Don’t Steal the Dream of Your Overseas Employees #SHRM19


Five years ago there was only a handful of Global HR vendors at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition. In recent years we have seen a significant increase and #SHRM19, welcomes a great selection of global expansion and mobility firms, global payroll and benefit providers plus law firms offering legal advice on overseas jurisdictions. 

So why are HR professional so important in helping their companies with overseas growth? Mainly because in terms of the overseas expansion budget HR costs are at least 60 percent of the total budget. So without careful planning things can go wrong and not just on the HR front... Just weeks after opening in April 1992, the five billion Euro Disneyland outside of Paris was in trouble. Ten percent of its employees had quit, protesting farmers blocked the entrance with tractors, and critics condemned the pollution of French culture. How could Disney, a hugely successful and highly respected company with a worldwide brand and a record of successful international expansion, find itself in this unenviable position? 

Even for the most successful companies, international expansion can be exceedingly difficult. From world-renowned operations such as Disney to fast-growing start-ups the unexpected challenges—and even failures—of expanding overseas often can be attributed to people. When a firm is contemplating expansion, who it hires, how it trains and manages those people, and how effectively it ensures that the culture and competitive advantages that sustain the parent company are translated to a country’s specific market and culture are critical determinants of success. 

Successful international expansion hinges on having the right talent. Hiring overseas is about more than identifying top performers; it also is about understanding the constraints in attracting and ultimately retaining talent. 

There are two primary approaches to staffing an overseas operation: Send existing home country staff (expats) or recruit talent locally. The right staffing decision will be the product of a set of unique, often complex, and constantly evolving factors specific to the firm in question. These factors include but are not limited to the industry, company size, budget, and the market, labor force, and laws of the target country. 

Retaining the best talent is a key ingredient of a successful international expansion. But, as Disney found out, it is no guarantee. 

Today, nearly 30 years since its inauspicious opening, Euro Disneyland—since renamed Disneyland Paris—has a host of well-staffed restaurants and nary a tractor in sight.Whatever the case, it’s clear that the world is smaller than ever and international operations are increasingly important. The axiom that people are a company’s most valuable asset is truer than ever when expanding overseas. Deliberate consideration for talent acquisition and management will do as much as anything to bring about success. So for both experienced global HR professionals or those in HR looking to develop the global side of their career, why not visit the global educational track at this year's conference. There are sessions on global expansion and leadership plus much more. 


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