When setting up a new arm of your business overseas, the staff you choose are sure to make a significant difference in whether your company thrives or languishes – but before you can even begin the hiring process, you have to decide whether you’re going to find local employees or transfer expat staff from the home branch of your business. At Galvin International, we’ve helped businesses with both options, and we’ve witnessed the benefits and drawbacks of each. Here, we walk you through the pros and cons of hiring locally versus transferring staff, and how to know which approach is most suitable for your company’s international expansion.
Seeking out employees who are local to your target destination can have distinct advantages. If there is a language barrier in your expansion location or you face significant cultural differences, a local employee can bridge the gap between your business and potential customers. Furthermore, if your local employees are already established in the field, they will bring their reputations and relationships to your company, and they may be able to provide you with contacts for suppliers, possible partners and large clients.
However, local staff can also present several challenges. Even if they have experience in your industry, local staff will be unfamiliar with the way your company operates and may require extra training – and if they are not experienced with businesses like yours, you’ll be starting from scratch. There’s always the chance you’ll face a language barrier and cultural differences with the people you hire, as well, which could lead to miscommunication. Finally, you may find that the local talent pool is limited, and that you aren’t able to find the people you need to run your business successfully.
The benefits of transferring expat employees are rather intuitive: since they have an in-depth understanding of your business, they’ll be able to run your operations in accordance with the company culture you’ve created. You won’t have to spend time training them in your company’s policies, and you may be able to get your business up and running more quickly than you would with local staff.
On the other hand, expat staff will lack the insider knowledge about the market you’ve selected, and you may need to provide them with training in the new area’s language and culture. In addition, the transfer of an expatriate to another country when doing business abroad can be expensive – these members of staff can end up costing two to three times what they would in your home country. When deciding whether to transfer staff, you must weigh the importance of their expertise of your business against the cost of their working visa and other expenses.
Making the Right Choice for Your Business
There’s no blanket solution when it comes to finding staff for your international expansion. Sometimes, the right choice is to transfer a single expat employee to oversee operations and hire local middle management and junior staff. In other instances, you may want a full team of local employees. The right hires for your business will depend upon your industry, target market, your budget and a variety of other factors.
Determining the best employees for your situation takes an in-depth understanding of your business and the market you’re pursuing. Our international expansion concierge service works with you through every step of your business’s global growth to help you decide what’s best for your specific situation and implement your decisions effectively. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you expand overseas.