Managing projects and employees on a global level is a massive and time-consuming task. The level of complexity reaches an entirely new level. One of the biggest obstacles is making decisions on how to onboard transitioning employees in countries where there is no established company entity. The process could become more complicated because what might work in a company’s home country might not work in a foreign environment.
HR teams need to understand any environmental differences in the country they are about to expand to so they can avoid and reduce any obstacles that might occur. In a study by Anantatmula and Thomas, some considerations to include in researching the country’s environment are the legal, political, security, geographical, economic infrastructure, and cultural implications of working in different countries.
Some legal and political issues HR should be concerned about are the laws and regulations of the destined country. Each country usually has protection of local workers, and that might strongly influence how the different types of employment can be implemented. In addition, security is a high risk factor and must be considered when working in a foreign country.
The geography of a country and the infrastructure are also a consideration that HR should take. It is important to assess and be fluent in the foreign country’s culture and language as to not make fatal mistakes during the communication process.
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Other considerations as follows should also be taken in place. All of the time, cross-borders hiring takes courage and time to move from domestic to international hiring. Additionally, HR should also be mindful about the employees they are hiring.
A huge amount of time, effort and funds go into hiring across borders. The worst thing that could happen is that the efforts might go to waste if the candidates hired get cold feet at the last minute. For this reason, it is important to ensure that there is a definitive willingness to relocate for a job opportunity (if required). During the screening phase, hiring managers should get an understanding of why the candidate is keen to move and determine that they are familiar with the culture and customs of their new host town/country. If possible, a face-to-face interview during the hiring process will allow the candidate to gain a better understanding of their working environment and new lifestyle.
If you’ve found the perfect employee and you plan to relocate them, ensure that all references, credentials and educational qualifications are thoroughly vetted. Because the cost of making the wrong hire is not small. Thus, make sure to verify professional documents ahead of time to help to mitigate risk and double-check that the employee is as qualified in real-life as they are on paper.
Onboarding an international employee should contain similar information to that of a locally-sourced hire in that it should clearly outline role expectations and company background. However, there might be things that need some extra explanation such as company culture, communication, technology protocols and any relevant employment laws and practices the hires might need to know about.
In addition to getting paid on time, newly acquired employees need the assurance of comprehensive, continued benefits coverage. From holidays to bonuses to healthcare, it is difficult to understand what the standard is from one country to another. Employers together with the HR department need to establish a location-specific benefits strategy to keep employees whole, and a means to implement the global benefits plan of choice.
Lastly, managing communications to newly acquired employees during the transition period is critical to long-term retention. Employers and HR should have a clear communication strategy to help alleviate apprehension and promote trust during the transitional period.
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