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5 Steps for Creating Your Global Workforce Expansion Strategy

Many companies dream of expanding their products or services across the globe and succeeding in worldwide markets. However, the reality of launching in a new market presents a unique set of challenges for managing employees—many of which catch businesses off guard. Use the five steps below as your carefully-crafted expansion strategy to boost your chances of success and avoid common mistakes.

1. Set clear goals for the expansion with employees

First, it’s essential to go into your expansion with goals that will shape your strategy and guide your efforts in the short and long terms. As you share expansion plans with your employees, make sure they understand your “why.” 

What do you gain by expanding into a new market or even pulling from an international pool of talent? Why is now the right time to make the jump? 

Your existing employees are more likely to give their all through the transition if they understand the purpose behind the growth, so make sure you establish and clearly communicate your goals. 

2. Understand cultural differences when hiring

Finding local talent can be a major pain point for companies that expand into foreign markets. As with any new and unfamiliar endeavor, you’re likely to discover cultural differences that may impact the way business is done in your new region. You’ll also need to understand any local employment laws and the compensation standards in your new region. 

To mitigate these potential challenges, research your target regions before you commit to your expansion. Then, as you’re figuring out your hiring plan, incorporate any insights from your research. It’s possible you’ll need to approach the recruiting process differently, prepare for higher compensation packages, or offer different perks in your new region. Build these learnings into your plan so you’re prepared for the changes. 

Don’t forget that it may also be an option to bypass local employees and operate using your existing team or third-party solutions in other countries. You must decide whether you’d benefit from having on-site team members available, working in the local time zone, or speaking the area’s native language. If you don’t need these capabilities, it may make sense to expand your HQ team rather than investing in local staff. 

3. Consider employment regulations

Speaking of cultural differences, you’ll need to spend some time understanding employment regulations in your new market. Employment practices may feel universal, but in reality, laws and regulations governing compensation, employee safety, and workplace guidelines are very location-specific. Don’t forget to build this step into your research! 

As you look into the regulations that may apply to your business and its employees, don’t forget to explore regulations at the national level as well as the regional and local levels. In the US, for example, some regulations are nationwide while others are state- or city-specific. The same goes for other markets. Non-compliance can be a major issue in some parts of the world, so do your due diligence to cover all your bases. 

4. Prepare to manage global employees cohesively

One element of a global launch that’s often overlooked is the challenge of managing local and non-local employees. In most cases, it’s best to try to keep all employees under one digital roof with a single HR platform. Why? It’ll be easier to connect with teams in new markets and view your employee base as one cohesive unit. 

In addition to your software tools, consider how you’ll manage the day-to-day task of engaging all the company’s team members. Without a clear system for managing your global workforce, it’s common for the teams based in the company’s HQ to feel more important than their far-flung counterparts. So, consider how you’ll connect with employees in your new market and make them feel like part of the team before you launch.

5. Launch and monitor results over time

You may assume that your work is done when the launch is complete, but you’ll likely find that your approach will continue to evolve in the weeks, months, and years after you launch. Don’t be afraid to change processes that aren’t working, expand your new region’s team as you grow, and continue to evolve along with cultural nuances. 

Despite the many challenges of entering a new market, a global expansion is an incredible milestone for any business to accomplish. Use the steps above to set your launch up for success, and don’t forget to celebrate your expanded reach!

Working with a global provider will give you peace of mind that your business administration, HR, compliance, and payroll needs are covered in the U.S. and overseas. Contact us today to learn how our team of experts can assist you in a successful global expansion!

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