Learn | Beyond the First International Hire: Where to Look for Talent and How to Ensure Compliance at Every Step

 Learn | Beyond the First International Hire: Where to Look for Talent and How to Ensure Compliance at Every Step

Beyond the First International Hire, Where to Look for Talent and How to Ensure Compliance at Every Step

“The law does not care what the agreement says — the law cares about who is exercising which duties, who is setting the rate of pay, who is offering the tools to complete the tasks required, and so all of these things we need to consider.” — Tara Vasdani, Principle Lawyer and Founder, Remote Law Canada

Mistakes companies make and what to get right from the start when growing your global team, were two key elements of the PANGEO LEARN Panel discussion, “Beyond the First International Hire: Where to Look for Talent and How to Ensure Compliance at Every Step.” The session was moderated by Nicole Forbes, Deputy General Counsel, Globalization Partners with guest panelists, Ramsey Pryor, Founding Partner, Port of Entry Partners, and Tara Vasdani, Principle Lawyer and Founder, Remote Law Canada.

 Pryor and Vasdani shared their thoughts and experiences of working with companies in the early stages of growing globally — discussing their learnings on what can go wrong, the common pitfalls companies need to avoid, and the importance of preparation when working with distributed teams, many of whom can be a combination of employees, contractors, and digital nomads.

 Frequently made mistakes

Often, the reason a company decides to expand internationally is very much a reactionary one. They have received funding or gained a new customer, and want to have someone on the ground near them. This can be the biggest mistake a company makes — not thinking long term. They are making this major decision but have not taken the time to sit with it. 

What happens if things do not work out?  What happens if things go well? What if things go faster than expected? Think it through. By considering this upfront and thinking through how everyday situations would be dealt with in the new location, you will begin to get a much clearer picture to enable a more informed decision. It is important to think about things before they happen, from both the employers and the employees’ perspectives, to carry out your business plan effectively and make the right decisions at the right time.

The most important things to do at the very beginning to avoid compliance issues  

The most important thing to do is to ensure that you classify your workers appropriately. Are they a contractor, an employee, or a digital nomad? Deciding from the very start how you are going to treat this relationship will dictate the severance and tax requirements.

 If you are an employer that is working with a distributed team that is not international, then the important thing by far is having the proper remote work policy, along with a health and safety checklist in place. As long as the ergonomics are set up appropriately, you can avoid heated health and safety issues.

Make sure to set expectations properly from the beginning. If, for example, the company wishes to offer a global policy of gym memberships and lunches, you may not be able to offer that for a number of reasons, so make sure you do your homework in advance.

“You just need to really do your homework and think not just about the short term, but long term. How do you see this playing out and where would you want to have lots of people versus individuals.”  — Ramsey Pryor, Founding Partner, Port of Entry Partners

Obstacles and opportunities in each region

With global remote working, we are creating and building teams across multiple regions, and each region inevitably presents different challenges and opportunities. Many U.S.-based companies begin their international expansion journey by looking to Europe and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. They tend to be drawn to English-speaking countries, usually beginning there and moving further into the territory as they expand. While there is logic and reasoning in this decision making, the reality is that very different laws exist from country to country. Therefore, knowing where you want to expand to eventually can sometimes be the best place to start, particularly if you are growing your team.

“You just need to really do your homework and think not just about the short term, but long term. How do you see this playing out and where would you want to have lots of people versus individuals.”  — Ramsey Pryor, Founding Partner, Port of Entry Partners.

 What we learned

Not thinking long term and making reactionary decisions with long lasting impacts are one of the most frequent mistakes companies make in the early stages of growing their global team.

The most important thing to do at the very start of growing your global team is to ensure that you classify your workers appropriately. 

Knowing where you want to expand to eventually can sometimes be the best place to start, particularly when growing your team.

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