Expanding Internationally? A 5-Step Process to Ensure Success

Businesses expand internationally for a range of reasons, from building revenue and launching new partnerships to increasing their talent pool. One of the best ways to beat the competition is to stop looking in the same markets for the same candidates. Instead, find new geographic areas where you can identify emerging and untapped talent to give your team that competitive edge.


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Whatever the motivation, the ability to quickly hire the top talent you identify, in new international markets, will be among the biggest challenges and will often be the defining influence of success or failure.

So, how can businesses ensure, once they identify top talent, that they can get them onboard quickly? Approaching the process in five steps can help ensure expansion plans move forward:

1. Start With a Solid Recruitment Strategy

For any business, its first hires in a new market can play a significant role in the success of the entire company. That’s why strategic recruitment planning is such an important use of time and resources.

A big part of this preparation is understanding the nuances of local employment laws, employee benefits, and all other relevant issues, from defining staff categories to establishing opportunities for career progression. The aim of the game is to establish an employee value proposition that’s aligned with your corporate culture yet accommodates local differences.

A sensible hiring strategy should also promote your company’s key values to ensure you find people who are the right fit for your organization. While this is true when anyone new is hired, new recruits working remotely from the core business will need to embody your corporate values, energy, passion, and ethics. They will set the tone for everyone else who joins the local teams in the future.

2. Find People Who Believe in the Business

It’s likely that the first people you hire in-country will need to be flexible enough to wear multiple hats and take on tasks that go above and beyond the responsibilities outlined in their job description.

A willingness to be agile is key. People you bring on early need to be strong problem-solvers capable of navigating challenges in a variety of disciplines. They will need excellent social and people-management skills and a “can do” attitude. Finding people with those attributes will help accelerate the process and enable the business to respond to changing or unexpected market trends.

When filling leadership roles, look for collaborative self-starters who can think and act for the common good, facilitate open dialogue with colleagues, and embrace input from team members whose background or experience differs from their own. Local leaders should be capable of setting an outstanding example and be able to inspire and mentor others.

3. Embracing Diversity Is Crucial to Success

There’s no doubt that diverse teams make better decisions, as evidenced in a study by McKinsey and Company, which revealed that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability. Similarly, ethnic and cultural diversity resulted in a 33% increase in performance.

Other studies have found that companies with employees who are diverse in both inherent and acquired traits (gained from life and work experiences) are more likely to achieve market share growth.

4. Attract and Retain Talent

A successful international recruitment strategy will rely just as much on keeping local talent as it does on finding it in the first place. Businesses that can demonstrate a powerful employer value proposition with a compelling benefits package are better positioned to build long-lasting employee relationships than those that fall back on ad hoc, highly reactive tactics.

Employees who feel valued and are given opportunities to develop are more likely to stay and help the local arm of the business grow. Spending more time in the role also helps them embrace and enhance company culture. Businesses that have been successful will often cite the enormous impact their early local recruits had on ensuring the growth of the company in the short and long term.

 5. A Local Mind-Set Supports Global Ambition

Engagement is particularly important for teams that are geographically distant from their company’s headquarters, as they are often in different time zones and have significant language and cultural barriers to manage. But, providing regular communication that shares the wider operational context and clarifies how employees are expected to perform can make a huge difference in how connected local employees feel.

Using video whenever possible for team meetings is an especially valuable way to promote connected relationships with colleagues in order to motivate your new out-of-country team and facilitate achieving shared goals.

For companies that are looking to expand internationally, it can be an exciting time that offers unlimited opportunities. The key is to create the right recruitment strategy and employer value proposition to ensure your new, local workforce will hit the ground running.

Nicole Sahin is the founder and CEO of Globalization Partners. Sahin’s mission is to eliminate barriers to doing business internationally and building global teams. As founder and CEO of Globalization Partners, she is recognized for having created their innovative Global Expansion Platform, which empowers companies to hire anyone, anywhere within a few business days—expanding their global footprint without the need to set up in country branch offices or subsidiaries.