If you’ve seen the movie “Up in the air”, then you probably remember the scene when the newbie (Natalie Keener) introduces a new concept, “glocal”, which was supposed to save money for the company and help “firing consultants” be more efficient by working remotely.
I love the term “glocal”, operating both locally and globally through simple means of online communication. I also find it relevant because it shows how people can resist change.
Businesses evolve. Opening office after office, looking for expansion, new prospects and new markets. A local company with a tiny office in the UK can quickly become a giant in 5 years, with offices in 30 locations, and now it needs the right talent to achieve its goals.
It’s always exciting to hear about expansions, especially now. My profession as a Recruiter is definitely thriving on expansions.
Here are a few of the challenges you might face when recruiting globally and some tips to help you overcome them during your journey
Limited knowledge about a new market
Might be obvious, but it’s best to avoid any assumptions here. This is a basic market analysis performed not only by recruiters, but also by leaders in order to understand competitors, consumers, level of innovation, salaries, legislation, taxation, et cetera.
Research is the most basic step that a leader must take before making any decisions in setting up a development hub or office. One might be in a situation of not having the means internally to put this together, but local providers are always available for support.
Tip: Perform due diligence before anything. If the decision has been already made for whatever reason, as a Talent Lead you should pause and understand the context.
Incompatibilities of M&A
Another way of becoming a global giant is by merger and acquisition, either your company merged, it was acquired or vice versa, is time to pause and to redefine the company’s culture.
It’s no surprise that disrupting the activity of even one employee can bring repercussions. Some employees are more open to change than others, but before wanting to expand externally, it’s important to define or reinvent what you find internally.
Tip: An easy fix here is to take a step back and revamp your employee’s value proposition.
“Talent Acquisition only refers to acquiring and engaging with candidates to join a company”. This statement has not been relevant in years. The Recruitment and Talent Acquisition departments also look after company identity, culture, value, branding, marketing and employee/candidate centricity, to name a few.
The “One man show”
Sometimes we have a limit to what we can do.
I am part of a Global Team and my focus, as a global recruiter is on one region, the EMEA. This region consists of more than 20 countries and, for me, that’s the maximum any person could do..
I would definitely want to explore other regions, but one at a time.
The concept that one recruiter can focus on the whole globe single handedly at the same time is impossible. Even if we consider lower volumes per market, the time zones alone would be enough to cause anybody to burn out.
Tip: When recruiting globally DO NOT try to do it all yourself. Create a team of experts for each region (EMEA, APAC, CALA, Americas).
It’s easy to fall into the trap of recruiting blindly.
Usually, the Talent Acquisition Partners are based remotely, never travelled to the location they are recruiting for, they only had one call with the hiring manager and so on. If you find your team in this situation, please stop, rewind and make sure you don’t skip important steps.
Tip: When recruiting globally as a TA Leader ALWAYS, always take the time to get the local flavor in the game – I mentioned earlier due diligence – apply it for each location. Talk with the hiring manager but also with the local team, ask for photos, videos, get the vibe and the atmosphere of the office. This will help you understand them and what they need moving forward in their team.
Inability to be present locally
Generally, the TA Team works remotely, it is rare that when recruiting globally companies decide to hire a local recruiter for each and every country.
Tip: Let’s say the recruiter is based in Cyprus, the hiring manager is based in the UK and they need to find a position in Italy. A solution is to involve the existing employees from Italy in any events, conferences, job fairs, referral programs and make them brand ambassadors. Make sure you have a reward for them as well during this journey. You could be a great organizer remotely, without losing the local culture.
The Language barrier
In a global company, it goes without saying that everyone has to speak English. Teams work remotely and this is a basic requirement if you wish to be part of a global company. Now, why can this be a barrier? Even if people do speak English, they will still feel more comfortable to be part of communities where the communication is easy and familiar (groups, meetups, and personal websites/profiles)
Tip: It’s becoming a necessity to use local language when looking for talent. If you are a Sourcer, you might want to use Google Translate and convert your search and use the local language. Also, make sure you use the appropriate greeting of the local language when approaching and engaging with candidates.
I learned a lot from conversations with brilliant Global Leaders in Marketing.
A company’s website is the most basic digital representation of its identity. As I mentioned earlier, everyone speaks English, but is it correct to assume that the audience on your website is a native English speaker?
There are only around 380 million Native English speakers in the world. That’s around 5% of the global population. This means that if you only have your website representation in English, you are taking a risk.
As a non-Native English speaker, I can confirm that different expressions can engage the audience in different ways, mainly because expressions were born at the core of cultures. Usually, a saying has its roots in a historical event in a certain country. “Beat around the bush” is a good example, this is the equivalent of a different expression in my native language.
Moreover, if we look at the American and British expressions, we can see big cultural discrepancies. Imagine how it is for other cultures.
Tip: When recruiting globally, making your website accessible in the majority of the languages is fundamental. As well as ensuring the translation is as accurate as it possibly can be. The “Careers” section must be localized and personalized accordingly. You would be surprised to see multinational companies that are yet to deliver this. Same goes for the global accounts you have on social media. If you are not specific with your target audience, then it’s easy to lose candidates because of your broad representation.
Inability to streamline processes
It’s harder to predict an outcome when your processes don’t follow the same structure. Efficiency is better reflected when companies have processes and structures that give a framework for the “user”.
In this scenario, a global company must have global policies. But what can a TA Team do when faced with the local regulations of specific regions? You might ask yourself, is a global policy above the local legislation? Well, no. The local legislation will always prevail.
Tip: When streamlining a process, run a search with your internal departments, legal, HR, TA and understand any possible clash you might have in the journey of implementing an internal global policy. The purpose of processes is to make one’s life easier, not the other way around.
The trap of using too many tools
I will always be a fan of using technology in our favor. For example, interview scheduling and candidate testing can easily be automated. However, a TA Team can easily fall under the trap of excitement and use too many tools. Do you really need all 10 tools? think about the time you’ll need to inves and the financial investment you’ll need.
Tip: Evaluate what part the tools are playing in your sourcing and recruitment processes and how you can better integrate them. We want a great candidate experience and some of these tools can help achieve this, but it doesn’t help as much if a recruiter is spending his time only on clicking.
assuming all updates are being shared
It’s easy to assume things in a global company. It’s easy for one region to assume that another one is doing the same thing. Whether it’s training or an initiative developed in a certain region, don’t forget to share the experience with the whole global team.
This way, it’s easier to avoid duplicating a project which was already implemented in the company. People, including myself, have this assumption that there is an invisible company clerk who’s taking notes of everything we perform.
Tip: As a Leader don’t assume anything, simply ask in your global meetings for updates, upcoming projects et cetera.
In a nutshell
Even though it might sound strange, when we talk about recruiting globally, we actually need to go back and think locally. By understanding that the local is the key in becoming global, companies will achieve faster their goals.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together” – Van Gogh
Is there always something to worry about?
Find out at our webinar “Building Resilience” 24 June at 12.30pm