Multinational conglomerates aren’t the only companies that go global. Smaller businesses are also hiring international talent to stay competitive. Testing the waters in new markets and closing staffing gaps are some of the top reasons. However, so is the need to reshape organizational cultures into remote-first work environments.
The global pandemic has reshaped market dynamics and the expectations of job seekers and employees. They want more balance in the employee-employer relationship, including the flexibility of hybrid and remote work schedules. That said, working with a global team presents new logistical, legal, operational, and technical challenges. As business leaders create cross-functional international teams, here are four systems they should evaluate.
At the end of the day, most employees and contractors are going to want a steady paycheck. When payments are late or full of errors, it damages relationships and makes workers ill at ease. Contractors might ask about canceling their agreements, and employees could pull back their efforts. However, paying global contractors and employees isn’t as cut-and-dried as it is with a domestic team.
International payroll requires a few more considerations. Each country has laws that determine employee benefits, taxes, and whether a business can classify workers as employees or contractors. Generally, companies that don’t have an established legal entity in a country need to work with an employer of record. Besides handling global payroll services, an EOR provides businesses with a legal avenue to hire employees, not just independent contractors.
Depending on operational needs, an EOR can remove some of the headaches that a professional employer organization can’t. Like a PEO, employers of record handle payroll and benefits administration; unlike a PEO, they hire employees on a company’s behalf. EORs ensure businesses remain compliant with a country’s labor laws without requiring a separate legal entity. Employers of record can also pay international contractors, streamlining payroll for diverse global teams.
2. Collaboration and Project Management
Global teams need functional ways to communicate and keep projects flowing through the pipeline across time zones. Workers scattered throughout various countries often don’t have the luxury of picking up the phone or walking across the hall. Still, they have deadlines to meet and assignments that may require a combination of solo and group contributions. As in any team, international workers will also have questions and run into roadblocks.
Collaboration and project management solutions can provide global teams with the tools they need to work on tasks together. Yet there can be significant differences in the capabilities of various platforms. Some project management applications have all the bells and whistles, including videoconferencing, instant messaging, and cloud file sharing. Others are smaller in scope, prompting businesses to add separate communication apps to their tech stacks.
Neither approach is necessarily “wrong,” as businesses should look at multiple factors when evaluating collaboration and project management systems. Those variables are the company’s size, scalability needs, existing project management difficulties, and whether an app is easy to use. Smaller global teams may work fine with separate communication and project management applications. But rapidly growing businesses will probably need more scalable, robust solutions.
3. Recruiting and Onboarding
Whether companies hire international employees or contractors, recruiting and onboarding plans can help streamline the process. Both sets of workers will go through an initial learning curve and must complete the necessary paperwork. In addition, recruiting employees and contractors around the globe comes with cultural and logistical considerations.
Some businesses have the resources to go it alone. Their internal HR and legal teams have the knowledge and skills to navigate international waters. They can visit global locations for job fairs and weed through applications from international job boards. There’s also enough know-how and established processes within the organization to get workers up and running quickly.
Other companies, however, need some help with global onboarding and recruiting. Leaders may want to place some of these responsibilities in the hands of an EOR. An employer of record can process onboarding paperwork and ensure workers’ contracts are compliant with local labor laws. For recruiting, businesses can consider working with an expert familiar with the local labor market. They can point out cultural differences in hiring practices and competitive market conditions.
4. Knowledge and Resource Management
Getting staff up to speed involves more than onboarding paperwork. Training on systems, procedures, and who’s who in the organization is something all workers need. With remote and global teams, in-person training may not be practical or even possible.
This creates the demand for digital or online learning solutions. Once employees and contractors complete their training, they’ll benefit from access to on-demand knowledge bases and resources. Knowledge management systems help make critical resources available to all members of the team. These platforms also provide training through videos, e-learning modules, and workshop-like exercises.
While companies may want to conduct some training and introductions via videoconferencing software, few workers will recall everything. The initial few weeks can quickly turn into a blur, as information overload sets in. Online resources like manuals, documented how-to procedures, and org charts can become invaluable for global and remote teams.
Systems for Global Teams
More companies are creating international teams to meet evolving market demands. But as leaders assemble groups of workers around the globe, systemic factors can influence their success. Payroll, project collaboration, recruiting and orientation, and knowledge management are some of the most pressing. Evaluating these systems according to business needs and future plans can make going global that much smoother.