Talent Acquisition: The Dos and Don’ts of Global Expansion
If you are expanding your reach to a different country and setting up outreach programs to harness local talent, there are certain dos and don’ts that you need to keep in mind. Avoiding common mistakes and following the best practices will ensure that you get smooth access to top local talent and don’t run into any regulatory issues.
Dos and Don’ts of Talent Acquisition When Expanding Globally
Not every host market or talent pool is the same, so there is no one-size-fits-all talent acquisition strategy you can apply to all the countries you are expanding to. But the do’s and don’ts apply to a broad set of international markets and, with some adjustment, can help you devise a functional talent acquisition strategy for virtually any market.
Dos of Talent Acquisition for Global Expansion (Best Practices)
- Work with the right talent acquisition partner. They don’t have to be local, but they should be familiar with the market more than you are. This would keep you from wasting your time and resources that you’ll inevitably waste if you try and learn about a foreign talent pool by trial and error. It will also allow you to set a strong foot in the market because if you make mistakes with your earliest/first team members, you might set the wrong tone.
- Be transparent about your goals. No matter where you are expanding, it’s a good idea to convey (from the beginning) what your goals, values, and intentions are. It’s also a good idea to be transparent about your compensation. If you are from a first-world country, expanding to a third-world country and hiring local talent, they might see it as a way to relocate to a better country. But if that’s not something you are willing to facilitate and support your employees in, they should know that from the beginning.
- Compare local and international talent costs. If you are looking for permanent/long-term resources, it might be more cost-effective to move employees/workforce from your home country or target the talent pool of a neighboring country to the one you are expanding to if the local talent pool is too costly. In some countries, certain competencies and skills are more highly paid than others. If you have access to more affordable alternatives (as an international company), you should consider exercising them before reverting to the local talent pool. However, keep in mind that many countries frown upon the practice of hiring cheaper foreign labor/talent and might impose certain taxes and restrictions upon your business if you don’t give enough jobs to locals. You should factor that into the cost-benefit analysis of talent acquisition.
- Devise flexible but promising contract structures. In the early stages, especially when you are testing the market, you might not want to commit to the host country or the workforce. And it should reflect in your contract, so locals working for you have the right expectations and mindset.
- Develop compelling and competitive Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) by combining local market norms/practices and international best practices. You don’t want to set the bar so high that it looks unrealistic and disrupts the local job market (like offering unheard-of benefits). But the EVP should be competitive enough to attract the top talent without becoming a disproportional cost burden.
- Develop an outreach strategy based on the local job market culture. For some markets, recruitment agencies might dominate, while others might rely primarily on social media outreach. You don’t want to overspend your recruitment budget by chasing the wrong outreach channel.
Don’ts of Talent Acquisition When Expanding to A Foreign Market (Mistakes)
- Fighting over a narrow local talent pool is a mistake. It’s an issue if you expand to areas within a country where population density is relatively low and talent pools are concentrated in big cities. Even people with very common skillsets might draw a higher pay in such markets simply because there are not many people around to do the job. It’s not just the cost issue. A skewed power structure that is disproportionately in favor of the employees (just like its inverse) will result in instability and turnover regarding management and maintaining an attractive brand as an employer.
- Not taking the time to understand the local job market can have several negative repercussions. It’s probably the worst talent acquisition mistake you can make. Research hiring practices, compensation trends, talent availability, employee expectations, etc., before hiring your first employee. This will keep you from making mistakes like overpaying or under-“offering” to good talent.
- Prioritizing technical competency over values can affect you in the long run. Many companies that expand to foreign countries expect local corporate/workforce values to be different from their home country, so they focus more on competency and IQ instead of values and EQ. But that often results in frictions along the way, and it might even disturb other team members. Even with different cultural norms, the right employee should understand and share your business’ core values.
- Disregarding local leader potential is akin to underpowering your growth potential. It’s another mistake many businesses that expand to a different country make. They keep managerial and positions of power within the original circle/home employees and disregard local talent that might be even better at translating (and meeting) their business goals to the local workforce. The “shift of power” should be subtle and careful but not non-existent.
- Disregarding the power of outsourcing is wrong. Even if you’ve expanded to a country, that doesn’t mean you have to work with the limited local talent pool. Never ignore the option of outsourcing certain tasks, whether to freelancers/teams within the host country or internationally. Thanks to the internet, the workforce is no longer confined by on-premise limitations, and that’s something you should always try and leverage, whether you are in your home country or expanding to a different one.
- Recycling the same selection process that you use in the host country that you had in your home country can hurt talent acquisition. You want the same values, similar or better competencies (ideally at better costs), and similar drive to your employees in the home country, but that doesn’t mean you can use the same selection criteria or process. Revamp it for the local talent and job market.
Navigating a foreign workforce and job market can be challenging, especially if you haven’t integrated with the local corporate culture. The easiest way to navigate this challenge and ensure continuous business success in a different job market is by working with the right global expansion partners. The time and efforts you invest in finding the right partner will prevent you from expending even more effort and resources on things like talent acquisition when you are expanding into another country.