Hiring internationally and expanding your business to new markets can be transformative for your company, but without a solid plan and thoughtful execution, you might not get the results you expect.
In this session of the PANGEO conference, moderator Debbie Millin, Chief Operating Officer at Globalization Partners; Ronii Rizzo, Managing Director, Global Employer Services, Global Payroll & Employment Tax Leader, BDO; Adap Hopewell, Head of Global Talent, Behavox; and Cleo Valeroso, VP of Global People Operations, ZEDEDA, discussed the top challenges of hiring internationally and how to strategically overcome them.
What regulatory challenges do you see companies face when entering a market that they’re unfamiliar with, and what industry secrets can you reveal to overcome them?
Rizzo started by explaining that companies need to take a look at the local employment laws, company registration obligations, and payroll requirements.
“If you’re going at it alone without the support of an Employer of Record such as Globalization Partners, it can be very overwhelming to make sure you’re addressing all the regulatory challenges and red tape.” — Ronii Rizzo, Managing Director, Global Employer Services, Global Payroll & Employment Tax Leader, BDO.
She went on to explain that it is not so simple to hire in any location without doing due diligence. Tax laws largely follow where an individual is physically working, even if the person is hired by an entity of another country. Milin added that international hiring is a team sport, and not something a company should do alone.
Hopewell addressed the issue of complex labor laws in countries such as India and China, and said that companies looking to navigate them must turn to experts like Globalization Partners. He said that American companies should not make the mistake of thinking that employment-at-will is a common concept globally.
What international talent acquisition challenges do companies face when they first begin expanding the candidate pool beyond borders? What about cultural challenges?
According to Hopewell, to find and attract the right global talent, a company needs two fundamentals of talent acquisition in place: The first is around tactically finding talent needs, and the second is scientifically evaluating talent capabilities. This is relevant for both national and international hiring, but it is much more noticeable internationally, as the cultural connection can be weaker, and communication can seem challenging. In order to counter this cluster of potential biases, Hopewell suggested the use of job briefs over job descriptions. Job briefs should contain a few important parameters such as the business need for the role, the best ways to market and sell the opportunity, and highly prioritized behavioral competency criteria for the job role.
“Only when you really define what you need, then you get what you want.” — Adap Hopewell, Head of Global Talent, Behavox.
Hopewell feels the magic mix to get international talent acquisition right includes reducing bias, taking cognitive ability tests, and facilitating structural behavior interviews. He said the aim of any company should be to hire candidates so they can flourish in their roles.
Talking about culture, Hopewell explained that companies should aim to learn from different cultural perspectives and norms. Fostering a global diverse workforce adds complexities to HR operations, but it is always better to simplify culture down to a country level.
Valeroso pointed out that it is important for companies to factor in generational differences. Millennials will be different from Gen X in their work ethics. You must work with experts to bring it all together.
What financial challenges and opportunities will companies experience when they first begin hiring internationally?
According to Valeroso, understanding tax laws in different countries can be very complicated, and as a result, it is nearly impossible to manage aspects such as withholding standards, benefits requirements, and terminational requirements while hiring internationally. Today, businesses are not bound by geo-political borders. The new world of work has made it possible for companies to be truly global in nature.
“Companies today are not bound by geo-political borders. Business is happening everywhere. You need people in local markets who speak the language, and who can support customers locally.” — Cleo Valeroso, VP of Global People Operations, ZEDEDA.
Speaking on the financial challenges, Valeroso noted that it begins with finding the right talent for the role. Managing the talent successfully and establishing a culture synonymous with corporate philosophy is crucial. On the other hand, she said international expansion has multiple opportunities, such as gaining new perspectives and understanding different approaches to problem solving.
What is one thing every leader should know about international hiring, and one thing they can do to help their company succeed?
Valeroso explained the key to set your company up for success is to find the right partner. If you try to do it on your own, you may overlook minute but crucial points, such as hidden taxes, which could impact your expansion plans in the long run.
Rizzo pointed out that you cannot win the international expansion battle with a one-man army. Companies looking to go solo into international markets may often lose. She added that it is not just the C-suite and HR that need to be involved — it takes a combination of payroll, legal, IT, and accounting departments to make this a success.
Hopewell concluded that beyond the complexities of international expansion, there lies a world of talent that companies can tap into. He pointed out that his company, Behavox, manages to bring dozens of highly talented technology workers in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning to their Montreal headquarters by using Globalization Partners as a launchpad.
What we learned:
- Companies should not hire international candidates only to fill vacant roles, but should aim to make employees flourish and succeed remotely.
- Going global is a team sport, and not something a company should do alone.
- Using the right partner to enter international markets can be highly advantageous.
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