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When you expand your business to another country, it can be an exciting time.
Maybe you’re opening new locations or increasing distribution. One thing is certain — you’re hiring new employees. Now, it’s your job to be sure you set them up for success in their job.
Bringing new people on board goes a long way toward improving the long-term health of your company. So it’s important that you build a good foundation to retain them. That means creating a job that meets the needs of your employees. If you’re hiring internationally, you must take some extra steps to maximize their performance. To reach that goal, keep these six tips in mind.
International expansion is about more than just creating a presence somewhere else. You need to understand the local playing field. Language, currency, the cost of living, and ease of doing business are just a few things you must consider. It’s also critical that you consider your new employees’ priorities.
Figure out what matters to your workers by looking at international hiring guides. These resources give you the specifics about conducting business in another country. You can gather details about hiring requirements, holidays, payroll, and taxes. With this type of tool, you can design a job that will have talented employees banging on your door.
An employer of record (EOR) is a company that has established an official presence in the country where you’re looking to hire employees. As such, they can make that hiring process much easier. They’re your eyes and ears when you can’t be on the ground to make decisions. Working with an EOR helps you with numerous business activities that support your employees.
Working as partners, EORs will identify local talent that aligns with your needs. They’re also well versed in the cultural norms and can design training or office policies that comply with local regulations. Because they’re in-country, they’re well positioned to oversee payroll and make sure paychecks arrive on time. Ask any worker — direct deposits that show up like clockwork are a big part of employee satisfaction.
Just like your employees stateside, your international staff want and need clear communication. It can be complicated, though. Whether you have employees in two or 10 countries, you’ll need communication strategies that keep everyone engaged.
You can do this in two ways. First, plan regular team check-ins to ensure team cohesion. Video platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Webex are widely used, easy-to-navigate options. This way, you can get everyone together at one time for the best discussions.
Second, don’t forget to reach out for one-on-one conversations. This is your time to find out what’s going on with individual employees. Give feedback or encouragement on a project. Express appreciation for their hard work. Most importantly, though, give them a chance to speak up. Employees who get to share their voices feel valued, leading them to greater success.
If your business is successful here, you likely have a good understanding of what goes into an enticing benefits package. So it would seem easy to simply offer the same benefits to your international employees. Before you do it, though, conduct a little research. Your employees abroad may need, want, or expect different things. Do your best to find out what’s important.
Compensation is key, so first get the pay range right. Research competitive salaries and be sure you’re in line with country norms. Then, focus on what will directly affect your employees’ quality of life. Look at the country’s healthcare system to be sure you’re offering good medical benefits. In much of the developed world, national healthcare is the norm, but benefits that augment standard care are appreciated.
Make a point to include a vacation allotment that is comparable to — or better than — other local companies. Pay attention to transportation needs as well. Taking the metro to work may be convenient, but it’s not free. So think about reimbursement for public transit.
Getting comfortable with a new company is always tough. It’s even harder if you’re an international employee located far from HQ. That’s why you must have a stellar onboarding process. If your new international employees feel connected to the company, they will be much more likely to stay.
As with managing your payroll from afar, consider working with a third-party organization to streamline your onboarding process. Such organizations can customize your in-office training and make sure you’re filing the right documentation. Adhering to local labor policies will also be easier. Get a smooth onboarding process in place, and you’ll have to replace fewer employees.
Getting hired isn’t the highlight of the employee’s journey with you. At least it shouldn’t be. To help your international staff succeed and accomplish more, send them “back to school.” Whether it’s skills or leadership training, having opportunities to learn can push your workers further in their career.
Investing time and resources in your employees can produce a creative and innovative culture. Plus, if you give workers the chance to improve personally and professionally, they’re more likely to stick around. Professional development can also help international employees advance to higher positions within your company over time.
As an employer, you want to create an environment of growth and achievement both here and abroad. It’s better for your company, and it’s better for your employees. Use these approaches to identify how your international employees’ needs are different — and how they can be addressed. This will enable you to set them up for success from day one. They’ll be happier and more productive at work, and your company will benefit in the long term.
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