Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Managers need cross-cultural sensitivity when leading employees born and raised outside the United States.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Foreign-born workers numbered 24 million in 2008, or 16 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force age 16 and older, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These immigrants are different from those of a century ago: More foreign-born professionals come from Asia, they often hold graduate degrees, and they quickly land high-level jobs.
U.S.-born managers often make the mistake of thinking that these highly capable, highly educated newcomers need little help assimilating to the U.S. business culture. As a training consultant working primarily with men and women born and raised in other parts of the world, I have seen this cause morale and productivity problems.
I often meet engineering superstars, computer experts and financial whizzes who say they feel completely lost in this strange country. They don’t know where to turn for guidance. Corporate diversity efforts target training at the immigrants and overlook needed training for their managers.
If you find yourself managing foreign-born professionals, use these tools to guide the relationships:
Learn cultural differences. For example, according to cultural expert Gerte Hofstede, people from outside the United States differ in their perceptions of time. U.S. workers, in general, adhere to schedules, whereas those from many other cultures do not. Read about the cultures of every person you deal with internally and externally. Books such as
Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands (Adams Media, 2006) offer fundamentals about cultural differences and work ethics.
The author is a communications trainer and owner of Write Company Plus, based near Philadelphia. She can be reached at
SHRM online newsletter:
SHRM research article: Intercultural Competence as a Key Enabler of Organizational Growth and Success
SHRM article: Experts: Mastering Diversity Competencies Takes a Lifetime (SHRM Online Diversity Discipline)
SHRM article: What’s In Your Diversity Toolbox? (SHRM Online Diversity Discipline)
Leadership with a Multicultural Twist (SHRM Online Diversity Discipline)
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
CA Resources at Your Fingertips
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies