Tag: human resources

  • Remote Work Challenges for HR

    March 23, 2020

    Tags: ,

    It’s been said the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak has created the largest remote work experiment ever devised.  In fact, there are many recently documented cases where companies have asked at least some of their employees to work from home.  Three of those companies are Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft.

    Remote work, of course, is not something new.  In the past, remote work has been largely reserved for customer service representatives but that’s changed now with remote work being a reality for many different industries across the board.  There’s been a 173 percent increase in people working remotely since 2005.  Additionally, 75 percent of workers say they’re more productive at home.  The reasons:

    • Fewer distractions
    • Less commuting
    • Lower instances of office politics

    The coronavirus aside, there are some real challenges for HR when it comes to looking after a remote workforce.  Chief among them is the strategy for keeping those remote employees engaged the company.

    Remote Work

    Employee Engagement

    Employee engagement is not an easy thing to accomplish.  By and large, it really depends on the type of organization and the type of workers typically employed by said organization.  What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.  When a company then adds remote workers into the mix, one can see how it gets more difficult to see success in a strategy.

    In some ways, it’s easy for human resources to develop this idea remote workers don’t need engagement.  The opposite is actually true.  Remote workers tend to be very productive.  Most statistics back up this claim.  A solid remote worker is typically described as:

    • Self-Disciplined
    • Adaptable
    • Flexible
    • Strong communicators
    • Independent
    • Confident
    • Reliable

    Even with all of that said, remote works want to feel like they belong with the company.  It’s imperative they believe they are important and valued members of the company culture and its community.  Remote workers, just like on-site workers, are susceptible to certain trends such as leaving the organization within the first year and leaving to pursue career advancement opportunities.

    Facilitating Remote Work

    All of that said, there are things company leaders and managers can do to set the engagement of the remote workforce on the right path.

    1. Expectations

    The whole point of remote work is not having to go into the office.  As such flexible work scheduling is typically a piece of the overall remote working strategy.  To be more to the point – workers probably aren’t working a 9-to-5 shift if they’re off-site.  That being said, managers can set particular expectations such as times the employee is expected to be “on the clock.”  Some people refer to these as “busy hours” or “office hours.”  It’s during this time remote workers should be expected to be prompt in their responses to emails and phone calls as well as be available to collaborate with the team.

    1. Inclusion

    Normally when the word inclusion is used, it’s in connected to diversity.  In this particular instance, the focus is not on the inclusion of workers from any other perspective than the fact they are part of a team.  If a team is meeting at the office to discuss strategy or anything for that matter, remote workers should be allowed to participate.  They should actually be expected to do so.  With tools such as Zoom and Skype available, there’s no reason they should not be included in the conversation.

    1. Rewards

    In a lot of instances, brick-and-mortar employees tend to think remote workers don’t work nearly as much.  That’s actually a misconception.  In most instances, remote workers work longer hours than those in the office; about 46 hours a week.  That being said, it’s important to reward these workers.  If they are hitting their goals, that needs to be recognized.

    Productivity Case Study

    One area where companies tend to cringe when it comes to remote work is in productivity.  There are some real fears presented from leaders with respect to workers not being as productive when working from home as compared to those brick-and-mortar employees.  Some of it, like it or not, stems from the need some leaders have with respect to seeing their direct reports work.  Is this fear founded or unfounded?  If the results of one case study (and several others) are to be believed, the answer is definitely unfounded.

    Look to CTrip, China’s largest travel agency.  A professor from Stanford studies whether or not remote work was “beneficial or harmful for productivity.”  It took two years to complete the study and what the professor found is a profound increase in productivity for a group of remote workers over their in-office counterparts.  It wasn’t all “sunshine and rainbows”, however.  Those remote workers did report an increase in feeling lonely and many reported they didn’t want to work from home all the time.  In the end, the recommendation was to create a hybrid of sorts; one that balanced working from home and in the office.

    In summation

    Here’s what we know.  Right now, there are some 26 million Americans who work, at least part of the time, from home.  And that number is only going to grow.  According to a report from Buffer, 99 percent of employees say they want to work from home some of the time for the rest of their careers.  Additionally, IWG says their research indicates 80 percent of workers would choose a position with flexible work over one that didn’t offer the benefit.

    It can only be hypothesized the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to push employers to test the boundaries of remote working.  In doing so, they will have to take a very hard look at their current employee engagement strategies to ensure workers still feel connected to the organization and each other.  While it’s not the single most important thing when it comes to continued profitability, especially in an economy rocked by a worldwide coronavirus outbreak, it will go a long way to ensuring companies can continue delivering on business promises and supporting the bottom line and the company workforce.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • International Hiring Strategy

    January 15, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    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 hrexchangenetwork.com

  • Remote Work Challenges for HR

    March 23, 2020

    Tags: ,

    It’s been said the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak has created the largest remote work experiment ever devised.  In fact, there are many recently documented cases where companies have asked at least some of their employees to work from home.  Three of those companies are Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft.

    Remote work, of course, is not something new.  In the past, remote work has been largely reserved for customer service representatives but that’s changed now with remote work being a reality for many different industries across the board.  There’s been a 173 percent increase in people working remotely since 2005.  Additionally, 75 percent of workers say they’re more productive at home.  The reasons:

    • Fewer distractions
    • Less commuting
    • Lower instances of office politics

    The coronavirus aside, there are some real challenges for HR when it comes to looking after a remote workforce.  Chief among them is the strategy for keeping those remote employees engaged the company.

    Remote Work

    Employee Engagement

    Employee engagement is not an easy thing to accomplish.  By and large, it really depends on the type of organization and the type of workers typically employed by said organization.  What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.  When a company then adds remote workers into the mix, one can see how it gets more difficult to see success in a strategy.

    In some ways, it’s easy for human resources to develop this idea remote workers don’t need engagement.  The opposite is actually true.  Remote workers tend to be very productive.  Most statistics back up this claim.  A solid remote worker is typically described as:

    • Self-Disciplined
    • Adaptable
    • Flexible
    • Strong communicators
    • Independent
    • Confident
    • Reliable

    Even with all of that said, remote works want to feel like they belong with the company.  It’s imperative they believe they are important and valued members of the company culture and its community.  Remote workers, just like on-site workers, are susceptible to certain trends such as leaving the organization within the first year and leaving to pursue career advancement opportunities.

    Facilitating Remote Work

    All of that said, there are things company leaders and managers can do to set the engagement of the remote workforce on the right path.

    1. Expectations

    The whole point of remote work is not having to go into the office.  As such flexible work scheduling is typically a piece of the overall remote working strategy.  To be more to the point – workers probably aren’t working a 9-to-5 shift if they’re off-site.  That being said, managers can set particular expectations such as times the employee is expected to be “on the clock.”  Some people refer to these as “busy hours” or “office hours.”  It’s during this time remote workers should be expected to be prompt in their responses to emails and phone calls as well as be available to collaborate with the team.

    1. Inclusion

    Normally when the word inclusion is used, it’s in connected to diversity.  In this particular instance, the focus is not on the inclusion of workers from any other perspective than the fact they are part of a team.  If a team is meeting at the office to discuss strategy or anything for that matter, remote workers should be allowed to participate.  They should actually be expected to do so.  With tools such as Zoom and Skype available, there’s no reason they should not be included in the conversation.

    1. Rewards

    In a lot of instances, brick-and-mortar employees tend to think remote workers don’t work nearly as much.  That’s actually a misconception.  In most instances, remote workers work longer hours than those in the office; about 46 hours a week.  That being said, it’s important to reward these workers.  If they are hitting their goals, that needs to be recognized.

    Productivity Case Study

    One area where companies tend to cringe when it comes to remote work is in productivity.  There are some real fears presented from leaders with respect to workers not being as productive when working from home as compared to those brick-and-mortar employees.  Some of it, like it or not, stems from the need some leaders have with respect to seeing their direct reports work.  Is this fear founded or unfounded?  If the results of one case study (and several others) are to be believed, the answer is definitely unfounded.

    Look to CTrip, China’s largest travel agency.  A professor from Stanford studies whether or not remote work was “beneficial or harmful for productivity.”  It took two years to complete the study and what the professor found is a profound increase in productivity for a group of remote workers over their in-office counterparts.  It wasn’t all “sunshine and rainbows”, however.  Those remote workers did report an increase in feeling lonely and many reported they didn’t want to work from home all the time.  In the end, the recommendation was to create a hybrid of sorts; one that balanced working from home and in the office.

    In summation

    Here’s what we know.  Right now, there are some 26 million Americans who work, at least part of the time, from home.  And that number is only going to grow.  According to a report from Buffer, 99 percent of employees say they want to work from home some of the time for the rest of their careers.  Additionally, IWG says their research indicates 80 percent of workers would choose a position with flexible work over one that didn’t offer the benefit.

    It can only be hypothesized the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to push employers to test the boundaries of remote working.  In doing so, they will have to take a very hard look at their current employee engagement strategies to ensure workers still feel connected to the organization and each other.  While it’s not the single most important thing when it comes to continued profitability, especially in an economy rocked by a worldwide coronavirus outbreak, it will go a long way to ensuring companies can continue delivering on business promises and supporting the bottom line and the company workforce.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • International Hiring Strategy

    January 15, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    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 hrexchangenetwork.com

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