4 Things to Consider When Building a Global Workforce

Natasha Serafimovska

Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Freelance Writer

The rise of remote work has given employers a unique chance to rethink how they approach workforce management. This ranges from rethinking the size and design of their office space to updating their tech stack to accommodate different working styles. It has created new opportunities for companies of all sizes to expand their hiring pool and look for top talent on a global scale.  

The benefits of this are plentiful. Aside from the obvious ones like cost efficiency and access to global expertise, there are other more subtle benefits to consider as well. Studies show that diverse corporate cultures are proven to be more innovative and to perform better in terms of revenue and profitability. The mix of different experiences, cultures and regional knowledge can be a fertile ground for generating your next groundbreaking idea that can disrupt the markets you’re serving.

Still, despite the shift to remote work, businesses still rely mostly on their local talent. Part of this is due to decreased sales and business activity during the pandemic. Additionally, another deterrent has been the same one as before – rigid and complicated employment and tax laws. While the business world is shifting, the legal framework in which it operates has very much remained the same (with a few exceptions like Estonia, Croatia and Mauritius who’ve since created new types of visas and laws to accommodate digital nomads). 

So, how can you as an employer benefit from the global workforce without causing yourself a logistical nightmare? Here we explore some of the global workforce trends. Also, we will lay out some things to consider when it comes to hiring and managing a global workforce.

Choose Your Locations

Before you jump right into posting your “work from anywhere” job ads, it’s important to consider why you’re turning to foreign markets and what you are hoping to achieve. Is your decision driven by the need to cut costs? Do you struggle to find niche expertise in your local talent pool? Answering these questions will give you a good idea about the locations you should be going after. 

Countries like China and India might sound like the obvious choices. However, they’re already overcrowded with the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon. This means that you’ll have to find ways to compete with giant corporations by having to incentivize people with higher pay and other perks. Instead, why not research other countries that are performing well in your industry. You could also obtain remote-friendly visas and go there instead. You might not save as much in expenses, but you’d be investing in the future of your business by getting the best-in-class talent.

How Will You Create Your Global Workforce?

As you begin planning to expand your workforce, the first thing you’ll need to pinpoint is your hiring strategy. If you’re looking to grow in a particular region, you might be looking at hiring dozens or hundreds of people. Or, you might want to hire a few people from several countries to build your dream team of experts. 

Depending on your drivers, there are different approaches you can take when it comes to the logistics of hiring talent from across the pond:

Setting Up a Legal Entity

This can be a labor-intensive process. It is actually one of the biggest deterrents why businesses haven’t looked into hiring from abroad before. Setting up a new business unit in a new country, under different employment laws, is a thing of any executive’s nightmare. 

Still, this might be the best approach for you if you’re looking to grow into another country’s local market. 

Include Contractors in Your Global Workforce

This is by far the most frictionless approach you can take. It works very well if you’re looking to benefit from local expertise without necessarily operating in the local market. Contractors are business owners, so they take care of their own tax and employment responsibilities. For you, it would be like partnering with any other business abroad. Still, this approach doesn’t come without its own perils.

Here, it’s important that you have an ironclad contract in place which clearly states what jurisdiction is in charge should any issues arise. The last thing you want is to hand off a key element of your business to someone only to never hear back from them again. Or worse, find your intellectual property and company data being misused.

Hiring an Employer of Record (EOR)

If you still want to hire a larger number of people, but free yourself from all that tax mumbo jumbo, you can hire an employer of record (EOR) that will take care of all legal elements for you. You’d still interact and manage your employees directly, but the EOR will be your administrative anchor in that country. 

That said, choosing the right EOR is a project in itself. You have to consider how long they’ve been in business, what countries they operate in and what’s the full scope of services they can or cannot provide. Likewise, working through an EOR will increase your costs. So, if you’re looking for a more affordable talent, this can eat into your savings.

Build a Global Corporate Culture

You might have invested a lot in defining your values and building a cohesive corporate culture. Now, bringing new countries into the mix means that you have to be very careful about how these cultures interact.

The dutch anthropologist Geert Hofstede has done extensive studies as to how different cultures behave when it comes to time-keeping, negotiating, business communications etc.,  which are important aspects to consider when managing a global workforce. 

For instance, Asian cultures are more referential when it comes to interacting with superiors. On the other hand, Western cultures, such as the U.S. in particular, prefer to keep more of a flat structure where managers and employees can communicate on a peer level. In Germany, using a title in front of a person’s last name is considered standard business etiquette. Not using one can come across as offensive. 

Study how your target countries score in these different areas and decide how to best integrate them within your current culture. What changes do you need to make to your onboarding process to offer a smooth transition into the new role? What additional training do your employees need to ensure all colleagues understand one another and collaborate efficiently?

Build a Global Employer Brand

What are people saying about your business across the globe?

In today’s world of remote work, people have more choice than ever when it comes to selecting their employer. This means that posting a job ad alone won’t be enough for finding your top talent. Instead, you also need to consider how you come across as a global employer and what future employees can expect if they join your ranks. 

There are several things you can do here. First, if you’re conducting an internal NPS (net promoter score) survey, see what your current employees are saying about you. What works and what doesn’t work? Are they complaining about discrimination in the workplace or long working hours? Do they praise your new 4-day working week or training budget allocation per employee? Another place you can look at are sites like Glassdoor to see what current and former employees are saying about you publicly. 

Once you have a clear idea how you perform as an employer, you can decide to highlight some of the good you bring into your marketing. If you have an annual get-together of the whole business in a nice location, make sure you mention that. Do employees get access to hundreds of bespoke courses built specifically for your business? Can they obtain certifications through their employment with you? All of these things can make you stand out as a global employer and win the best talent on the market. 

Start Building Your Global Workforce

Global workforce management is a complex task for any business, so doing your preparation early will save you lots of headaches down the line. You might have already considered some of the things here, or you might be starting from scratch. Either way, it’s important that you don’t rush into this without having the infrastructure in place first. 

Now, if you’ve done your preparations and are ready to tap into the global market, why don’t you post a job for free and start building your global workforce today.

Companies Already Hiring Globally

Sometimes seeing other companies in your industry hire globally can give you ideas on how to approach it within your own company. Here are 8 companies that are now encouraging applicants from across the globe.

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