The Secondary Education Act, the abolition of Basic Vocational Technical education and the closure of many in-company training centres have led to a shortage in trained technical workers in the Netherlands. As a result, we are forced to recruit from abroad. Technicians from abroad offer an excellent standard of work, but working with people from other countries inevitably offers its own challenges. In order for things to run smoothly, we need to be aware of these challenges and deal with them effectively. Let's look at some examples.
Social conventions. Social conventions on the work floor differ widely in each country. For instance, Dutch employees are generally more easy-going than German employees and Polish employees can appear rather dour. Polish employees are great at working together, but it's not always so easy for them to work with people from other countries.
Cultural differences. Cultural differences between people from different countries are also apparent on the work floor. For instance, there are differences between countries in the degree to which people obey instructions from their manager and keep to their own specific tasks.
Motivational differences. In addition, there are cultural differences in work ethic. Workers from former Eastern Bloc countries, for instance, work extremely hard and are used to delivering good results using less than perfect resources. They are often very practically minded and proactive.
Language. In order to work effectively, employees must be able to read information about safety issues and technical matters, such as specifications, in Dutch, English or German. It is perfectly possible to equip a technician from abroad with sufficient language skills for these tasks.
Traditionally, certain countries have developed expertise in specific fields. Portugal, Spain and Germany, for instance, have a well-established ship building tradition and are great suppliers of specialists in that field. Germany further excels in mechanical engineering and automotive engineering and is ahead of the rest of the world in fitting techniques, such as in residential and other buildings. In addition, German electricians are trained more broadly than their Dutch counterparts. This wide experience means they can be deployed flexibly, which is an attractive feature in the labour market.
If you would like to know more about working with technical personnel from abroad, please contact InAxtion.