5 Things to Consider when Hiring International Employees

When a company is either starting or expanding a business overseas, one of the first challenges is hiring and managing quality employees to staff their foreign subsidiary. Employees can fall into two categories in this situation: expat workers that are sent on assignment and foreign workers that reside in the new market. Regardless of which type a company hires, there are several key points to remember for recruiting and managing international employees.

Go to the profile of Tim Burgess
Jan 30, 2017
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When a company is either starting or expanding a business overseas, one of the first challenges is hiring and managing quality employees to staff their foreign subsidiary. Employees can fall into two categories in this situation: expat workers that are sent on assignment and foreign workers that reside in the new market. Regardless of which type a company hires, there are several key points to remember for recruiting and managing international employees.

1. Compliance is key.

Every country has its own laws for employment, taxation, pensions and benefits, and in some cases the rules are different for locals than for expats. The rules of the new market should be researched thoroughly to ensure compliance with local employment and payroll laws. This will help avoid any complications with local authorities. While expat workers may be satisfied with payroll arrangements in the home country, foreign workers will want to ensure that their local benefits and payroll conform to the laws of the host country.

2. Recognise cultural and language differences.

Whether a company is managing foreign workers or asking expats to integrate into a new country, both language and culture can present challenges. For expats, some language ability will help smooth the transition, as well as cultural training in the business practices and social customs of the host country. Due to cultural differences, foreign workers may have different expectations from their employer or work duties, and contracts should be explained and responsibilities outlined in the local language.

3. Understand probation and termination policies.

Often, the rules governing probationary or trial work periods will be established by the laws of the host country, especially for foreign workers. Reasons for termination may have legal restrictions that are new for the human resources department that is accustomed to ‘at-will’ employment, and local protections for workers may prevent termination in some situations.

4. Be mindful of employment contracts, non-compete agreements and intellectual property.

Some countries do not have strict laws or guidelines on the use of proprietary information, or how a non-compete agreement will be adhered to. It is essential to determine how the employment relationship will be viewed at the local level, and what protections or remedies may be if place if an employee decides to leave for another company. In some cases, non-compete compensation may be required during the term of restriction. For example, in the Czech Republic, it is equal to 100% of the original salary.

5. Evaluate work experience.

Some types of work experience may not be transferrable depending on the nature of the position. Foreign workers may not be familiar with specialized processes or differing standards in a foreign subsidiary, so careful evaluation of job candidates is required.

Hiring international employees presents unique challenges, but by following a few of these guidelines a start-up can enter the new country and even establish a foreign subsidiary with the staff that it needs, as well as comply with local regulations. For companies that are testing a market or are unwilling to run the payroll in house, a GEO solution can provide a quick start at a reasonable cost, with no concerns about meeting local compliance standards.

Shield GEO makes international employment simple. Our customers use Shield GEO to employ and payroll hundreds of workers in over fifty countries. Find out more

Go to the profile of Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess

Director, Shield GEO Services Ltd

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