• Obamacare going down? While rates are going up? Court Challenges Continue

    January 21, 2020


    A District Court in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional as soon as they dropped the penalty, saying that its elimination ended the tax justification cited by the Supreme Court when they reviewed it.  A group of 17 states filed suit and said that the ACA should stay…but an appeals court voted 2-1 against it.  And the controversy continues.

  • International Hiring Strategy

    January 15, 2020

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    In today’s business world, there is more pressure than ever to maintain a high rate of growth and reach new revenue goals. And growth usually means hiring.

    The work of HR is an important part of that work, especially where fast-growing companies are concerned. There are many reasons why going beyond borders and hiring talent internationally can help a company reach its objectives.

    Why International Hiring?

    Growing globally Grab Market Share

    Over the last ten years or so, companies have seen huge growth, but they’re starting to exceed their size regionally.  As a result, companies are hiring internationally to take advantage of new markets and job applicant pools.

    Debbie Millin is the Chief Operating Officer for Globalization Partners, the organization behind the Global Expansion PlatformTM.  Millin says one popular way companies kickstart their expansion is by hiring sales people in new countries where they want to expand.  At the end of the day, companies need to grab global market share and hiring those workers is a good way to start.

    Competitive Advantage

    Millin says companies are going global earlier and faster than they used to, because if they don’t, someone else can use the idea and set up an in-country competitor.  One example:  Didi and Uber.  Uber didn’t get into the market quickly enough and lost out to Didi.

    Accessing a larger applicant pool

    Millin says you must go to the talent.  As the world continues to develop, it’s going to feel much smaller than it does now.  Organizations must start looking outside their current regional offices to scout the best talent available. Unemployment rates are low, and hiring is competitive so staying in your own backyard could severely limit the talent pool.

    The Contractor Trap

    But acquiring international talent does not necessarily mean hiring contractors. This is one of the common mistakes companies make. Leaders identify great talent in a place like Brazil or France and attempt to hire those workers.  The only problem? International contractor laws are the same as those in the United States; if the person acts like an employee, they are an employee. Following this action opens the company up to significant legal risk and financial penalties.

    Falling into “the contractor trap” really is a trap, because it’s not always easy to get out. If the relationship with the contractor begins to deteriorate, they could easily expose the working arrangement to the authorities, and you could potentially owe back taxes, fines, unpaid benefits and more.

    When companies are truly ready to go after the best global talent, hiring full-time makes the most sense. The best talent wants a full-time role, with benefits, and opportunities for growth.

    Where’s the growth?

    Based on data from Globalization Partners, Millin says the following 10 countries are at the top when it comes to expansion.

    1. Canada
    2. UK
    3. Singapore
    4. Mexico
    5. China
    6. Australia
    7. Brazil
    8. Germany
    9. India
    10. South Korea

    The UK tends to be the first stop after Canada 90% of the time, but that’s changing with Brexit. Companies are more hesitant to enter the UK of with the uncertainty of what Brexit will bring, showing how important it is for companies to be aware of the social and political issues in a country as you plan your global expansion.

    Millin says for HR professionals at companies that have decided to take advantage of the many opportunities associated with global growth, the next step is to figure out how to make it happen.

    The Process

    Decide whether to set up shop in another country

    Opening a compliant business entity in any country is challenging – and some are much harder than others. If the company chooses to set up a branch office or wholly-owned subsidiary, it can take six months to a year, or longer, before the company is legally able to operate in the region, not to mention several thousands of dollars.

    Plus, leaders will need to know about local registrations, bank accounts, corporate/tax filings, administering compliant payroll and benefits in country, and more. Some of the “gotchas” to look out for include bank account setup – it can take months. And some countries require in-person signatures. It’s not always feasible to be physically in-country throughout the entity set-up process.

    Lack of At-Will Employment

    In the United States, companies can hire and fire at will – as long as the reason for termination isn’t illegal. Outside of the U.S., this is an unknown concept. Employers must prove that an employee dismissal is legally justified, and in many countries, that is difficult to do, and evidence must be documented.

    If legal process aren’t followed properly, the company can open itself up to a wrongful termination lawsuit, which can be vastly more expensive, and take years to resolve.

    No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

    Benefits vary from country-to-country and from individual-to-individual. A global company must adhere to the idiosyncrasies of each country’s laws and customs and still offer “equal” benefits to all employees.

    On the plus side, so many countries have statutory benefits plans that in some locations your company may not need to provide supplementary benefits at all.

    Understanding the local market norms can help you stand out as an employer of choice.

    For global teams, HR should shape equitable benefit offerings around perks that maximize the quality of life for the company’s employees within the context of their own culture.  Research what benefits are most valued in a particular location, and what other employers are offering in that market beyond what is required.  This helps the company stay competitive, and gives the candidate confidence from the very first interaction with your company.

    But all of this takes time, as well as local knowledge and expertise, which can put additional burden on in-house HR teams who are managing the process alone.

    Going Forward

    So what are the options? One solution to expanding internationally is to use a Global Employer of Record. An employer of record is an organization that serves as the employer for tax purposes, while the employee performs their work at a different company.

    Specifically, an Employer of Record such as Globalization Partners helps:

    • Onboard employees in over 170 countries
    • Manage payroll and taxes – compliantly
    • Navigate the complexities of local benefits, PTO, and bonus structures

    Working with a Global Employer of Record provides a quick time-to-market, until you reach a critical mass in country, or you can continue with this model indefinitely depending on your business.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on

  • What Workers Really Want – MetLife study about emerging employer trends for employees

    January 14, 2020


    If employers rely on benefits to attract employees, what is it about the benefits that are attractive?  Essentially, alleviating the financial stress people may feel, coming from a variety of sources.  Is that working?  According to the recent MetLife survey, only 64% of employees agree.  With companies of less than 100 employees, that number plummets to 47%.  Surveyed further, the number of employees who agree with the statement “I am interested in having my employer provide a wider array of non-medical benefits I can choose to purchase and pay for on my own,” the number stratified by the length of employment.  Among those with less than five years in the workforce, 73% agreed.  For those with 5 to 10 years it was 69% and it only drops to 66% for those with 10 to 15 years in the workforce.

  • Communication in the Workplace

    January 7, 2020

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    Today’s workforce looks markedly different than it did just 10 years ago. 1 in 3 workers in the US are millennials and this makes them the largest generation in our current workforce. The way this generation communicates makes it necessary for the office to adjust its messaging strategy. What was seen as top-notch communication tech in the early 2000’s has been replaced by new options. As we peer into 2020, let’s take a look at some new ways to communicate effectively with employees both in an office setting and across the globe.

    Video Conferencing

    Utilizing tech to communicate in your workplace is essential. Office spaces that were previously filled with people who interacted with one another daily now house screens and common space workstations. Because of this, video conferencing has become a necessity to build a sense of unity and community within a department. Employees that are in the office are able to see and interact with their coworkers that may be at their home office or even across the globe in a different country via video services like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype. Collaborating on projects no longer requires you to sit across the table from your team as you can sit in front of a computer screen and share ideas and update progress.

    Project Management

    Since it is no longer commonplace to have all employees in the same office each day, managing workflow digitally is a necessity. Sites like Basecamp allow projects to be created and teams assigned to jobs within the project. As tasks are completed, team members update their progress online and everything stays organized. Information is easily shared because anyone can log on and read the latest update or ask for help. Emails aren’t lost in an inbox or spam box as the communication happens on one platform. It’s a great way to manage both a physical or virtual office.

    Sharing is Caring

    There are so many options for sharing files across platforms and with team members. Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive are just a few examples of online tools to assist your team with sharing data, storing information and files in the cloud, and syncing files across multiple devices. These options can range from very basic and free to very secure and costly depending on your needs. Some services only offer small file storage and sharing capabilities and so you’ll want to do your homework to find an option should you have a large image file or data file that needs to be shared.

    TXT 2 TLK

    According to a survey with OpenMarket, 76% of millennials say texting is more convenient and allows them to communicate on their own schedule. 19% of them say they never check their voicemails. Why is this important to you? With millennials comprising the largest percentage of of the current workforce, you need to make sure you are communicating with them the best way possible. Texting to communicate upcoming events, meetings, reminders, or even to conduct employee surveys is a great option for relaying information to your staff. One thing to remember is that when sending a message via text, the context or heart behind the message is somewhat harder to convey than when delivering it verbally. Make sure the message is not open to interpretation so that the end result isn’t skewed.

    As we ring in the new year, take the time to consider new ways to communicate and conduct business in your physical and virtual offices. Test out the methods mentioned here and maybe you’ll find a great new avenue for connecting with your employees!

  • It may work unless it doesn’t – NBER Paper shows pitfalls of Medicare for All

    January 6, 2020


    A recent study by three high-level economists shows some of the flaws in the current Medicare system, which means placing a large bet on Medicare for All may be problematic.  Main points:

    1. Medicare provides more generous access to providers and new treatments than public programs in other developed countries.
    2. Three major shifts make a uniform design less efficient today than when Medicare began in 1965: rising income inequality, a dramatic expansion of expensive medical technology and the mounting economic costs of the plan with tax financing of the system.
    3. The recommendation is not just a blanket “Medicare for Everyone,” but a base system that everyone can use (less generous than current Medicare) with the option of “topping up” for a private insurance plan as a supplement, with individuals choosing their own coverage.

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