A guest blogpost from BiCortex Languages.
Norway’s immigration processes, office culture, and language challenges can pose a problem for companies and newly arrived employees doing business in Norway. Hopefully this article will help to support employees relocating to Norway.
Relocation in Norway: getting support
It is key for Mobility and HR departments to include policies to support employees relocating to Norway. Moving to Norway can be deceptively easy or frustratingly hard. And ensuring that the process of relocating employees to Norway is done correctly can be helped or hindered by corporate management. That’s why Relocation Companies are the best resource for newcomers to Norway.
While relocating to Norway or any country can be a difficult process, it is an achievable one. Relocation Companies can best support relocating, training, and supporting employees making the move to Norway. Employees need help in three crucial areas: applying for residency, cross-cultural competency, and linguistic training.
Help Making the Move to Norway
The ease of moving to Norway depends on where the employee is traveling from. The immigration process is divided between citizens of EU/EEA and the rest of the world. All cases involving foreign nationals are overseen by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).
Europeans and people who hold European Union passports will find it easier to relocate and live in Norway. Although Norway is not a part of the E.U., it is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This means that citizens of member countries can freely move and work within the European Economic Area.
Europeans have a distinctly easier process of working in Norway because of this. Employers and employees have to complete a registration form with the immigration authorities to confirm their employment. Newly arrived nationals must also register with the police within three months of moving.
The process is more complicated for non-Europeans relocating to Norway. Applicants must submit paperwork for a residence permit and an offer of employment. This must all be done before moving to Norway and the process can take up to fifteen weeks (as of 30.08.2021) after submission.
Managers and division heads should assist with securing a personal ID number for tax registration. Experienced foreign workers will know the paperwork and timeframe needed to successfully receive residence permits for employees and their families. This makes them an invaluable resource for non-European citizens relocating to Norway.
Cultural Competence for Business in Norway
The next critical area of supporting newly arrived employees is integrating them into Norway’s business culture. The contrast between Norway and where the newly arrived employee is from can be vast. Transitioning and adapting to a new office and corporate life can be a daunting task as a result.
Norwegian business culture is somewhat influenced by the Danish concept of “Jante Law,” a set of unspoken rules about how to behave in Norwegian society. People from societies that prize introverted qualities like thoughtfulness and personal space might thrive in this environment. But people from outgoing societies like the United States, Southern Europe, or Israel might be left feeling cold.
Management’s help with adjusting to business culture in Norway is essential for healthy cross-cultural relationships between employees. Managers must inform the newly arrived about Norway’s style of business meetings, for example. Norwegian work culture emphasizes equality, especially between genders. This results in a workplace environment with an informal hierarchy and casual communication.
But Norwegians still have strong codes of conduct for business. Punctuality and appointment-setting are important to starting and running successful meetings in Norway. Formal language and titles of respect like “Mister,” and “Missus,” are seen as stiff and old-fashioned, though. Questions are saved until the end of meetings and discussions are clear and direct.
Most Norwegians comfortably speak English and Swedish. Some also speak third languages such as French, or German This makes Norway one of the top ten countries for doing business in. But unspoken Norwegian body language is just as important as spoken language. Newly arrived employees and even expatriates might need time to adjust to personal space expectations and conversation rules. But foreign employees can quickly learn to handle issues as novel as holiday pay (“feriepenger”) with the patient help of other foreign-born coworkers.
Language and Cultural Training to Support Employees Relocating to Norway
Life in Norway offers plenty of opportunities for the newly arrived. Norway’s educated population and diverse economy mean that people from different countries will find living in Norway to be hospitable and adaptable. Two of the best ways for preparing employees to live to Norway is have them become culturally competent, learn the Norwegian language, and get support with translations.
Cultural competence is the ability to understand, appreciate, and interact with people and cultures different than your own. Cultural competency can take the form of being familiar with Norwegian people, their values, and unspoken rules. It can also be as simple as knowing about current events in Norway. Cultural competency is an essential skill for anyone living in a foreign country.
Knowing how to speak, read, and write in Norwegian only increases cultural competence in Norway. Fluency in Norwegian makes business and social interaction more sincere and meaningful. And that cross-cultural exchange makes for a happy and cooperative workplace.
Seeking out and contracting with a specialized language learning service is the most effective way to guarantee language fluency and cultural competency in employees. International language learning companies like BiCortex Languages specialize in providing effective language training for employees and their families. BiCortex Languages matches groups and individuals with proprietary learning software and qualified language instructors in face-to-face, online, and virtual training. Class sizes are always kept small, and learning materials are customized to be relevant to the students. Pairing high-quality language instruction with cutting-edge learning technology leads to multilingual and culturally competent employees.
Moving to a new country is not an easy task. And there are many steps that need to be taken even before moving. It can be stressful for individuals relocating to Norway for business. But this is not a process that has to be undertaken alone. Foreign nationals in management provide enormous benefits to companies relocating employees. They are indispensable for advice on moving, teaching business culture, and directing employees to the best language training and cultural learning services. And all of this means success for company and employee alike.