Your business has grown, and your leadership team agrees — it’s time to go global. But establishing an international presence doesn’t have to mean setting up physical offices around the world. It can be achieved strategically and methodically as you grow your workforce beyond your domestic headquarters.
Nevertheless, globalization can sound daunting, especially once you begin digging into the complexities associated with country-specific regulations and cultural norms. Thankfully, there are four key tasks your team can tackle that’ll boost your confidence and improve the likelihood of success.
1. Consider the Hiring Methods That Match Your Goals
Your recruiting team is used to sourcing employees stateside, but are they prepared to do so on a global scale? Before you start researching international talent, it’s important to understand the available hiring methods. Unlike hiring local candidates, employing people located in a different country invites complexity. Fortunately, there are remedies for this potential headache.
One straightforward way to handle global hiring is to utilize an employer of record. An EOR hires individuals on your behalf, managing the legal requirements and key details of hiring. They’ll manage payroll, taxes, benefits administration, and other responsibilities that require a deep understanding of your new employee’s country of residence. Working with an EOR helps ensure your business is protected from legal concerns and provides a competitive, compelling employment opportunity.
Without an EOR, your leadership team will need to determine which country or countries to establish a presence in. Your team will be required to complete complex paperwork and may face delays while it’s under review. Hiring contract workers could be easier, but you’ll still need to ensure you’re following worker classification laws. Some countries specify work hours, role expectations, and other factors, so partner with an employment attorney to ensure compliance.
2. Identify Global Talent Goals and Efficiencies
Most companies have specific reasons for undertaking international expansion, so you should understand your goals before posting a new role. Think about the problems you’re trying to solve and how targeted global expansion can support your objectives. Then, conduct research to determine where you should focus your efforts.
Many organizations are attempting to achieve efficiency, increase support capabilities, and expand their available skill sets on staff. If you’re developing software and need to improve the speed of bug fixes and enhancements, expanded work hours can help.
For example, a distributed development team may separate responsibilities based on time zones. The first group can conduct one round of testing with the second set tasked with implementing fixes or other tasks. This layered approach can help your teams become more efficient, move projects forward faster, and learn from new perspectives.
3. Learn About Employment Laws, Compensation Expectations, and Cultural Norms
Every country’s approach to work is different, so it’s important to structure your expansion with the right knowledge. A position with numerous responsibilities and targeted expectations may attract those in countries with a so-called hustle culture. However, candidates from countries whose work-life balance priorities include summer hours or month-long holidays may be less impressed. That’s why it’s essential to understand the range of factors global growth opens up.
Unless you’re using an EOR, you’ll have to study local employment laws to ensure compliance and protect your organization from legal issues. Embed your findings into the budget you’ve developed for overseas hires, as some factors may impact your talent investment. Similarly, you’ll need to assess compensation expectations for the roles you’re recruiting for. Benchmark compensation data to the local market, but remember to create consistency with your domestic team as well. Without reasonable alignment, you run the risk of losing key employees or creating personnel issues in response to compensation gaps.
Include research findings for the no less important non-legal factors as well. Cultural expectations surrounding paid time off, holiday closures, and work hours all deserve your attention. Without a good understanding and awareness of cultural norms and a willingness to engage with them, your recruitment efforts may come up dry.
4. Decide How You’ll Manage Workflows and Projects in a Global Environment
Remote collaboration has vastly improved in our post-pandemic working world, so organizations have an array of options for project tools. However, the existence of many options doesn’t mean you can take your pick without research and a plan. Organizations should assess their current workflow and project management style and whether teams are in a place to scale them globally. If not, you may have to determine a new approach that’s appropriate for your goals and international team.
Partner with your technical team to identify platforms that are portable across time zones and connectivity differences. Pay special attention to cybersecurity factors, as there may be specific risks to take into account. Update policies and procedures surrounding work location, internet connection, and devices for all teams.
Your remote team will also need to be aligned on workflows. Project management platforms like Microsoft Teams and Asana can bring teams together, organize deadlines, and manage project deliverables. If your stateside team currently collaborates during core hours, you may have to adjust that approach in an international environment. Some time zone shifts may be reasonable, but the larger the gap, the more flexibility you’ll require. Implement strong project management best practices and alternative work types like autonomous work to ensure your global team is effective.
Integrate Your Overseas and Stateside Teams Seamlessly
When your team members share cubicle walls, it can be easy to build relationships. But when employees are thousands of miles apart, you need to strategically integrate them with the right support. Develop an integration plan in partnership with human resources, people managers, and change managers.
Conduct training for stateside team members, sharing the goals of your expansion and offering opportunities to ask questions. Finally, commit to consistent support, dialogue, and partnership to achieve your organization’s goals.