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Going International Doesn’t Have to Be Scary: 5 Tips for Making the Transition

Business is booming, and you need to hire qualified talent to meet your business goals. You’ve exhausted the traditional recruiting channels and are coming up short. If it’s time to enhance your hiring practices, it may mean going international. Fortunately, broadening your horizons doesn’t have to be scary.

Here are five tips to help you break into the international talent pool. 

1. Identify the Talent You Need

Chances are, your human resource leaders and department heads have a good grasp of the talent gaps on their teams. Work with your leaders to determine the areas of greatest need and consider whether international talent may fill those roles. 

When you hire internationally, you are also committing to hiring remote employees. Ensure that the job you’re hiring for can be completed fully remotely and even from different time zones. It is unlikely that your new team members would be able to travel for on-site meetings. 

Workers in certain countries are known for their expertise in certain roles. For example, India contains a wealth of IT professionals. Mexico has an abundance of well-educated bilingual workers who make excellent contact centre representatives. Consider focusing on the hiring hotbeds that offer the greatest concentration of talent.

2. Research Standard Benefits in Your Country of Choice

Identify the best country for the skill sets that your organization needs to hire for. Once you’ve completed that task, familiarize yourself with the standard benefits offered in that nation. Some of these may surprise you, such as countries where employees expect 13 months of pay. In India, for example, employees are paid an additional month of income as a yearly bonus. If you hire employees in India, make sure your company is prepared to pay this added sum to employees hired from that country. 

Additionally, learn about the holidays that are observed in your country of choice. If they’re different from those that you offer, you may need to adjust schedules and compensation accordingly. 

Learn about social norms for your total employee base and use them to plan your workload. Identifying these expectations upfront can help you manage expectations as you hire workers and continue the employment relationship. Look into international hiring guides to help you make informed choices. 

Also, read 4 Ways To Reduce Unconscious Bias In Recruitment At The Workplace

3. Weigh the Benefits of Direct Hires vs. Contract Employees

Do you know whether your hiring needs are long-term or project-based? This will help you determine whether you’ll want to hire a full-fledged employee or an international contractor. Think of which arrangement may be best suited for your organization’s needs before you post a job opportunity. 

The advantage of hiring contractors is that you’re less likely to have to pay the worker full benefits. You’ll want to be crystal clear about the distinction, though, as penalties for contractor misclassification can be steep. While classification standards vary by country, they’re generally guided by how much independence the individual has in conducting their work. 

If you are setting the worker’s hours, reimbursing their expenses, and largely controlling work processes and products, they are probably considered an employee. While this arrangement demands more in terms of regulatory compliance and benefits provision, it may still be the best approach for a long-term relationship. Working with an employer of record will enable you to hire foreign employees and administer benefits with the least amount of bureaucratic hassle.

4. Create Your Training Plan

While even stateside remote work offers its own set of challenges and rewards, hiring internationally presents more. You may have language barriers to overcome as well as different work hours, social expectations, and technology needs. Identify potential risks and account for them as you create your international employee training plan. 

Identify a long-term employee to be a mentor to the new international colleague. They can help your new hire become more comfortable and serve as a go-to for questions, concerns, and guidance. This “ambassador” can also help your new hire develop relationships with the rest of your organization. 

Be careful not to put all the weight of responsibility on the mentor, though. Create a strategic training plan that involves all relevant parties and provides assessment opportunities for 360-degree feedback. Make it a priority to guide your new employee as they integrate into your organization. Your efforts can boost productivity and improve retention rates, which can help your bottom line.

5. Ensure You Have the Right Tech

Do you expect your international employee to use their own business equipment to do their job? Or will you provide them with the tools they need to succeed? Consider the tech that’s required to fulfil their new role. Make sure you’re setting them up on the path to success by providing them with the right technology. 

If your international hire has tech requirements specific to their country of residence, become familiar with what they need. Consider how you’ll integrate your team’s project management tools as well as how you’ll manage cybersecurity. Maintain an open dialogue with them as you work to make sure their technology needs are met. After all, without the right tech in place, they — and by extension, you — cannot be successful.

Boost Your Team’s Capabilities and Capacity by Broadening Your Horizons

Any hire has the potential to boost the productivity and capability of your team. But an added benefit of an international employee is the novel perspective they can provide. Your new hire can offer original viewpoints on common challenges your organization has faced. A fresh problem solver can often make quick work of an otherwise stagnant issue. 

Prep your team to welcome your new international hire and make it known that their contributions are welcome and wanted. When you provide your new team member with the right support and tools, you all win.

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