In today’s global world, companies are expanding beyond their borders, setting up sites worldwide to better serve their customers. The growing trend towards remote and hybrid working models has also enabled companies to hire a more diverse workforce without geographical limitations, resulting in them managing employees worldwide, across continents and timezones. 

Multinational companies have unique challenges, such as adhering to the local laws and regulations in each country they operate in and building a cohesive culture among employees working in different countries. Let’s take a look at five of the challenges faced by HR in companies that have gone global.

1. Global hiring and onboarding

Hiring employees from around the world results in a more diverse workforce and a wider talent pool. However, many companies don’t have HR professionals working in each of their global sites and must recruit and onboard new hires remotely. Not being able to meet a candidate face to face is a challenge in itself, and the process of hiring an international employee often takes a much longer time as HR needs to verify that all references, credentials, and educational qualifications are sound. There is a very high cost associated with making the wrong hire, and therefore vetting the prospective employee carefully before hiring is crucial. 

Onboarding an employee remotely also has its challenges. HR should ensure that their onboarding process for international or remote employees is similar to that for local employees. They should address the company’s expectations and background and set meetings with relevant peers so that the new hire gets acquainted with the rest of the team. However, when hiring employees from different countries, additional topics may need to be addressed, such as company culture and technology protocols that may not be familiar.

2. International compliance 

Global companies with multiple offices worldwide need to ensure that they comply with the local laws and regulations, which vary from country to country. The main areas to consider are employment law, which addresses employee rights, including employment agreements, notice and termination, immigration and work permits for relocating employees, and tax and social security laws. Having an in-house lawyer proficient in international labor laws will help a company stay compliant. Still, HR also needs to be familiar with the local laws when hiring or terminating employees.

3. Sharing knowledge across borders 

Knowledge sharing is the process of transferring both undocumented and documented information from one person to another. Sharing knowledge increases motivation and productivity, enabling employees to work faster with access to the resources and insights they need.

For companies with multiple offices worldwide, knowledge sharing can be a challenge. To succeed, these companies need to prioritize knowledge sharing by embedding it within their culture and designating it as part of their company values. HR also needs to emphasize its importance to employees from their very first day. 

Finally, HR needs to ensure that the company has an efficient, centralized platform for storing and sharing knowledge that is accessible to all employees. Choosing a platform that can integrate with the company’s other workplace apps will enable automated knowledge transfer and provide employees with the knowledge they need within the tools they already use. 

4. Building company culture 

With employees working worldwide, speaking different languages, and accustomed to sometimes contrasting work practices, building a cohesive company culture can be challenging. It is the responsibility of the HR team to ensure that every employee, wherever they work, feels comfortable and included within the company. 

Sending out regular communications to all employees and scheduling regular meetings for the entire organization, such as all-hands meetings, will help keep physically distant teams connected and create a sense of belonging. A people management platform provides a forum for HR, management, and employees to share company updates and employee milestones and recognize and celebrate individual employee achievements, creating an open, inclusive, and collaborative company culture. 

Say hi to HR that gets the bigger picture

5. Implementing a modern HRIS that supports global teams

Multinational companies can struggle to maintain a culture of cohesiveness among their global teams. An HRIS such as bob provides one centralized platform to manage all core HR processes across the organization, such as compensation management and performance management. Plus, it provides a single source of truth for all employees across sites with all employee data in one place. bob is a fully customizable HRIS that supports multiple languages (US and UK English, French, German, Spanish, and Swedish). It can be localized per site to align with local time zones, date and clock formats, holiday calendars, and currencies. 

From a cultural perspective, a company’s HRIS can be the central source of communication within the company, including company updates, announcements, and recognizing employee milestones and achievements, and engaging global teams wherever they work. 

Think global, act local

It can be challenging for global companies with multiple sites to hire and onboard employees worldwide, comply with international law, share knowledge across borders, and build a unified company culture. HR managers need to address these challenges and create an HR strategy that prioritizes global collaboration and unity. A modern HRIS that supports international and remote teams will help HR managers to manage their processes and employees more efficiently, putting their people at the front and center and creating a culture where every employee feels like they belong.  

Say hi to HR that gets the bigger picture

Ruth Stern

From Ruth Stern

Ruth is a content manager at Hibob. When she isn’t working, she spends her free time planting flowers in her garden and playing the piano.