As companies grow in the 21st century, the hunt for talent can often lead overseas. Whether that means establishing an office in a foreign country or simply hiring freelancers from abroad, those practices come with their own sets of challenges:
- Corporate culture
For all three of these, the key might be to treat your overseas employees as if they are based in the home office. With today’s technology, that’s easier than ever.
When a new hire is onboarded at the home office, they are often forgotten about once they get comfortable and don’t need as much support. The same happens for international employees. In fact, it’s even worse because their supervisors can’t just stop by to check in.
To combat this, make sure your international workers are included in every meeting that pertains to their job, even if they don’t have anything to share at the time. Video conferencing can be key here, but even a conference call is better than nothing. Hearing the repartee between their team can really close the gap.
Also, include them in any meetings in which strategy or strategic goals are discussed. Often, overseas workers feel a disconnect to their employer, especially if they are freelancers. This kind of strategy connection can help generate buy-in and improve corporate culture, even across an ocean.
You can never communicate too much with a remote worker, but nothing beats having a supervisor there on the ground. That’s why your most important hire when establishing a new office is your first employee. They will set the tone for the rest of the office. They need to be fully invested in the company’s goals and culture and must be the person most communicated with on the entire team.
Another place where technology can help is in the actual organization of work. There are many task management systems available that can help far-flung employees make sure they stay on the same page. Otherwise, work may be duplicated or, even worse, not accomplished at all.
Overseas workers can represent a way for even small businesses to grow, thanks to the relatively low compensation costs and no need to use expatriate workers from the home office, but it takes a concerted strategy to make the best of the situation.