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How to make your expat employees feel at home? – By Preeti Roongta (Founder)

Corporate Employee Relocation to India

With the advent of globalization, every company now provides a global platform for their employees to grow professionally. Countries around the world are investing in other nations and working towards expanding their business horizons. These employees who migrate to other countries usually feel quite comfortable at their workplaces -the companies make that extra effort and the professional environment is usually not very different from what they are used to in their home country. However, as we have written earlier, a crucial part of making your expat employees feel at home is helping them and their families assimilate culturally. Your employees will only be as happy as their families, and therefore, their happiness, health, well-being, and adjustment should become a priority too. It’s often up to the Human Resource teams to help their expat employees, and their families, get familiarized with the country and its culture.

A country’s culture is a window to its rich history and heritage and it can help one grow and learn. Also, of course, when one shows respect for the culture of the host country, the host country accepts you just as openly! The cultural growth of an employee in their host countries helps them adapt better and be happy in their life outside of work. A key part of that effort could be accelerated if they have the opportunity to join a close-knit community of like-minded people and make new friends. In a country as colorful and as diverse as India, where getting accustomed to the different festivals, geographies and culture can get a little overwhelming for expats, it is always a plus to have a social circle with people from all over the world who are going through the same transition as you. A circle like the Pune Expat Club, an initiative supported by Lexagent.

In India, it is often said, “Atithi devo bhava”, which translates to “A guest is like God”. We have always believed in going the extra mile to help our expat guests get that wholesome colorful Indian experience while they also strive for growth at their workplaces. In 2018 we conducted various engaging events that saw wonderful participation from the members & clients of our Pune Expat Club & Lexagent.

Any culture is defined by its food and India has a particularly rich and varied heritage to boast of. With Indian food finding its rightful place in fine-dining menus around the world, there is abundant curiosity among our expats about the right way to create some of the most iconic Indian dishes. To feed that craving, an Indian Kebabs Masterclass that was held at The Conrad, Pune. Here, the attendees experienced and explored the delectable flavors of Indian cuisine, learned various kebab recipes, and enjoyed a lovely lunch. A hands-on session with the expert chefs made this event even more delightful for our guests. This Masterclass was especially appreciated by the ladies as it helped them understand the whole cooking process, while at the same time letting them adjust the spices and the oils according to their preference.

Expats know of India as a land full of history, but they don’t get to experience much of that first hand in the rough and tumble of their daily lives. For the historically-inclined and the adventure-loving expats, we conducted a trek to the 400-years old Tikona Fort. Starting at 6 in the morning, our expat explorers witnessed a beautiful sunrise as they trekked their way up to the historic marvel of the Tikona pyramid peak. Once there, their view enclosed the breathtakingly beautiful Pawna Lake. The 3-hour trek was an exhilarating experience for all our guests. Monsoon makes the canvas of Pune even more beautiful and greener, making the trek even more exciting for all our members –including kids. Activities like this help make stronger communities for expats. They meet new people, make new friends, and their families come together – helping them build a fulfilling social life.

One must-do for every individual who visits Pune during August-September is to experience Ganeshotsav in its full glory -this may well be the defining Puneri experience. The expats residing in Pune too yearn to get caught up in this fervor they are Puneris too! To help them get the full sensory overload, we organized a Ganesh Festival Walk through the old city of Pune, visiting some of the oldest and best-regarded Ganesh Mandals. Walking from one Mandal to the next, immersed in the sights and sounds of the festival, all while partaking of some of Pune’s must-have street food offerings like Vada Pav transported these expats to a bygone age. If their experience had to be defined in one word, it would be mesmerizing. From the aarti to the different idols and their significance, the morning was incredibly enlightening and enriching. These expats felt a little bit of India and Pune take root in their hearts after this divine “Darshan”.

Here’s a suggestion for the companies out there that employ expats. To enhance performance and overall happiness of your expat employees, make that effort to help them blend in the local culture. Their performance at work directly depends upon how well they take this transition and settle into their new surroundings. Every company must take active steps to support their international employees during, what is, a difficult period for them. After all, that’s what the Indian culture is all about, isn’t it?

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