Many American companies look to global hiring as a response to a growing skills gap. Interestingly, the most critical skills gap identified by executives is the lack of "soft skills," such as collaboration and persuasive skills. Yet practical skills are lacking as well, with 30 percent of executives pointing to the manufacturing as the industry most impacted by the struggle to find workers with the necessary skills.
While global hiring can offer a solution, it also prompts some new challenges. Luckily, these challenges can be managed with some foresight and planning. Here are six steps to take in preparation of recruiting, hiring, and employing workers from other countries.
1. Don't cast too wide a net.
The world is a big place. With each new jurisdiction and culture you include in your HR ecosystem, the more complexity you're adding. In addition, you want to focus your recruiting resources in the most target-rich countries. Do your research to find out where your needed skills are found in the highest concentrations. Consider the level of competition for the local talent and the local compensation ranges to ensure they align with your labor budget. Pick your countries of interest deliberately.
2. Legal, HR, financial and risk management all need to expand their compliance programs.
New countries mean new laws - new labor laws, payroll regulations, benefits and safety requirements. If you're hiring globally to bring people to the United States, this is less of an issue. However, many companies want to establish a presence where the talent already lives. In many cases, it may be worthwhile to establish a legal entity in that country that is the employer. Yet even if you're only hiring a few people, either as contractors or employees, who are working remotely, the organization still needs to comply with all applicable laws to that relationship.
3. Get your back-end systems in order.
Risk and compliance programs will define the standards and guidelines for hiring global talent. Your back-end systems need to execute the details from handling foreign currencies, implementing local tax and benefits rules on payroll, and protecting personal information. At the same time, you still want your workforce management system to function as a centralized repository for HR and internal talent development and recruitment.
4. Be mindful of your global brand image as an employer to attract quality global talent.
Global recruiting sites provide reviews of companies as employers. Weathering public feedback from former employees is no longer just an issue for the biggest global companies. Start by designing compensation and benefits packages that align with local norms. If a housing subsidy is a common, expected benefit – figure out how that will work in your compensation package for that country's employees. Do they expect six to eight weeks annual vacation? You may not attract talent is you're only offering two weeks. Perhaps a different framework of bonuses and incentives is needed for a particular area. According to Mercer's "Global Talent Trends 2019" report, 68% of the high-growth organizations vary their talent value proposition (i.e., what they offer to attract a worker) for different worker segments.
5. Make sure you understand how to write a job description for a local market and how to read applicants' CVs.
So much of working successfully with a global workforce is learning about and respecting the local culture where you're looking for talent. If you want to attract the right people, don’t assume job descriptions written for a U.S.-based workforce translate well to attract the talent you want in a new country. Issues like degrees, certifications, military experience, and even phrasing of responsibilities and expectations can be entirely unique to that country. Without localized job descriptions and internal guidelines of what to look for on job applications and CVs, your organization will overlook quality candidates. It may not even get the right candidates applying.
6. Adjust employee/worker facing processes.
Just as your organization has to implement back-end systems to accommodate global workers, it also needs to adjust the worker facing processes. This includes everything from providing time keeping systems that speak the local language to revising your onboarding process, to finding ways to ease communication and collaboration among workers in different countries who must work together.
The benefit of global hiring is clear: You get to dive into a huge and diverse talent pool. However, those waters can be treacherous without proper planning and infrastructure to accommodate a global workforce. Put the systems to attract, recruit, and retain skilled locals from other countries in place before your organization decides to complete on a global stage for talent.