Looking to build a global company? One of the hardest things facing organizations with global ambitions is creating a team of professionals, from executives on down, able to drive your mission forward. Whether hiring in your country and mobilizing this talent internationally, or drawing directly from the locations you want to be in, it is the people you recruit who can drive success in each market and contribute to overall success.
As the founder of a startup that quickly grew into a multinational organization – and since my company exists to help other businesses move their people around the world – I understand the fears, struggles and challenges from both sides.
From determining the right places to expand to and when, hiring the best people, and creating and maintaining a consistent global culture, it takes a lot of hard work, and many hours on a plane.
No one said building an international company was supposed to be easy – and you won’t be successful without the right talent in the right locations to power the business forward.
Finding Those Shiny Happy People.
When building a global team, it’s essential that your people have both a deep understanding of the industry and deep knowledge of the world – or, at least, the markets in which you want to operate. They should be willing to travel, make cold calls to other companies as needed and work odd hours to accommodate different time zones. ‘
This lifestyle isn’t for everyone, which is why you should never hire just anyone – you need to find the people who share your drive and mission to bring the company global.
You want people with a diversity of backgrounds; pioneers who aren’t afraid to voice their ideas. When cultivating a global company, you’re often literally stepping into uncharted territory. Embracing new and different ideas on how to grow, and avoiding complacency and groupthink, will help you make the biggest impact in those crucial markets.
I like to tell people that it’s better to hire the right people in the wrong location than to hire the wrong people in the right location. Maybe now isn’t the right time to expand to a particular country; it will still be there in 2-5 years, but those diamond-in-the-rough employees won’t be.
That’s why it’s so important to have a strong talent mobility program in place – recognizing the strengths of your leaders and relocating them where they can be most effective.
Travel the World and the Seven Seas.
The ability to take on different assignments around the globe can be a big advantage in your recruiting strategy. Providing the opportunity to lead a team in another country and take the company to the next level will help your organization stand out and attract the best talent. And how those individuals are moved around the world will contribute to their own and the company’s success.
Given the emphasis on employee engagement these days, it’s important that you deliver a stellar experience for those relocating individuals, which can be challenging for a fast-moving global company. After all, this involves more than just providing employees with a workspace and a computer.
You need to make sure they have a place to live in their new country and coordinate with international shippers to get their belongings there, too. Not to mention all of the immigration documents, tax codes and legal considerations involved with moving talent around the world.
Technology can work to automate those processes, but employees may also need emotional support. While taking an international assignment is exhilarating, it can also cause stress and anxiety for new recruits (and their families).
Keeping relocating employees informed and updated before, during and after the move will give them confidence and help them adjust to their new home and their new role.
Next to recruiting the best talent possible, one of the biggest challenges will be creating a unique, global culture consistent for all employees, no matter where they’re located.
One way to do this is with regular face-to-face meetings, like town halls or quarterly business reviews, to keep relationships warm, while integrating your newest hires into the company and its culture. Sure, as your business grows it will become more challenging to get everyone from all corners of the globe together.
But video conferencing and instant messaging can help break down those barriers and build better connections among your international team. It’s also important that this culture be maintained on the local level, through weekly meetings to talk strategy, brainstorm solutions and solve any challenges that arise in their particular location.
As your company expands and seeks to hire more talented individuals, your culture will become a key part of the recruiting strategy.
It will help to shape your employer brand, enabling you to attract like-minded candidates eager to join the team and do the best work of their careers, wherever their expertise is needed.
Don’t Stop Believing.
Many companies have the dream of going global, but not all of them achieve it. In my experiences, people are the biggest contributing factor to success.
But finding the best talent is only one step – you also need to understand where they can be most effective in driving forward your global growth strategy.
By putting the right talent in the right locations, and having the tools and support to move them there seamlessly, you will create a successful, high-performing team ready to help you conquer the world.
Brynne Kennedy is Founder and CEO of MOVE Guides, which she launched in 2011 while earning her MBA at London Business School. A frequent speaker and author on topics of technology, HR and global mobility, she previously worked at Lehman Brothers and Standard Chartered.
Brynne has lived in the U.S., Europe and Asia and founded MOVE Guides after experiencing the challenges of her own international assignments.