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Integrating Refugees into the Workforce

Integrating Refugees into the Workforce

World Refugee Day on June 20th is a reminder that it’s critical — for both humanitarian and economic reasons — that those seeking a new life around the world are able to find meaningful employment in their new countries.

ManpowerGroup has helped respond to this need. For example, Germany opened 12 “Welcome Center” branches in 2016 that found employment for 364 refugees from seven countries impacted by civil war.

“When I left Syria, I had lost everything. The only thing I kept was my dream to have a good life with my family,” said Jack Murad, a Syrian refugee, father and welder. “ManpowerGroup treated me the same as they would anyone from Germany or England. Manpower found me a job as a welder and I have been with the company ever since.”

Businesses are in a unique position to come to the aid of those who are fleeing war, persecution or natural disaster. For employers, the following strategies will help workforce adjustments:

Provide resources for upskilling

Upskilling requires learning on the job to remain relevant in the changing future. This may be even more important for those whose unexpected life circumstances have kept them out of their career of choice. But employers can help refugees learn and adapt through upskilling resources, including websites and courses.

Create mentorship opportunities

It is important for refugees to get the right mentor who understands their unique needs. An organization will set up others for success by developing a mentorship program that addresses what this population is going through, from the uncertainty of re-entering a workforce to navigating a new culture.

Help develop soft skills

For someone new to a country, the “hard skills” of training for job duties may, in fact, be the easy part. The harder part can be developing the business soft skills of adapting to new norms of interpersonal communication, leadership and building a network.

As with any workplace changes, there will be adjustments when integrating new populations into the culture. In the end, this will make any organization stronger. Businesses now work on a worldwide stage – and incorporating a broad global perspective from multiple points of view will only help everyone involved. More organizations should consider this benefit before, during and after World Refugee Day.