Expanding your business internationally is no small feat. On top of the necessary long-term financial plans and market research, international expansion requires companies to address and overcome language barriers, cultural differences and hire new employees. A common practice during internationalization is to relocate existing employees from within your talent pool, to get the new location up and running. Often referred to as Global Mobility, the seamless transition of team members from one location to another is hardly simple.
What is Global Mobility?
Global mobility is a company or corporation’s ability to successfully relocate its employees to offices in different countries. This covers every aspect of employee relocation, from the actual logistics of the move to immigration, employment laws, income tax, social security obligations, and more.
For example, suppose a surfboard company in Southern California is ready to expand its operations to the beautiful shores of Cape Town, South Africa. In that case, it might want to relocate its top salesman or surfboard shaper to start with its best foot forward. In this situation, true global mobility would require:
- Employees that are ready and willing to relocate
- Employees that speak or will train to speak Afrikaans, Zulu, and Xhosa
- Company funds to cover all financial aspects of an international move
- The securing of a worker visa
- Compliance with all international tax, employment, and immigration laws
- A team to ensure all of the above takes place in the shortest timeline possible
Challenges of Global Mobility
Workforce Expectations vs. Reality
One of the main challenges of global mobility is identifying talent who can and are willing to take on international assignments. Today’s workforce prominently features a generation that favors flexible work environments and relocating only if the new location is a popular destination. Companies opening offices in less trendy areas may have a hard time convincing their top talent to relocate.
Language and Culture Barriers
Another challenge of global mobility is adapting to different cultures and overcoming language barriers. According to 2019 U.S. Census results, a mere 22% of Americans speak a language other than English. Even if your employee falls into that 22%, there are no guarantees that they will be ready to operate fully in a new language.
Culture plays heavily into buyer personas and expectations. Selling your products or services in a metropolitan area will not (and should not) look the same as selling them in rural markets. An individual’s culture will steer them towards a product or service that fits into their comfort zone. When expanding your business globally, a true understanding of those cultures is hard to come by without embracing the local talent pool.
Cost of Relocation
The cost of an international move for an employee quickly adds up. On top of plane tickets for the employee, family members, and pets, relocation policies typically cover transporting household goods, selling and purchasing fees for homeowners, short-term housing, language courses, and more. Often, companies will also cover locating schools for employees’ children and even assist in finding spouses a new job.
What Does a Global Mobility Team Do?
A global mobility team exists to provide any relocating employee with dedicated support for any concerns that may arise during an international move. This covers the legal aspects like securing worker visas and creating expatriation letters, and the monetary needs associated with an international assignment.
Global Mobility Alternative
There are ways for corporations to expand into new markets without uprooting current team members, struggling with language barriers, or making cultural missteps. The solution lies heavily in connecting your company to the community via a local workforce. These new employees will have a lifetime of knowledge concerning local culture and will be fluent in the language and business practices in the area.
Global Employer of Record
A Global Employer of Record (EoR), also known as an International PEO, takes on the responsibility of onboarding local talent, manages payroll and benefits, so companies can focus on running their business. Global EoR effectively cuts out the time, money, and stress attributed to an international relocation.
Benefits of Hiring Local Employees
- Hiring locally is a simple process
- Local employees are already familiar with area cultures and practices
- Expats are typically far more expensive than local employees
Benefits of Global Employer of Record
- Time saved from outsourcing difficult HR and payroll-related tasks
- Compliance with all local employment and tax laws
- Onboarding process is informative, quick, and easy for both the supported employee and client
Expanding into new markets and countries is an exciting time for any company, but relocating employees can be a headache. Working with a Global Employer of Record makes moving into a new market just a little bit easier. They handle the onboarding, HR, payroll, and benefits processes for new supported employees and ensures compliance with local laws and regulations. This allows your company to do what they do best and leaves the paperwork to the professionals. If you decide to choose a Global Employer of Record partner, make sure that you’re asking the right questions beforehand. With the right partner, your new location will be set up for success and poised to thrive in an exciting new market.