“One of the rules I have for the team in this organization is that if it’s taking us too long, we’re probably not doing it right.” – David Harrison, Commercial Director, Americas Immedis (on sales automation when expanding globally into new markets)
When an organization’s leadership decides to expand into a new country, the new direction entails three key areas where potential disruption and mistakes can occur: global hiring, compliance and financial operations, and cultural competency.
In this session of the PANGEO Conference 2021, moderators Joe Batten, Head of Business Development and Partnerships at Hubble, Kathrin Koedderitz, Senior Sales Director, Globalization Partners, and David Harrison, Commercial Director, Americas Immedis, discuss some of the success stories and challenges they’ve had in managing global expansion — including building sales and business development teams, investing in HR and finance technology solutions, and learning new cultural and social norms in-country.
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes — the most I’ve learned has been from mistakes.” — David Harrison, Commercial Director, Americas Immedis
How can companies make the hybrid model work for their teams?
Session moderator Joe Batten shares that company leaders must embrace the reality that remote work can occur anywhere the professional is located. “Remote doesn’t always mean home work.” Batten added that every company will look different and have different needs, but across all disciplines and industries, there are three key components of all hybrid solutions: home working, remote working and in-office working. Actively listening to employees and considering their needs first is the integral part of developing a successful hybrid model.
How can companies successfully navigate the payroll process for their remote teams?
Session speaker David Harrison has extensive experience in setting up global teams, and notes that to start the process, “be humble and ask a lot of questions and educate yourself on how companies have failed and been successful.” When it comes to payroll and other financial processes, the best approach is to “hire someone who has done it before, or who is willing to be educated and learn.” That includes both people and technology resources. Investing in Fintech solutions that will scale to company growth in the new country is a solid strategy that Harrison says pays off quickly during global expansion efforts. Harrison adds that companies should remain ever mindful about compliance when assessing the payroll model, as there are also regional changes to navigate, and any tech solution selected should add value by making this process seamless.
“The right recruitment brings the right expectations, brings the right culture for me.” — David Harrison, Commercial Director, Americas Immedis
What’s one way to build cultural competence throughout global expansion efforts?
Harrison recommended learning the language. He shared a recent experience from a project in Japan, where one of the first things he did was start taking full-immersion Japanese lessons. “I thought, what would be the first thing I would do if I were traveling to Japan to climb a mountain, and it would be to learn the language: start there.”
What are ways companies can enhance the remote work experience for their global teams?
Both Batten and Harrison agreed that there are multiple options when it comes to remote work, and that team members will be working from different locations, not just their homes. “Companies need to be considerate of that, and put some money behind that, as there are co-working spaces globally. Companies can budget for remote teams to work from hotels, cafés as not everyone wants to work from home the whole time,” Batten said.
“I don’t think goals or expectations should change just because you are in a hybrid model.” — David Harrison, Commercial Director, Americas Immedis
Harrison’s go-to strategy is to do kick off events in person to fully immerse all teams in company culture and to build rapport. While his team at Americas Immedis is fully globally remote, he does monthly virtual events just for fun to enhance the remote experience — including cooking classes, wine tasting events, and art classes. “Just because we are laptop-to-laptop doesn’t mean we can’t have some commonality around fun and having fun,” shared Harrison.
Before concluding the session, both Batten and Harrison emphasized the importance of doing more discovery in-country, including a stress test of buyer personas and other sales enablement activities to ensure both relevance and cultural competence in the new market.
“The more people you can speak to on the ground to really understand that market, the better, and on the hiring side, you want to make sure you’re not making any assumptions about work, culture, or anything like that.” — Joe Batten, Head of Business Development and Partnerships, Hubble
Learn more about Pangeo, The Largest Global Employment Conference in the World, here.