Navigating Global Expansion: Challenges, Risks, and the Role of an Employer of Record Service like Atlas

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Atlas Team

Atlas helps innovative companies like yours to expand, onboard, manage and pay international teams in 160+ countries.

Published: 30 Jun 2023

Atlas was thrilled to partner with recruitment agency management platform, TalentVine, to present a webinar discussing best strategies for global expansion when facing new markets. Atlas Enterprise Sales Manager Igor Hadziomerovic and TalentVine Chief Revenue Officer Chris Whittock expertly led the conversation around challenges associated with global expansion, strategies to mitigate risk, and key benefits and considerations when partnering with a Direct Employee of Record Service (EOR) such as Atlas.

As a Direct EOR, Atlas provides a local business entity in your target location, without the use of any third party vendors. Atlas can onboard, manage and pay your staff on your behalf, all while taking on full legal risk, including managing visas, immigration, compliance and advice on cultural awareness, providing you with a time and cost effective solution for global expansion. As you endeavour into hiring overseas talent, here are some key considerations to bear in mind:

Effective Communication and Timeframes

When onboarding staff in a foreign country, it’s important to determine what your language requirements are, and whether English proficiency is essential. The desired level of English may vary, and likely ties into your decision when considering a local vs expat hire. There are generally three levels considered:

  • No English

  • Basic English

  • Business-level English

The candidate and you speaking different languages won't necessarily pose a problem, but you should consider it when planning. In some cases, hiring a bilingual team member to bridge the gap may prove beneficial, but also comes with cost implications. 

Many employers consider basic English proficiency the ideal middle ground, as this candidate offers the benefits of having local knowledge and communication, while maintaining the ability to communicate directly with the employer. However, even in this scenario you must maintain regular communication to ensure all parties understand the desired outcome of a task or project. Things can very easily get lost in translation! Make sure you’re clear and concise in both verbal and written communication, particularly in the early stages of hiring, and avoid using slang, colloquialisms, and acronyms that may not translate well. Choosing a hiring agency with a strong local network and bilingual capabilities can be helpful.

If your requirement is for English to be the primary language spoken, consider that there may be an impact on salary costs and visa processes. While a candidate’s level of experience in a given profession may seem beneficial, does it translate to their ability to work effectively in a foreign market? Additionally, obtaining a work visa can add time to the onboarding process, this is something that Atlas can advise on from the outset.

Communication Platforms and Recruitment Strategies

Understanding favoured communication mediums in different countries is also crucial. While phone calls may not always be the preferred method of contact, messaging apps like WhatsApp or WeChat may be widely used in your target location.

Those living and working in Australia are very familiar with the inconvenience of calls scheduled outside working hours to accommodate different time zones. To minimise out-of-hours calls, you might consider scalable strategies such as creating videos or FAQ documents which can provide overseas recruiters and candidates with essential information upfront, without having to repeat information or wait until the next business day to receive an answer. An application like Talentvine helps you to preload these documents, ensuring consistent brand messaging and creating an equal playing field for agency briefings, regardless of their location. Video interview technology can also be used to allow candidates to express their interest through video applications, overcoming many time zone challenges. 

Considering Finances: Budgeting and Currency Fluctuations

Financial considerations play a vital role in global expansion, and budgeting needs to account for the volume of hires required and potential currency fluctuations. Understanding the market trends and salary guidelines for different roles and countries is crucial. While general reports can provide some insights, they quickly become outdated by the time of their release. Atlas, on the other hand, can provide real-time data insights based on previous hiring activities. 

Additionally, country-specific nuances should be considered. For example, in many parts of Asia, salaries include a 13th-month bonus, on top of additional bonuses. When it comes to hiring expats, if you wish to remain competitive, there may be additional expenses that involve repatriation costs and housing allowances. Recruiter fees are another essential expense to factor in, and Atlas can help estimate these likely costs based on previous experiences.

Create Appealing Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and Role Design

To attract top talent during global expansion, a strong employee value proposition (EVP) is essential. The EVP should be authentic and localised to the target market, emphasising the benefits of working for the company and the role's contribution to the company's growth. 

For example, Atlas partners with many tech and IT companies who offer a remote work structure. But it’s important to consider if such a role is suitable for the country in which it is being hired for? The appeal and feasibility of remote work may vary based on local infrastructure and lifestyle. Atlas will provide you with this local expertise and knowledge to help ensure success.

Also be sure to objectively consider how attractive your role is, and if your brand has recognition in other countries. Consider who your customers would be for your overseas entity, and if your company logos and branding would resonate with candidates in the geography of the new role.

Investing in cultural training for the team can also foster camaraderie and collaboration with the overseas entity. Atlas can assist in ensuring that the EVP is effectively communicated and localised, providing support in attracting candidates.

Is an EOR provider the right step for you?

You may be ready to consider an EOR provider if you’re needing to hire overseas without already having an entity set up in the countries where you wish to hire. Atlas can help you to do so quickly, efficiently, and compliantly. Businesses that operate in industries such as tech & IT, energy, education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare may particularly benefit from working with an EOR, in order to tap into locations with a higher density of experts with the required skill sets, and establish a foundation for expansion.

Find out more about Atlas’ benefits and features, or chat with our sales team about your global expansion journey. For those who missed the live event, a recording of this webinar is now available on our website.

If you want to learn more, talk to our EOR expert.