April 12, 2024

Best Practices for International Hires

Stretch Your Borders: Best practices for recruiting a global workforce

A few years ago, the idea of working for a company on the other side of the world would have seemed incredibly difficult, if not impossible in some cases, and was not a viable solution for many businesses. The downside to this, of course, is that business owners don’t have access to the many qualified employees who don’t live in the area. But if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you can work from anywhere – even from across the globe.

Why try to recruit a global workforce?

There are a few advantages to working with employees that are either not native to your area or who are working from their own country of origin. First, if you are a company that offers services worldwide, you need the insight of people who understand the cultures and markets that you are trying to reach. Even if you just hire someone on a consulting basis to provide insight about the new market you want to reach or grow in, you will gain a lot of necessary information from someone who has experienced the culture of that market first hand.

We already mentioned that the lack of access to a global workforce means a lack of access to highly talented employees around the world. Now, with the ever-evolving availability of technology and communication, you can find the team members you need without being limited by distance. Your pool of talent just grew by a globe’s worth of people.

Finally, if you are an international company, you need international employees! Not only for the added information they can give to the team, but also because you need a company culture that practices what it preaches. An international company cannot only be made up of local employees if it truly wants to embrace its commitment to serving clients worldwide. Be sure not to hire international employees just to “check a box,” so to speak. If your intent is just to look like you understand the international needs of your industry without putting that into practice, it will be evident to your team and everyone around. Be intentional with your hires – focus on finding team members who are passionate about your industry, who are teachable, and who have the experience you need to make your business succeed.

What are the best practices for recruiting a global workforce?

Find the Right Fit

The current job market could be accurately described as “overwhelming” for employers and potential employees alike. Every industry will experience this differently – some have an overabundance of applicants, while others are in serious need of new hires. Whatever the case for your company, it’s important that you find the right fit for your needs when looking for a new employee, and it’s equally important that you (or the person who does the hiring in your business) have the ability to discern which of the many applicants is the team member you are looking for.

Thankfully, there are a lot of resources for searching for potential applicants. Places like Indeed.com, LinkedIn, Monster.com, and even Craigslist are all great resources for you to find dozens of resumes from around the world that could fill the position you are hiring for. You can post the description of the position on one of these sites to let people know that you are hiring. Make it clear that where they live is not a hindrance to doing the job – though they need to meet specific qualifications and have the access and ability to do the job remotely. Be sure to include as many details as possible to help you encourage the right people to apply; for instance, if you want them to have a certain internet speed available, or work specific hours in your time zone, you will want to include that information so everyone understands the expectations.

Manage your team well – and be flexible!

Even people whose chairs sit two feet away from each other are likely to find themselves on the same video conference at some point. Technology has taken a stronghold across every industry, and there is no escaping its reach. That gives you the chance to do one thing that every international employer has to do: Be flexible. When you are working with different time zones and availability, it may be frustrating to work out a schedule that suits everyone. But the smart employer recognizes the need for flexibility – even if there are strict deadlines to be met, it doesn’t mean you can’t offer your global employees some freedom when it comes to getting the work done. This freedom will open you up to many more qualified employees who may be otherwise unavailable if the job was too restrictive.

In other words, don’t micromanage. If you hired this team member, it’s because you trust them. Some industries have to adhere to strict deadlines and processes, and it’s important to follow those guidelines. But you don’t need to hover over (or surprise video call) your team members – instead, set your expectations for the task they are managing, give them the information they need about any regulations or rules they must follow, and be available to support them as needed. Most employees work best when left to complete their tasks in the way that makes them most efficient.

Expand Your Global Communication and Support

No one likes dealing with an IT issue at 5:00 pm on a Friday. But even more difficult would be dealing with an IT issue at the end of the week while trying to solve it from two continents away. It is critical for you to have tech support available for your team, no matter where they are located. This doesn’t just apply to connectivity issues – if a team member in another country needs a new desk phone, how do they go about receiving one? Who sets it up for them? Work out these logistics ahead of time so you are not caught unprepared in the moment.

One way to address this issue is through communication. It sounds simple, but it’s surprising to see how many companies struggle to communicate well, both internally and externally. Don’t assume your newer team members are familiar with every process you have in place. Instead, find a way to communicate that allows all team members to have the information they need before they need it.

Again, you don’t need to hover over an employee’s desk and ask them over and over if they know how to submit a ticket to the help desk for a new keyboard. But over-communicating is always preferable to under-communicating, so find methods that allow your employees to access what they need to know at all times. This may be a shared online document or a section of your company’s intranet or even a printed sheet that an employee can place in their desk to refer to later. Ask your team members how you can best communicate with them and plan accordingly.

Working in a global market means taking big steps – but it also means achieving great things. When you take the time to plan ahead and look for innovative ways to truly become a global company, you will see big results.

April 12, 2024 Alex Warner