At this time in New Zealand when construction sites are overcrowding most cities, trying to keep up with the constant need for more office space, more housing, and more development, workers from all parts of the world are coming to New Zealand to fill the desperate need for certain skill shortages.
The need for constant standards assurance has never been higher. Companies who have never had a skills shortage before, are hiring people from overseas, and with that comes a new set of challenges on the work site that they have never had to face before. Language is not the only barrier. Cultural differences, training methods and safety procedures are all areas companies must work through in order to become the most productive they can be in this very competitive market.
How can we ensure that workers understand the complexities of the health and safety standards we must uphold in New Zealand? How do we ensure workers understand the levels expected for code of compliance at each step? How do we know that people have understood the instructions, so mistakes are not made that can cause accidents, delays and millions of dollars in losses? In short, we must invest in sound training programmes, not only for those who are entering the New Zealand workforce, but for those in management positions, and those leading others on site, to be able to understand the complexities of the cultural and communication issues they face, to be able to adapt the way they instruct, manage, check and assure standards are met every single day.
Systems must be established, and guidelines strictly followed, to prevent accidents from happening. Protocols at each point need to be set, so that workers at each level understand the expectations, even for what may appear to be the simplest of jobs. Questions must be asked, work must be checked, and steps followed- we cannot simply assume people ‘get it’, or ‘it’ll be right mate’, because it surely wont.
Of course, as per usual, nothing will be done or mandated until something happens- there’s a major accident, because people don’t realise until then, what needs to be done. Following that there will be government enquiries into what happened and how it came to be, and new systems will be established that should have been there from the onset.
Companies who are serious about their investment in people, are the ones that need to be serious about training and protocols. Money invested now, will be money well spent. Companies who turn a blind eye to this will look back and say ‘If only we had of…’ as they see mistakes unravel before them.
At Cross-Cultural TransitioNZ, we are experts in the field of cross-cultural training within organisations and can assist companies with establishing training programmes for multi-cultural workplaces. For more information on how we can assist with your particular needs contact firstname.lastname@example.org