The Value of Reaching Out to Newcomers

I met my (youthful) Indian doppelganger in Auckland recently.

It reminded me of my first offshore career assignment to New Delhi, India. Having to establish a life in a radically different city. Accelerating into a demanding job - and needing to build local contacts and skills from zero base.

But back to now.

My new Indian friend is an articulate, well-educated young woman, excited to be in here and keen to make the most of the opportunities on offer. Her CV holds experience with top multinationals.

She wasn’t shy in asking for help – an attribute that will serve her well in achieving success in New Zealand.

What could I do for her in the space of a coffee and a couple of emails?

Cross cultural awareness – We talked about the expectations New Zealanders have around initiative. And to be bold about approaching people, regardless of their seniority.

Access to local networks – I referred her to a trustworthy professional services provider, and suggested a couple of other connections to like-minded people and groups.

No more than an enjoyable voluntary interaction on my part.

But then I started to think about the many newcomers who, like this woman, have the same attributes as those born and/or educated in New Zealand - with the exception of local knowledge.

On the other side of the equation are all my female peers who have lived the highs and lows of working offshore. AND know New Zealand inside out.

The point of connection between the two groups is shared experience.

Can we ‘global New Zealand women’ make it a point to proactively reach out to new arrivals with advice and assistance?

Being dropped into a new environment builds resilience, interpersonal intelligence and agility of thought – the skill set of leadership. So anything we can do to enable these young newly-arrived women to achieve their potential will grow New Zealand’s future female talent pool.

That’s a nice long term reward to think about.

In terms of time, my contribution to help one newcomer has been minimal. But the value to her was high.

And the heartfelt message I received in thanks provides more payback than I ever envisaged.

“I would like to express my deep gratitude for helping me in the best possible manner. You have guided me towards the right direction when my legs had started to shake. No matter what the outcome, I have immense gratitude in my heart.”

Bridget is Principal at Mobile Relocation. Working in partnership with HR and executive teams, Mobile helps bring expat staff to fill key roles in companies and organisations throughout New Zealand.

Mobile Relocation - connecting newcomers with what they need to thrive in New Zealand.