When an organization expands overseas or seeks to establish a new overseas location, one of the first and most difficult decisions to make is whether to hire locally or send its U.S. employees or new U.S. hires abroad.
Each option of course has its advantages and disadvantages. The infographic below, The Value of Hiring Local Workers Overseas, presents an overview of important advantages of the local hiring option, along with valuable advice for hiring and managing local country employees.
At first glance, the expat option — sending U.S. employees off to fill international positions — may seem like the easier and less risky alternative. There are no language or cultural barriers to overcome in terms of local country-home office communication and management. There is less to learn about local country payroll administration, human resources requirements and other legal issues that come into play with local country employees. Indeed, untangling the administrative and legal customs of another country can be a daunting task that requires very specialized (and sometimes very expensive) talent to navigate.
Nevertheless, while all the aforementioned advantages of expats are worth considering, there are also many advantages to hiring local, as the infographic shows. While initial staffing may be easier with U.S. employees, ongoing business operations in the foreign location may fare much better with a local staff. Local hires understand the language, the culture and customary business practices. They can quickly forge, or may already have, strong business relationships with local customers, vendors and strategic business partners. In addition to accelerating revenue growth and efficiently managing day-to-day operations, local hires may accomplish all of this at a lower overall compensation cost than a staff comprised of U.S. expats.
The ongoing challenge of hiring local employees is managing from afar. The infographic provides a number of tips in this area of concern. As in all employer-employee relationships, whether the physical separation is six feet or 6,000 miles, steady, two-way communication is important. When the U.S. office is trying to oversee affairs in distant lands, it is essential to provide feedback, solicit input, listen and learn. It’s just as important for headquarters to understand the language and culture of the local country as it is for local employees to appreciate the mission and values of their employer. This all takes work, but the reward is dynamic growth and solid employee retention.
To learn more about this topic that is growing ever more important as international trade expands, continue reading below.
Author Bio: Wei Hsu is Managing Director at INS Global, a provider of comprehensive global expansion consulting services. Hsu has more than 15 years of experience in the industry and focuses on international business development.