The decision to expand your business into new markets poses a significant challenge for organisations across the industries. From having to communicate with people based overseas, to cultural challenges, understanding the laws, fees and tariffs, through to adapting documentation and processes, there are numerous aspects that need to be considered. One of the main challenges the businesses tend to face is the manpower requirements for operating in a new country.
Companies that decide to hire the entire new team will have to face a significant financial investment. Those who choose to transfer their existing team to new location, will still encounter a challenge of having to replace the “lost” employees in the original location. While having to face the staffing challenge is unavoidable, it can be addressed and resolved successfully.
Below is a list of some of the HR and recruitment challenges that companies face when expanding into a new market and tips on how these can be approached.
Lack of resources to execute high volume hiring
Recruitment is the fundamental element of expanding business into a new market. The question that needs to be answered here is: how will your organisation find and hire talent for your new location. There are several strategies to choose from:
Temporarily transferring your permanent team to the new location
Handling majority of hiring process remotely
Outsourcing the recruitment process to a specialized provider
For most companies, the mixture of all three ingredients usually works best. While transferring some team members to the new location will help to ensure that the new hires are good fit culturally, using remote hiring methods will allow other people to participate in the parts of the hiring process (when and if required). Additionally, working with a recruitment outsourcing vendor will provide the capacity to handle high volume hiring in a short space of time, any required technology and access to local market knowledge.
Lack of local market knowledge
Companies that plan to expand to a new location conduct in-depth market analysis and research. In the area of staffing, there are several aspects that employers consider:
Employment laws and regulations
Quality and supply of talent
Average salaries and costs of living
Employment and hiring trends
However, the level of knowledge required to execute successful hiring in a local market is much deeper than strategic data. The hiring (TA or HR) team will require information on the local job boards, sourcing channels that work for specific skills and communities and typical hiring processes.
As mentioned, the market knowledge is something that can be acquired by working with a recruitment outsourcing provider or simply through partnership with a consulting agency. Chambers of commerce and other business membership organisations, especially those focusing on the subject of FDI might also be able to provide this kind of information and advice to your team.
As an experienced entrepreneur, CEO or business owner, you likely already have a list of contacts who you can work with and get advice on operating in the local area. If you don’t have such a list just yet, it’s time to start building your network.
Local culture vs corporate culture
An important challenge to consider is the local culture in the context of the culture of your organisation. It might be worth mentioning here that by company or corporate culture we mean the entire system of policies, values, mission and beliefs shared by employees of a given organization. It is something that informally guides the thinking processes and behaviours of employees across different departments and levels of your company. Majority of successful businesses have a well-defined corporate culture that needs to be maintained when opening up in the new markets.
However, values and expectations of employees, as well as the way of working vary greatly from place to place, which can make it challenging when trying to implement corporate culture.
The first step to overcome those obstacles is to identify and factor in all those cultural differences. These will (and should) impact the implementation of your systems, processes and procedures. On the practical level, that might mean having to set ground rules and agree on frameworks while allowing the local team members work out the details. It will allow you to adapt your corporate culture into the new cultural logic of a foreign environment.
To ensure success, business expansion projects need a customised and structured process for recruitment that takes into account elements such as your current resources, local market knowledge, culture, and networks of contacts who you can partner up with to set up operations in the new market.
If you’d like to know how M3S could help you expand your business, check out our blog on 10 steps that we take on a relocation recruitment project.