Integrating staff

Into the workplace and life in New Zealand

All new employees need to integrate into the workplace, but your new migrant employee is also trying to integrate into New Zealand and the local community.

As you can see in the illustration below, your new employee is getting to grips with a new workplace and an entirely new country. The challenges outside the workplace can sometimes impact on performance at work.

They will have to adjust to new ways of living, new road rules, banking systems and tax laws. Settling in to New Zealand will take time and it is useful for you, as their employer, to have an understanding of that settlement process.

Keep an eye on your new employee to make sure they are coping with their situation.

Many migrant employees bring partners and their families, and will need time at the start of their employment to organise their new life in New Zealand: finding a house and a car, organising a bank account, a phone, a power supply, an IRD number as well as finding a doctor and a dentist, a school for the children etc.

Tips for integrating your new staff member

  • Organise some staff family days to get everyone together.
  • Encourage your existing staff to include the new migrant and family in social activities.
  • Larger companies may set up a partners’ network so the partners can meet and support each other.


Family and Community

Worker wellbeing

Workplace communication and culture

Six Stages of the settlement process

New migrants are likely to go through a few highs and lows as they settle here. It helps if both you and your migrant workers understand that going through the highs and lows of settlement is normal.


Fun – migrants are often really excited when they first arrive in their new country. Everything’s new and interesting, and they’ll be generally optimistic about the future.

Fright – at some point the initial enthusiasm will take a knock. Migrants may be missing home, especially their friends and extended family. Any initial setbacks will see them question whether they’ve made the right decision for them and their family.

Flight – this is a natural reaction to difficult circumstances. If the migrant and their family find themselves isolated, not making friends and new networks, and perhaps struggling to integrate into New Zealand life and culture, they might decide coming here was a mistake.

Fight – most migrant choose to stay and deal with the challenges. If migrants are well supported both at work and in the community, they’ll get through the initial culture-shock and find plenty of reasons to stay.

Fit – this is the final stage of settlement. Migrants who stay, will start to feel at home in New Zealand. The things they found exciting initially, will become part of everyday normality important again. And the problems they faced at  first won’t seem that bad after all.

You should expect that your new migrant employee will go through these changes of mood. Your workplace and the community in which your employee will live might be very unfamiliar to them. Strong support networks, at work and at home, will help them to settle more easily.

The key to managing the settlement process well is good preparation. The better migrants are prepared for the positives and negatives of working and living here, the more likely they are to settle well.

Family and Community

Helpful settlement guides

Helping migrants and their families settle in smoothly is in everyone’s best interest. There are guides specific to industries (including dairy, construction, and aged care).

Resources for you

Resources for your migrant staff