In an era characterised by unparalleled connectivity and borderless business operations, how we approach workforce management has been redefined. Today, companies are no longer restricted by geographical limitations. Talent is everywhere, and the challenge lies in effectively managing it from all around the globe. As businesses reach out to harness the power of global talent, they encounter unique hurdles — from aligning with diverse cultural norms and understanding complex regulatory systems to navigating intricate economic landscapes.
To decode the unique challenges and solutions in managing a global workforce, People Matters organised an exclusive webinar with Atlas, the largest direct employer of record. Here are some excerpts from the insightful conversation between Liz Bay, Senior Director, APAC Customer Success Leader, Atlas and Shenton Sng, Vice President of HR, SPH Media.
Workforce management in the era borderless talent
Shenton set context for the discussion by explaining organisations looking for talented employees globally is a natural progression of business expansion and revenue growth ambitions. While this push has been significantly expedited by the pandemic, most businesses and startups have been on this journey for the better part of this century. Liz added that since the onset of the fourth industrial revolution, there has been a renewed focus on global talent and local hiring and workforce management practices have given way to a global chessboard of sorts. The enhancement in global connectivity, remote working models and the gig economy have enabled employees and employers from opposite corners of the world to work together seamlessly. This expansion has also spotlighted how companies with global ambitions can manage their workforce, ensure compliance and simplify HR operations.
Culture and compliance: Pillars of global workforce management
Leaders of today are now focusing on understanding the differences in the cultures at their place of operation, Shenton said. In the process of getting closer to the customer, the first step is breaking the silos within the company and removing the invisible barriers that separate local offices from regional or global headquarters. Appreciation for the local culture is a core business practice to prevent the formation of cultural enclaves that are inaccessible and exclusive to a majority of the workforce.
Increasing diversity, inclusivity and collaboration in a global team is imperative, particularly given the new challenges rising due to differences in time zones, communication and work connectivity.
Liz further touched upon the other aspect of this process and explained how, as per the findings of the recent Atlas 2023 Global HR Study, 63% of HR decision-makers find keeping track of local compliance and regulations across multiple jurisdictions challenging. Furthermore, sourcing the right talent in a new territory is one of the biggest challenges facing a company entering a new geographic market. This has highlighted the need for a well-planned global talent acquisition strategy that enables organisations, big and small, to hire beyond local borders and stay on top of the ever-changing labour laws and regulations. In this context, Employer of Record (EOR) providers can offer easily customisable solutions that can enable organisations to scale at speed while staying compliant.
Importance of EOR systems in global workforce management
Liz spoke about how EOR solutions, like Atlas has pioneered, can help globally expanding companies develop the flexibility and balance to implement centralised HR management systems and manage globally located talent without setting up local business entities. It is vital for organisations to look for solutions that offer the complete package, including payroll, benefits and compliance while helping teams understand local cultural nuances and remain sensitive to local norms.
The biggest advantage that a well-designed EOR solutions can offer is the speed with which local talent can be hired, onboarded and made productive, thus helping save costs, time and effort in understanding local regulations. These solutions can help employers stay ahead of the local trends and changes in labour and compensation regulations, making their business operations safer and more efficient.
Another crucial aspect of EOR solutions is enhanced support in visa and mobility. By providing accurate and reliable information on visa application processes, approval duration and documentation, EOR providers can simplify and expedite hiring and operationalising of global talent. An effective EOR solution helps employers understand what the employee needs locally and offers practical solutions to best support the global team in a complex business paradigm.
Role of HR-tech tools
Shenton highlighted how, by documenting the competencies and KPIs of all roles, we can make the global talent acquisition processes more objective and efficient. For instance, if a manager is hired in a location and their competencies are clearly mapped out, hiring someone with similar capabilities in any other location can be easier. This sets everyone on the same level and increases diversity and equity in hiring practices. Secondly, smart HR-tech solutions can help aggregate people’s data from diverse sources to gather richer insights. Liz added that enhanced digital mobility has enabled managers to lead teams across geographical locations and time zones without any lag or delay.
‘A globally connected future’
Measuring the impact and effectiveness of HR-tech and EOR solutions can be challenging if the focus is on the wrong data points. Looking at the improvement in workflows, reduction in the number of steps taken to complete an action and enhancements in employee experience are some ways to identify the impact of such solutions. Next, gathering feedback from employees on hiring, onboarding, and assimilation can further help HR leaders determine how to spend their time smartly by focusing on the unique challenges of a global workforce. To make these HR-tech and EOR solutions even more seamless and aligned to business practices, we need to get managers, employees and HR professionals on board and embrace tools that are set to determine the future of a globally connected work environment.