Although today’s global pandemic and the resulting economic turbulence are hurting some industries harder than others, it’s likely that everyone will feel some effect. If, before the crisis, your organization’s goals or plans included international expansion and hiring, you may be trying to figure out how and whether to proceed.
Protecting your organization and workforce during this turbulence starts with adapting to the present—and keeping one eye toward the future. Here are some things to consider as you plan your course of action.
Rethink which countries offer the most opportunity
You may already have a target list of countries you’d like your organization to hire in and expand operations. But current conditions may require a temporary shift in strategy—such as hiring in one or two countries rather than your originally planned five. As you prepare your organization to weather the storm, diversifying your global footprint can help ensure you’re ready to move forward once economic and health conditions improve.
For example, it may make sense to shift some operations and hire workers in a country where labor costs in your industry are more favorable, especially in an unsteady market. Or, it could be evaluating your existing client base—are there certain countries not already in your plans where you can expand to better support your clients and their changing needs?
Another area to consider is your network of independent contractors and how you can expand your presence in a country where you already have a concentration of valuable contributors. If you converted your contractors to employees, not only would you be protecting the organization from the risk of misclassification—be aware that governments will likely be cracking down on employment violations as a way to bring in revenue—you’d also be protecting your talent pool into the future.
By hiring your contractors as employees, and thus securing their employment in this climate, you’re showing that you value them and their contributions, and you're protecting a workforce in a market that could prove beneficial in the long term.
Review your benefits program and adjust where necessary
In addition to securing their employment, converting independent contractors to employees also makes them eligible—or even required, depending on the country—to receive employee benefits like paid leave and health coverage. Among the many lessons this global pandemic has taught us, is just how important benefits like paid leave and health coverage are, not just for employees, but for society as a whole.
As you evaluate where your workers are now—and where you want to hire in the future—an important thing to keep in mind is what the employment requirements are in the country and how they correspond to additional benefits you currently offer or need to offer to stay competitive. Also: whether benefits, required or not, will affect your relationship with your employees.
In France, for example, if an employee takes leave due to illness, that suspends the work contract and the employer's obligation to fully compensate the employee. The French Social Security Health System would pay the employee a daily benefit, and the employer would only legally be required to make up the difference between that benefit and the employee's normal compensation.
Evaluate all options for remote work
As companies have shifted previously in-office workers to remote, some employees may seek to quarantine in or relocate to regions away from the office—whether to be near family support, save on expenses in an area with a lower cost of living, or any other reason. The challenge for HR becomes how to keep remote workers lawfully employed when they seek to reside in a country where the company doesn’t currently have an entity.
Seek guidance and external expertise
As you steer your organization and workforce through this global crisis, navigating challenges in new or unfamiliar global markets, you may find there’s a lot of “you don’t know what you don’t know,” so seeking expert consultation becomes imperative.
Talking with a trusted resource like an employer of record, one with in-country expertise all over the world, can help you understand the current situation as it relates to your hiring and expansion plans and offer guidance based on countless employment situations and challenges solved over time.
An employer of record provider can also help you be agile in a time when adaptability is required:
- Onboarding employees in a new global market in as little as two weeks
- Converting your valued independent contractors to employees to reduce risk
- Bringing on workers in a country where you can save on labor costs
- Keeping your workers even as you dissolve your foreign entity
- Allowing you to employ remote workers in countries where you don’t have an entity
Contact us today to speak with a global solutions advisor and learn how Global Employment Outsourcing (GEO) may be the solution you need to adapt to today’s tough climate and position your organization for success in the future.