Go global! - a short guide

Anne-Lise Brown
Anne-Lise Brown ↓ 7 minute read
Jan 24, 2022
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Last year’s world of work was marked by a resonant movement: The Great Resignation. This was more than just a trend, a curiosity for what else is there on the job market, or a striking desire to reinvent oneself - it was a movement of empowerment, led by the need to take control over one’s work and personal life.

This year, one of the biggest challenges for company leaders to overcome will be effectively leading transformation in the midst of a rapidly changing working world. The bright side is, with remote working being the norm now, a broader talent pool is available for companies, and finding a good fit for their organizational culture will bring them one step closer to building a stable, reliable, and performant team. In our latest article, we focused on managing dispersed teams, we touched on global talent acquisition and offered a sneak peek into the subject of recruiting and managing globally, which we now aim to dive deeper into.

Before starting the journey of recruiting, hiring, and managing globally, there are a few aspects that need to be accounted for, and a global outlook should encompass the understanding of different cultures and the specificities they can bring to one’s business. Without further ado, here is a short guide to expanding your team.

1. Building talent hubs

While there are people around the world who are willing to adjust their schedules with different time zones, the best long-term solution both for the company’s efficacy and the employee’s satisfaction is building talent hubs in different geographic regions that are aligned with the company’s needs and developing goals. This way, recruiting efforts are better directed towards the targeted candidates, interviewing and hiring follow a more homogenous direction, and the teams built are more cohesive, providing a feeling of belongingness to the employees.


2. Choose your spot

Entering Europe can be a milestone for a company that seeks international growth, but also a challenge in accounting for diversity, from climates, to values, and all the way to the large spectrum of languages. Companies should set what they want to achieve through expanding their teams, and evaluate cost-effective or strategically placed countries, beyond the usual popular choices (for example, London) that are on recruiter’s radars. Seeking English-speaking candidates will not be an impediment, as EF’s global English proficiency report ranks countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway as fluent, while Serbia, Romania, and Poland rank first on the high-proficiency level. Spreading one’s business across countries and cultures is a must for resilience in global markets, and has major benefits for the business like heightened creativity, proficient problem-solving, and efficiently embracing different perspectives that can lead to growth and development.


3. Global talent acquisition

Now that the places for expansions have been chosen, the next step would be attracting the right candidates for your company. Last years’s IT Skills and Salary Report from Skillsoft reported that 76% of IT decision-makers experience critical skills gaps on their teams, so companies' efforts in trying to find the highest performers for their teams are justified. What can be done differently to make a job listing stand out? How can talents that will not only perform but also thrive in a remote environment, be attracted?

  • Employer branding: The company’s reputation is at the core of recruitment efforts, and the pipeline can and will shrink if investments in marketing tactics that will secure the company’s positioning and differentiation in the market are not being made. According to Linkedin, a company with strong employer branding can decrease its hiring costs by 43%. This can be viewed as a matter of “Who picks who?”, an investment that will translate into candidates recruiting the company they want to work for - and everybody wants to be that company! But this is an action that has to be perceived beyond social media posts and paid advertising. It also means making the employees feel like they believe in the mission of their company and encouraging them to get involved by using their voices to speak openly and honestly about what they do.
  • Roles outside the box: Rethinking roles by highlighting the impact they have on the project, and then, on a larger scale, on the society, is going to attract candidates that resonate with the mission and the culture of the company. People no longer want to work for the sake of money, and especially in the IT industry, there needs to be a greater drive for working. Software engineers need autonomy, purpose, and the opportunity of mastering their field, to be highly motivated in their work. However, this does not exclude the aspect of money. Good talent has to be valued accordingly, and the following statement should constantly dictate managerial money decisions: investing in employee retention (and yes, that sometimes means raises), will more often than not cost the company less than onboarding somebody new for the same position.
  • Smart recruitment: Deciding to recruit in another country is a brave move towards diversification, which usually brings with itself growth and success. But who knows the local market better than a local recruitment company? By partnering with a local recruitment company, businesses can find good candidates and make the first hires on the ground much faster. Recruiting locally will provide more reliability to the candidates, a better understanding of the open roles and the company’s mission and products, and an overall process that feels more approachable, and flows more naturally, from sourcing all the way to programming the first interviews.
  • Complex interview process: Following a top-bottom structure, a remote interview should consider 3 aspects - what technology to use for interviewing, what technical skills to assess, what would make a candidate a good culture fit. Having a video interview will reveal the candidate’s level of efficacy in communicating via text or video with their team, and is the closest version to a face-to-face interview, which will instill a human approach. Shortly, the candidate will get a taste of who the company is beyond the name and the products, and the hiring managers will see the candidate beyond their CV. In alignment with the Skillsoft report mentioned before, we consider that evaluating technical skills should be a top priority in the interviewing process. Thorugh assigning a test project to the candidates, a vision of how they approach work and how they would meet the demands of the role will be formed. So yes, great technical knowledge and experience are crucial and are what write the code after all, but when recruiting remotely there should also be a focus on soft skills. Thriving in a remote job means being flexible, mastering assertive and effective communication, having problem-solving capacity, being a team player, knowing how and when to transfer knowledge, valuing growth, and continuous self-development. To assess these characteristics open-ended questions are recommended and will reveal the candidate’s thinking process and aptitudes in this area. For example, one could ask “What practices of yours do you wish to bring to our organization?” or “Describe a time when you managed a project from the beginning to the end - what challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome them?”. Notice how they don’t just address personality traits, but also work attitudes, and answers might even highlight some information about their technical skills or what qualifies them for the job.
    P.S: Always get back to the candidates after the interview, no matter the decision. They all want to know how they did and how they can improve.

4. Manage globally

What will differentiate good leaders in 2022 is their ability to embody transformational leadership, in times when achieving goals and aiming for heightened productivity is what makes the world go round. Clear and transparent communication, emphasizing their and the company’s values, focusing on deliverables, not on noisy, virtual presence, inspiring one’s team to strive for a greater purpose, learning and mastering the digital language, and making use of the available technologies that can facilitate working and communicating remotely - if leaders tick these characteristics, they are 100 steps closer to fostering productivity, satisfaction, and harmony in their teams. On top of these essentials, we need to embrace the fact that we are not just managing remotely, but also globally. Empathy and willingness to understand one’s culture and reasoning behind their actions is going to have a great impact on the way employees perceive their work and their team. Managing globally means making an extra step towards learning who your employees are as individuals. This goes beyond cuisine and traditions, it means learning about cultural values, the degree to which collectivism vs. individualism are internalized, understanding how they think about concepts like time or connection or the role that work holds in the bigger picture of their life.

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