerstone of the employer-employee relationship. It should be comprehensive, outlining not just the terms and conditions of employment but also the company culture and expectations. Include details such as 

  • job responsibilities, 
  • reporting structure, 
  • confidentiality agreements, and 
  • other non-compete clauses. 

Both parties should review and sign the contract before the employee's first day to ensure a mutual understanding of expectations.

With Gloroots, you can easily generate employee contracts within minutes. The process is fully automated, and it accelerates the onboarding process significantly.

Share office essentials and work resources

The first day at a new job can be overwhelming, especially for an international employee. Make this transition smoother by sharing essential resources well in advance. This includes office supplies, access to internal systems, and even a simple guide on workstation setup. Consider creating a welcome package that includes all these essentials. It's not just about the physical resources; it's about making the new hire feel welcomed and ready to contribute from day one.

Read more: Employer of Record Software

A 4-step Process of Onboarding Global Employees

Onboarding international employees goes beyond just paperwork and orientation. It's about creating an environment where your new hires can thrive professionally and culturally. 

At Gloroots, we break down the process into four key stages, each essential for a smooth transition into your organization.

Pre-Onboarding Process

Before your new international employee even sets foot in the office—virtual or otherwise— the groundwork is crucial. This involves visa processing, employment contracts, and initial communication to set expectations. Use this time to introduce them to the company's culture, perhaps through a welcome package or a virtual office tour. This stage sets the tone for the entire onboarding experience.

First Day Orientation

The first day is all about making your new hire feel welcome and included. This involves a structured orientation program that covers company policies, team introductions, and a rundown of their job role. For international hires, consider including a cultural orientation to help them understand the work environment better.

Integration into the Team

Integration is more than just adding a new member to your Slack channel. It involves mentorship programs, regular check-ins, and team-building activities designed to foster a sense of belonging. Understanding the nuances of new work culture can be challenging for international employees, so extra effort in this phase can go a long way.

Provide Remote Work Equipment, Tech Stack

Lastly, equipping your new international employee with the right tools is essential for productivity. This includes not just a laptop and software licenses but also ergonomic furniture if they're working remotely. Ensure they have access to all the platforms and databases needed to perform their job effectively.

Each of these steps is crucial for successfully onboarding international employees. By following this, you're not just ticking off boxes; you're setting up your new hires for long-term success.

Navigating the Struggles of International Onboarding 

While onboarding international employees offers a wealth of benefits, such as diverse perspectives and specialized skills, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Understanding these obstacles is the first step in effectively overcoming them. Here are some of the most common challenges you might encounter.

Cultural Barriers

One of the most significant challenges in onboarding international employees is navigating cultural differences. These can manifest in various ways, from communication styles and work ethics to expectations around hierarchy and authority. Misunderstandings can lead to decreased productivity and increased tension within the team. To mitigate this, consider implementing cultural competency training for both the new hires and existing employees. This will help foster an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued.

Legal Compliance

Legal hurdles are another significant challenge when onboarding international employees. This includes not only employment laws but also immigration rules and tax regulations. Failure to comply can result in severe penalties for the company and could jeopardize the employment status of the international employee.

Time Zone Differences

Time zone differences can complicate work hours, team communication, and project timelines. When team members are spread across different time zones, finding overlapping work hours for meetings and collaborative tasks can be challenging. This can delay projects and lead to miscommunication. To overcome this, use scheduling tools that display multiple time zones and plan meetings at times that are reasonable for all parties involved.

Read more: How to Pay Remote Employees

6 Tips for Onboarding International Employees

Onboarding international employees can be complex, but with the right strategies, you can make the process seamless and effective. Here are six tips to help you onboard international employees successfully.

Synchronize Hires 

Aligning the start dates of multiple new hires offers dual benefits: organizational efficiency and enhanced employee experience. By synchronizing start dates, you streamline onboarding, saving valuable time and resources. This unified approach allows HR and management to conduct group orientations and training sessions, making the process more efficient.

Moreover, starting together creates a sense of camaraderie among new hires. They can navigate the complexities of a new work environment as a group, making the integration less daunting. This peer support is especially crucial for international hires, who may find the transition culturally or logistically challenging. Synchronized hiring thus fosters a more inclusive and supportive work atmosphere from day one.

Communication is Key

Effective communication forms the backbone of any successful onboarding process, but it's even more critical when dealing with international employees. Language barriers, cultural nuances, and different communication styles can all pose challenges. To mitigate these,

  • Implement a multi-language support system and cultural sensitivity training for your HR team and employees. 
  • Conduct regular check-ins and feedback sessions to ensure the new hire feels heard and valued. 
  • Establish clear and open lines of communication to help preempt any issues before they escalate.

Use a Digital Onboarding Program 

Utilize advanced HR software to automate tedious tasks like document verification, benefits enrollment, and compliance training. Further, use Virtual Reality (VR) for virtual office tours, and AI chatbots to handle FAQs, freeing up human resources for more complex tasks. The right tech stack can make the onboarding process more efficient and engaging for the new hire, especially when hiring remote employees.

Create a list of Onboarding FAQs

An FAQ list is a vital yet often overlooked element in international onboarding. It serves as a quick reference guide for new hires, reducing the need for constant queries to HR. This is particularly useful for employees in different time zones. The list is versatile, covering everything from company policies to role-specific tasks.

The FAQ list is a living document easily integrated into a Digital Onboarding Program. It's updated regularly based on common questions from new hires, ensuring it stays relevant. It also doubles as an initial training resource, equipping new employees with essential company knowledge from day one.

Create a Support Network

Assigning mentors or buddies can provide new employees with a reliable point of contact for any questions or concerns they may have. This is not just about work-related queries; it can also be about understanding the company culture, knowing the teammates, or even advice on whom to connect with and why. The mentor can check in with the new hire regularly, ensuring they are settling in well and addressing any issues before they become problems. This personalized support can significantly ease the transition for international employees.

Use an Employer of Record (EOR)

An Employer of Record (EOR) can be a game-changer when it comes to international onboarding. Gloroots EOR can handle various aspects of employment, including legal compliance, payroll, and benefits, allowing you to focus on the core business.

With Gloroots, you can say goodbye to the headaches of legal compliance. Our platform ensures that your international employee onboarding fully complies with the respective countries' laws. Gloroots also takes care of your payroll management. Our single-click payroll system ensures that all your international hires are paid on time in multiple currencies without hassle. Further, with Crypto pay-ins, Gloroots has made transactions simpler and easier. 

To know more about Gloroots services, connect with the team today!


1. What is a global employee onboarding process?

The global employee onboarding process involves a series of organized steps to integrate a new employee into a company, domestically and across international borders. This includes pre-employment checks, orientation, training, and integration into the team. 

2. What are the benefits of onboarding past orientation?

Onboarding goes beyond just the first-day orientation. It involves continuous training, performance reviews, and cultural assimilation. The benefits include higher employee retention, increased productivity, and a more cohesive work environment. It ensures that employees are familiar with their job roles and aligned with the company's values and objectives.

3. How can Gloroots simplify international onboarding?

Gloroots can streamline the international onboarding process by automating various steps like compliance checks, payroll management, and documentation. It ensures that the onboarding process is legally compliant according to the laws of the respective countries. Gloroots also offers features like tax-splitting in contractor payroll, making it a one-stop solution for all international onboarding needs.

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