international employees at a meeting

Boost Global Workforce Retention By Overcoming These Five Challenges

In today’s hyper-competitive hiring landscape, HR teams spend months identifying, recruiting, and onboarding top talent. When employees leave for jobs at other organizations, all of HR’s hard work goes to waste—and their company is left with the tab. 

Gallup estimates that U.S. businesses lose one trillion dollars annually due to employee turnover. Replacing individual employees costs companies anywhere from half to double that worker’s salary. Companies also miss out on productivity from the lost employees while HR undergoes the lengthy process of finding, hiring, and training their replacements. 

Retaining Employees Is Harder Than Ever

Unfortunately for HR professionals, employee turnover is not only a serious headache but increasingly common. Millennials, who will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025, are more likely than any other generation to switch jobs. A staggering 91% of millennials expect to spend no longer than three years with one employer. 

At the same time, more and more companies are going remote. Managing remote employees creates new challenges for HR teams—especially those that are suddenly responsible for an overseas workforce. 

When HR does not understand the specific pain points of their international teams, employees become dissatisfied and look for other jobs. That’s why HR needs to give foreign teams the highest levels of care, support, and expertise. By providing an optimal overseas employee experience, HR boosts retention and avoids the high cost of turnover.

Discover five challenges HR teams must overcome to successfully support overseas employees.

Challenge #1: Providing Timely Support

Foreign employees expect the same prompt assistance that HR teams give to employees in their home markets. But time zones are barriers to fast overseas support.

While communication tools like Slack and Zoom make it easier than ever for HR to stay in touch with remote teams, time differences mean that HR is not always available to answer questions immediately. When international employees are left waiting with urgent problems, they feel abandoned and frustrated—and are more likely to pursue jobs where they feel more supported. 

Challenge #2: Becoming a Local Employment Expert

Just like domestic employees, overseas teams trust HR to provide expertise on every question related to pay, benefits, taxes, and more. However, understanding employment nuances in new markets is a time-consuming and tedious process.

From parental leave policies to pension plans, every country has different rules on what employers must provide their employees. HR must take the time to thoroughly understand these employment requirements before entering a new market so they can quickly and accurately answer employee questions. 

Challenge #3: Overcoming Language Barriers 

Clear communication between HR and employees is essential for any successful working relationship. Language barriers create complications for HR teams supporting overseas employees. 

When HR teams do not speak the language of their overseas employees, they must find someone within their company to act as a translator or hire a third-party specialist—both time-consuming tasks that add friction to the communication process. Language gaps also increase the risk that critical information is lost in translation, leading to a loss of trust from employee to employer. 

Challenge #4: Delivering International Payroll Services

While specific workforce needs differ across the world, one thing remains true everywhere: employees expect to be paid fully and on time each and every payday. 

Making errors when delivering payroll for international employees is all too easy for HR teams. Payment inaccuracies frequently occur when HR is not on the same page with other departments regarding employee bonuses, vacation time, or promotions. Converting payments to foreign currencies also increases the margin for error. Furthermore, HR leaders with teams in more than one market must spend extra time learning various payroll interfaces and meeting the requirements of multiple foreign banks. 

Challenge #5: Offering the Right Benefits in Every Market

It’s a job-seekers market, and skilled professionals choose from their pick of employers. When HR teams don’t offer competitive benefits packages in foreign markets, workers with in-demand skills can easily defect to an employer that does. 

Knowing the right benefits to offer in various foreign countries takes time and effort. HR teams must research local markets to learn what employees expect for insurance coverage, paid leave, retirement plans, and more. 

HR must also ensure their employment model allows them to legally offer the right benefits. For example, HR teams that hire foreign independent contractors cannot legally provide benefits in most markets. These companies will be less attractive to top talent until they switch to an employment method that allows them to deliver competitive benefits packages

Overcome The Challenges of Global Workforce Management with International PEO

Larger HR teams are well-suited to provide an exceptional employee experience for their overseas workforce. These HR teams have the resources to divide and conquer, distributing responsibilities to ensure foreign employees have everything they need to feel supported and successful. 

For smaller HR teams that already have their hands full overseeing domestic employees, putting in the time and effort to take care of overseas teams is a heavier lift. That’s where International PEO (Professional Employer Organizations) comes in. 

An International PEO provider acts as a company’s Employer of Record (EOR), taking control of all the back-end details required to ensure a smooth employment experience for overseas teams. Turning to an International PEO partner enables HR to avoid taking on new burdens while ensuring their workforce receives: 

  • Expert local support: International PEO providers offer workforce support across every corner of the globe. With regional experts available to address employment questions in real-time, overseas teams get the knowledgeable support they need, when they need it. 
  • Accurate and on-time payroll: Working with an International PEO provider gives HR teams peace of mind that their workforce will receive correct and consistent payment, no matter how many markets it’s dispersed across. 
  • Competitive benefits: Because International PEO providers act as a company’s legal EOR in foreign markets, the provider legally offers the right benefits for those markets. International PEO providers have the local expertise and knowledge to ensure their supported employees get the most competitive benefits, so companies don’t lose talent to competitors offering a better package. 

Optimize Your Overseas Workforce Experience with Velocity Global

With unrivaled experience hiring and supporting teams across more than 185 countries, Velocity Global helps companies of every size solve their international workforce challenges. Our regional experts provide professionals across the world with the expertise and care they need to feel fully supported—no matter where they are. Reach out today to find out how our International PEO helps you boost international workforce retention.  

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