How Can You Build an International Workforce? Tips for Success

In the past, many employers dismissed the idea of building an international workforce. Those who could attract local talent considered it unnecessary. Others didn’t have the resources to support remote teams. No more. Why? The market for talent is vastly different today than when the pandemic began three years ago.

Welcome to a New World of Work

Even if you’ve only glanced at business news recently, you’ve seen the signs. Several rapidly changing trends are rewriting work-related behaviors, norms, and expectations in significant ways.

Employees are working from home in unprecedented numbers. And they’re quitting their jobs at higher rates, despite inflation and other economic warning signs. In fact, people are more mobile than ever.

What’s more, these trends aren’t limited to a few isolated professional groups or locations. Now, you can see evidence of these changes in every corner of the world. So, what’s the key takeaway from all of this upheaval? In my opinion, it all points in one direction — to the rise of a truly international workforce.

Why Choose an International Workforce?

According to government statistics, roughly 75% of global purchasing power lies outside the United States. And across that global landscape, an international workforce has sprung up, filled with talented, driven people who are eager for employment.

Fortunately, many crucial technologies are now available to help employers find and hire an international workforce. For example, these tools are designed to assist with everything from identifying the right candidates and onboarding new hires to ensuring that payroll complies with regulations in an employee’s home country.

Employers with a modern, cloud-based HR technology ecosystem can integrate these tools into their existing tech stack with relatively little disruption. But whatever applications you choose should be based on a holistic talent strategy. In other words, you’ll want to develop a plan that considers all the issues and benefits associated with international expansion.

But for many organizations, the reasons for going global are compelling. Competition for qualified talent remains intense. And now that flexible work models are becoming a standard, the reasons for U.S. companies to go global are clear. It has never been easier to attract and retain the talent you need by expanding your geographical footprint. But employers who want to succeed should focus on these key steps…

How to Hire a Truly International Workforce

1. Uplevel Your Talent Acquisition Efforts

Many employers continue to act as if their sourcing efforts are still limited to a specific geography. But that’s no longer the case. Today’s qualified talent pool is global. So, if you make the most of this competitive opportunity, in no time you can expand your applicant pool.

The U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on exceptional workers with specialized knowledge and experience. Not even close. By limiting yourself to domestic workers, you also limit your company’s potential.

Obviously, a major advantage of global hiring is the ability to quickly fill high-priority roles. But there are other valuable benefits, as well.

For instance, if diversity is important to your organization, an international workforce opens the door to fresh perspectives. Embracing people with various points of view brings the kinds of insights that help businesses grow and thrive. In fact, diverse teams are 1.8 times more likely to be prepared for change and 1.7 times more likely to lead market innovation, according to Deloitte.

This also sends a powerful message to potential hires and customers about your commitment to diversity and inclusion. For example, having an internationally diverse workforce is a strong selling point for 67% of candidates looking for a new job.

2. Find Local Partners You Trust

Thus far, we’ve discussed one type of remote hiring — accepting applications for remote roles from people around the world. But there’s another type of remote hiring with massive implications. It’s when companies want to rapidly enter a new geographic market.

In the past, businesses breaking into a new country like Thailand might have acquired a Thai company to absorb its workforce. This can be slow, time-consuming, and costly. And it may even be a cultural mismatch.

Now, this process is no longer necessary. Today, through remote recruiting, businesses can simply hire the remote workers they need in Thailand, and work with them to implement a rollout in that country.

This raises a related question: How can you trust a remotely-hired partner to build your business in another part of the world? Ultimately, the answer is the same as it would be for a domestic candidate.

This means you’ll want to complete the same type of due diligence. Ask for references. Conduct multiple rounds of interviews. If possible, begin with a probationary trial period, so you can clarify each candidate’s skills and culture fit. Although hiring an international partner might seem like a bigger decision than hiring a domestic candidate, the same basic rules apply.

3. Leverage New Technology to Drive Global Growth

Certainly, global hiring isn’t simple. Setting up operations in a new work environment — with its own distinct customs and employment laws — requires specialized knowledge that isn’t readily available in most organizations.

What are the local laws around hiring and firing? What kinds of expectations do employees bring to their day-to-day work lives? What are the labor laws? How are things like cross-border compliance monitored? These are essential questions when hiring globally, and it’s imperative that businesses build their knowledge base so answers are available when they inevitably arise.

Fortunately, in recent years, many technology solutions have emerged to help businesses deal with issues like these. AI-powered platforms can readily streamline the process, integrating team members from across the globe while staying on top of compliance. In fact, platforms like these can transform the entire process, allowing companies to quickly expand into new markets and establish a local presence anywhere in the world.

Final Thoughts

At this point, the barriers to forming a truly international workforce are almost purely psychological. There is no shortage of skilled workers across the globe who are eager to make an impact at U.S.-based companies. And there is no shortage of technology-based solutions that can make it as easy to hire those workers as it is to hire someone down the street.

What corporate America does need is a psychological shift. Employers need to be willing to think beyond borders, get creative with hiring, and tap into the power that an international workforce can offer. The rewards are clear and abundant. All we need is the will.

The 3 C’s of a Great Global Hiring Strategy

The pursuit of new markets is part of many companies’ long-term growth strategy, as is global expansion. From small businesses to enterprise firms, the key is to involve people. Companies need to be able to create a viable strategy for hiring, managing and keeping people — wherever they expand to.

But that’s not a simple task. There are numerous challenges in hiring employees globally — including local employment laws and regulations, differing cultures and expectations, and different languages. When it comes to background screening, it turns out that not very many companies are prepared to meet the challenges of global hiring. And that can mean a critical gap — in time-to-hire, in number of successful hires and in getting a new global location up and running.

What’s the answer? Global background-screening platforms that help companies put all the pieces together in one integrated system. It’s a vital part of a coherent and effective HR strategy. But HireRight’s Employment Screening Benchmark Survey for 2018 found that background checks are not being used nearly enough for either global employees based in the U.S. or employees based outside the U.S. This is a survey of more than 6,000 human resources professionals. The results are telling:

  • Only 16 percent of respondents said they verify the international background of U.S.-based employees.
  • Fifteen percent said they screen employees based outside of the United States — a 2 percentage-point increase since last year, yet still down 4 percentage points from 2016.

Despite global expansion and an extremely tight job market, we’re doing less to screen employees outside the U.S. than before. Few organizations have developed a formal global screening policy, yet 66 percent of those HR professionals said they struggle with finding qualified candidates, and 55 percent struggle with employee turnover. We know that background checks enable companies to make better hires. The survey found that 84 percent of employers, global or not, benefit substantially from background checks.

But there’s more to it than that, particularly in the context of global hiring. Too many companies expand without a game plan in place on background screening — and no matter where they are, candidate expectations include being able to apply and communicate via social media and mobile and not having their applications stuck in neutral over stalled paperwork. If you have problematic screening processes, there will no doubt be another employer that offers a far better experience. And we know that experience is a key driver not just of candidate experience, but of employee engagement once hired.

So here are three essential elements to look for when tackling background screening for your global hiring.

Be Consistent

From a managerial perspective, it’s imperative to have a way to handle the increasing complexity of global background checks. One effective strategy is to partner with a highly capable background screening firm. There are a number of advantages to doing this, but a key factor is that global expansion often creates not only administrative redundancy but a whole range of unintended gaps and inconsistencies, depending on the location.

When a corporation can partner with an outside provider and integrate a background-screening platform into existing functions, that provider should also have the expertise with regards to its data handling requirements in a range of locations, yet be able to bring all functions into a universal user experience. Consistency across the board, no matter whether it’s in Kansas, Hong Kong or Madrid, may save litigation headaches later.

Be Customizable

Laws and regulations are markedly different depending on where you’re hiring. Ambitious companies need and deserve to be able to hire a global workforce and answer to local compliance and regulatory changes. This means a screening program that can be tailored to answer to the unique laws, cultures and languages of any location is vital — but so is a program that can change and scale with the company, offering the same results and increased quality of hire, safety, security, regulatory compliance and employee retention, no matter the scenario.

Be Comprehensive

Each company has different preferences as to the way it wants background screening conducted and delivered, and different policies for the how, why and what of background screening. But a fractured approach that reaches back toward the paper-heavy ways of the past to cover global needs won’t work. Companies need increasingly efficient tools to function in this intensely competitive job market — where complexity has multiplied due to both global expansion and sourcing international talent.

One single platform that can handle the company’s needs, adapt to changing laws and regulations, and deliver accurate screening and usable, meaningful data on the entire process is the answer.

These three C’s should be essential qualities in your chosen background-screening platform. Look for a suite of powerful functions, able to do the heavy lifting for you, including reaching out into databases, public media and local criminal records as available in over 100 countries to provide clear answers as quickly as possible. Global coverage isn’t about being spread thin and having to resort to redundant tools to cover all your bases. It’s about meeting all your needs efficiently — managing costs while delivering accuracy, so you can make great hires, offer a smooth and fluid candidate experience no matter the language or location or culture, and feel secure that when it comes to global background screening, you’ve got it covered.

This post is sponsored by HireRight.