Why NGOs should rethink their approach to global hiring

The people who carry out your NGO’s mission around the world are critical to helping you make an impact. That’s why it’s so important to get hiring right—no matter where the mission takes you. 

But what if you’re struggling with employing workers in your target countriesdue to local HR and payroll complexities, or you don't have a local entity? The various obstacles that come with global hiring can take away from the time spent focusing on your mission.  

Overcome global hiring obstacles by rethinking your approach in three key areas: 

  1. Using independent contractors 

  1. Establishing your own entities and relying on in-house HR 

  1. Operating in complex environments  

Stop relying on independent contractors  

If you’re hiring workers mainly as independent contractors because you think they offer more flexibility, you may be putting your NGO at risk of employment noncompliance. That’s because using independent contractors incorrectly—such as managing them directly or paying for time worked rather than their output—could be considered employee misclassification by the local government. No employer wants to deal with misclassification consequences to have its mission derailed by noncompliance penalties. 

If flexibility is a key component of your hiring strategy, there is a safer option versus relying on independent contractors: partnering with an employer of record (EOR)With an EOR, workers can be hired as employees on indefinite contracts, which gives you the peace of mind that you can count on them for as long as a project takes—without the risk of misclassification. 

So, when a project or initiative wraps up in a country, the EOR will ensure that the worker contracts will be terminated in adherence with all local employment regulations. Ultimately, you aren’t obligated to keep a worker if the project ends or changes focus—or even if funding runs out. 

Learn more: NGOs and independent contractors: How to protect your mission from the costly risk of noncompliance 

Don’t go at it alone—tap into an in-country HR partner  

Traditionally, hiring workers across various countries meant your NGO needed to establish an in-country entity in each country you intended to employ workers in. Not only is entity setup costly, but it’s also on your in-house HR teams to stay compliant with often unfamiliar and ever-changing local employment and payroll regulations to avoid fines or penalties. 

But, there is an alternative to going at it alone.  

An EOR that already has an entity in the country where you need workers can save you time and money and provide you with the in-country HR expertise you need to ensure compliant hiring. In-country HR experts will guide you through employment complexities and customs to ensure contracts meet all labor and benefits requirements. 

Local HR partners will also help you adhere to local employment customs and expectations—as the hiring process itself and packages offered should be ethical. For example, in Canada, 87% of employers provide their employees with extended healthcare benefits to supplement governmental health insurance. Ignore this, and you might not be offering what’s fair and expected of employers in Canada. Because you don’t know what you don’t know, tackling global hiring on your own can put you at a disadvantage as an employer.  

In-country HR experts can also assure the workers themselves that they’re being hired fairly and that all benefits, such as pensions and healthcare, meet local requirements. The experts will also be there to answer any questions the workers may have. Local HR business partners provide workers with a local face to their foreign employer. 

Execute your mission without hurdles in complex environments  

In countries where there are complex political and/or social environments, you may face pushback when trying to hire remote employees for your mission; an EOR can help you overcome that hurdle by acting as the legal employer.  

Because an EOR is the in-country hiring entity, handling all the onboarding, payroll and other HR-related tasks, it is the official “face” of your workers. By taking on the legal employer role, the EOR gives you the freedom to continue your mission despite the local environment. Whether you’re an NGO fighting climate change or protecting wildlife, you’ll be able to further your cause without complications or worry by partnering with an EOR.  

No matter what your NGO does or intends to do, complex political and social environments shouldn’t stop you from protecting or bettering that region of the world.  

Related: Global employment guide for NGOs

Rethinking global hiring can enable you to do more good 

Rethinking your approach to global hiring gives your NGO more opportunities to hire the people you need for advancing your mission. 

There’s no need to spend a copious amount of time or money setting up an in-country entity or researching local regulations and customs. An EOR will allow your team to focus on doing the work that will better the world, while the HR partner operates seamlessly in the background.  

Safeguard Global has partnered with various NGOs, including World Wildlife Fund, Wikimedia Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Environmental Defense Fund—acting as their global employer of record. Learn more about how our EOR solution, Global Employment Outsourcing, can equip you with the hiring tools needed to further your mission.  


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