3 Things to Consider Before Opening Up Shop Abroad

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The prospect of expanding your business globally is an exciting marker of what your company has already accomplished. You must be doing something right if your ambitions now outstrip your borders. Whether you need a broader talent pool, increased hours of staff coverage, or something else, going global may be the right move.

However, the success of this endeavour depends heavily on how well you prepare for setting up shop abroad. Complex legalities, cultural differences, and other factors can trip you up if you don’t think them through ahead of time. Before you take the plunge, consider these three factors in your strategy.

1. Determine How You’ll Hire Global Workers

One of the biggest motivators for businesses to establish a global footprint is talent. When you expand beyond your country’s borders, you’ll have a more diverse, highly skilled candidate pool to consider.

But simply extending an offer to a global recruit won’t fly with most countries’ employment laws. To hire foreign citizens legally, businesses can establish a presence in the countries in question. Needless to say, that process can be time-consuming, complex, and expensive. A strategy that can be more efficient, cost-effective, and compliant is to use an employer of record.

An EOR serves as a go-between for you, your foreign employee, and their country of residence. It functions as the individual’s legal employer, while you direct work as you would with a traditional employee. The added layer of an EOR ensures you remain compliant with local tax and employment laws while gaining the benefit of global talent. EORs can also help your business craft compelling, locally relevant compensation packages, making your employment arrangement attractive to top applicants.

2. Identify the Technologies and Other Resources Needed for Success

In a distributed workforce, determining the “how” of working together is almost as important as the “who” you recruit. As you think about your global team, consider the technology needs your new hires will have. Research internet accessibility, security considerations, and software needs, just to name a few. Partner with your EOR, technology, security, and legal teams to identify the criteria for success and rule out incompatible options.

If your business works with private records, you’ll need to ensure your cybersecurity protocols are sufficient for your expansion. Review best practices and update your organization’s policies to reflect how you’ll protect company and client data. Discuss your growth plan with key vendors, ensuring you have the proper software licensing to support your growth. Some tools will be location-agnostic, while others may be incompatible or need an upgrade to become fully operational.

Meet with department and project leads to learning more about what collaboration and file-sharing needs exist at the employee level. File access, task management, and communications platforms will be needed to properly support your global team. Examine your current process and identify what adjustments have to be made for your teams to be effective. Pair any changes or new tools with adequate training, communication, and organizational policy to support your enhancements.

3. Define a Compatible Work Style for Distributed Teams

A growing portion of the working world has said goodbye to the traditional 9-to-5, and for good reason. Employees thrive when given autonomy over their work. Technology and cultural shifts have made alternate hours commonplace among non-customer-facing roles. However, your global team’s approach to work hours will need explicit boundaries to be most effective. Without clear expectations, your global team may struggle to collaborate, support customers, and meet their targets.

One of the immediate benefits of working across time zones is greater coverage across work hours. If your company’s customers need 24-hour support, a global contact centre team can make that service more feasible. However, managing a 24-hour operation can add complexity that your team leaders may not yet be ready for. As you prepare to grow, determine how your organization will handle work hours, collaboration, and communication.

Research the best work styles and hours that support the type of work your organization does. If you’re supporting customers, defined work hours and availability may be essential. Teams with collaboration needs may set core hours — based on work type, time zones, and project needs — for better cohesion. Other teams may thrive in autonomous work environments, where work is completed independently and supported by collaboration spaces. Use your research to guide potential solutions, test alternatives, provide robust training, and reinforce your chosen work style.

Get the Most Out of Your Global Footprint

Aside from expanding your talent pool and improving productivity, your business can benefit from a global perspective. Diverse individuals bring their unique strengths to the organization, and their insights and life experiences can spur growth and uncover opportunities. Welcome new ideas and people into your organization with the right foundation and team mindset.

Get to know the countries into which you’ll be expanding, learning about cultural norms and expectations through reputable sources. Consider work style preferences, holidays, and other considerations that your organization should plan for. Reverse-engineer your unique company culture, jargon, and acronyms to adequately onboard your global talent. The more you prepare your team for global growth, the more successful your expansion — and your new hires — will be.

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