New Zealand Employers: Supporting Migrant Employees in Embracing Cultural Change

Discover essential tips for New Zealand employers to assist migrant employees in adapting to cultural shifts and succeeding in the workplace.
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Last Updated On June 26, 2023
Contributors: Inder Singh. Edited By Simar Singh & Reviewed by Yongtian Liu.

New Zealand's diverse workforce is a result of the increasing number of migrant employees who bring their unique skills and perspectives to the country. However, adjusting to a new work environment can be challenging, particularly when navigating cultural differences.

In this blog post, we will discuss various strategies that New Zealand employers can implement to support their migrant employees in embracing cultural change.

Cultural Awareness Training: The Starting Point for Employers

First and foremost, it is essential for employers to understand the cultural nuances of their migrant employees. By participating in cultural awareness training, employers can gain insights into the values, beliefs, and communication styles of their international workforce. This knowledge will enable them to develop a more inclusive work environment that fosters understanding and collaboration.

Encourage Open Communication: A Safe Space to Share and Learn

Creating an open communication culture within the workplace is crucial to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences. Employers should encourage their migrant employees to ask questions and share their concerns, as well as their own cultural practices. This will not only help the employees feel more comfortable but also enable their colleagues to learn and appreciate the diversity within the workplace.

Mentoring Programs: The Power of Personal Connections

Mentoring programs can be an effective way to help migrant employees adjust to the new work environment. By pairing them with experienced local employees, they can benefit from practical guidance, support, and encouragement. This one-on-one relationship can greatly enhance the employee's understanding of the local work culture and help build a sense of belonging.

Celebrate Cultural Diversity: Fostering a Sense of Belonging

Acknowledging and celebrating cultural diversity within the workplace is an important step in creating an inclusive environment. Employers can organize events and activities that showcase different cultural practices and traditions, such as food tastings, cultural performances, or even celebrating various cultural holidays. These events can serve as a platform for employees to share their culture and learn about the traditions of their colleagues.

Offer Language Support: Bridging the Communication Gap

Language barriers can be a significant obstacle for migrant employees. Employers can assist by providing language support, such as English classes or access to language learning resources. By helping employees improve their language skills, employers can enhance their ability to communicate effectively and build stronger relationships with their colleagues.

Develop Policies and Procedures: A Framework for Inclusivity

Establishing clear policies and procedures that promote inclusivity is essential in creating a supportive work environment. Employers should regularly review and update their policies to ensure that they cater to the needs of their diverse workforce. This may include providing flexible work arrangements, implementing anti-discrimination policies, and creating guidelines for inclusive communication.

Seek Feedback: Continuous Improvement Through Employee Input

To ensure that their support initiatives are effective, employers should regularly seek feedback from their migrant employees. By conducting surveys or organizing focus groups, they can gain valuable insights into the challenges faced by their employees and identify areas for improvement. This continuous feedback loop will enable employers to refine their strategies and better support their migrant workforce.

Promote Team Building: Strengthening Connections Among Employees

Team building activities play a vital role in bringing employees together and fostering a sense of camaraderie. Employers should organize regular team-building events that encourage collaboration, communication, and understanding among all employees, regardless of their cultural backgrounds. These activities can range from fun games and challenges to volunteer work in the community. By participating in these events, employees can build stronger connections with their colleagues and develop a greater appreciation for the diverse perspectives within the team.

Provide Cultural Adjustment Support: Addressing Challenges Beyond the Workplace

Migrant employees may face a variety of challenges beyond the workplace as they adapt to their new environment. Employers can offer support by providing access to resources and information about local customs, traditions, and services. This may include connecting employees with local community organizations, providing information about housing and transportation options, or offering guidance on understanding the local education and healthcare systems.

Recognize Employee Achievements: Celebrating Success and Encouraging Growth

Recognizing and celebrating the achievements of employees is an essential component of creating an inclusive workplace. Employers should make an effort to acknowledge the successes and accomplishments of their migrant employees, both in their professional and personal lives. By celebrating these milestones, employers can reinforce the value of their diverse workforce and encourage continued growth and development.


As the number of migrant employees in New Zealand continues to grow, employers must be proactive in helping them embrace cultural change. By implementing the strategies outlined in this blog post, employers can create an inclusive and supportive work environment that allows all employees to thrive.

The benefits of fostering cultural understanding and inclusivity extend beyond the immediate well-being of migrant employees; they contribute to the overall success and competitiveness of the organization.

A culturally diverse workforce not only brings unique perspectives and ideas but also fosters innovation and enhances problem-solving capabilities.