We were excited to be a part of the Northeast HR Association’s 2021 Legal Summit last week, serving as a sponsor and absorbing some excellent content from experts across the HR spectrum.
NEHRA’s programming struck a few chords that we believe are central to our work in business immigration. One of the most impactful messages was the need to focus on the mental health of employees as they return to work, and how to approach those issues as they present themselves in the workplace setting.
That is a key concern for all of us. Whether it’s the culture shock of being back together in person, the huge task of balancing a shifting reality (again) with family and work, or simply the lifestyle change that will accompany our new routines – everyone will be going through adjustments.
Given our role as a partner to HR, the discussion also put a spotlight on how the added stress of this transition will affect foreign-born workers in particular. The anxiety of working through the immigration process has been amplified significantly over the past year, with a government that was erratic in adjudications, had extremely long processing delays, and implemented restrictive COVID-19 travel bans.
As the new administration eases some of that burden, the return to work brings a different type of stress. HR and employees will be facing a new environment and new company policies relating to remote vs in person, ideal geographic placement, and continuing to navigate new regulations in order to stay in compliance.
It won’t be easy. HR will need to be attuned not just to the “standard” needs of employees across the board, but to the complexities of cross-cultural integration as well. Reintegrating employees from other nations and backgrounds takes care, sensitivity, and authentic efforts to create an understanding of their journey. A sincere thank you to NEHRA for raising these issues. We look forward to continuing the conversation about how foreign-born talent feel this stress, and how we can be a part of alleviating it.