How To Onboard International Employees?

While recruiting internationally is an exciting time for your business, it is also incredibly daunting. We're here to make global employment that little bit easier by running through best practices when it comes to onboarding international employees. 

Why do I need an onboarding process for international employees?

'I have recruited employees in my home country, do I really need a separate onboarding process for international employees.' Yes, yes and yes again!

Recruiting international employees and welcoming them into your business is a whole different ballgame to local recruitment and therefore requires a bespoke, tailored onboarding process. 

First things first, employment laws vary from country to country, and sometimes even city to city. Therefore, your onboarding process needs to abide by these regulations to avoid non-compliance. Secondly, onboarding an employee who isn't located at your head office can be daunting for both you and your new employee. Having a welcoming yet well organised enrolment process will put you both at ease, ensure employee retention and increase employee contributions.  

How to onboard an international employee?

Now we know why you need an onboarding process for international recruits, but how do you actually onboard an international employee?

Employ a PEO

As we have already mentioned, international expansion comes with a whole host of regulations. Employment laws cover everything from HR, employment contracts, salaries, holiday entitlement, visa applications and working hours, all of which can be incredibly confusing for expanding businesses, not to mention costly if you don't comply. 

A PEO partner can manage the employment of your international hires, ensuring compliance with local employment laws and supporting you with an efficient employee onboarding process. Employing a PEO also allows you to expand your business without setting up a costly and time-consuming legal entity, therefore reducing your time to market.  

Using an International Payroll Services

Being paid incorrectly or not on time is certainly not ideal when onboarding an international employee. Whether you want to pay one international employee or a whole team, using international payroll services can save you a whole lot of stress when it comes to paying employees and will save your employees from the inconvenience of being incorrectly paid.

Payroll solutions are included as part of our global PEO services so you can use one trusted partner to manage your international employees, while you focus on welcoming your employees and growing your business.

Welcoming International Employees

Whether you are employing a full team to head up a new global base, or you're hiring one remote worker, it is key to welcome your new hires and ensure they feel a valued part of your team and company. 

This can include anything from flying out to meet your global hires, hosting a welcome party via zoom, ensuring they are familiar with all their colleagues and getting them up to speed with your company ethos. These little welcome steps go a long way to securing employee retention and ensuring that your latest hires produce the work that your company expects. 

Learn The Culture

Learning your new employee's culture is not only a key way to make your employee feel welcome but it is also the key to international business success. In fact, cultural differences and ignorance towards them can contribute to employment disputes and the poor retention of international employees. 

As a trusted PEO partner with 5 global offices and experience onboarding employees in a wide range of countries, we can help support you with cultural norms and best practices, again allowing for the smooth onboarding and future employment of new international hires. 


While the importance of a friendly welcome remains, onboarding an international employee requires a different, often more complex strategy than hiring domestically. Otherwise, businesses open themselves up to poor employee retention rates, non-compliance and ultimately an unsuccessful global expansion. Using a PEO can simplify onboarding international employees, removing the risk of non-compliance and ensuring a reliable and successful global expansion without the need for a legal entity.

You can find out more about our PEO services here. Alternatively, contact us to see how Leap29 can be the global recruitment and PEO partner you can trust.