Going global isn’t just a matter of navigating country-specific employment challenges — hurdles include adapting products for international markets, understanding cultural norms, managing cross-border taxation, and more. So, how can you prepare your company to scale internationally?
Dhaval Gore, Director of Partner Communities at G-P, recently sat down with Allyson Stewart-Allen, CEO at International Marketing Partners, to discuss essential considerations when preparing your business to excel on the global stage. Here’s a recap of the key takeaways that we learned from their discussion.
1. Spread the risk.
Both Gore and Stewart-Allen strongly advocated for global expansion. On one hand, Stewart-Allen highlighted that by “spreading your risk,” companies can reduce their dependence on a sole economy to be successful. At the same time, Gore asserted that being global helps build resilience. “Economies are not homogeneous. Some are at different speeds, even during down cycles.” Having a diversified global presence can help companies mitigate risks associated with economic fluctuations in specific regions.
Stewart-Allen expanded by stating that it’s not enough for companies to simply bank on markets that are up and coming. They must also explore emerging markets where their “products and services for the most part will fit there and will succeed there.”
2. Diversity breeds innovation.
Companies with a global footprint can unearth ideas from different parts of the world that will ultimately benefit businesses. Having people on the ground in various markets means companies will receive first-hand and succinct feedback on how customers use their products and services. These different cultural findings can help improve and innovate companies’ core functions. Stewart-Allen explains the thinking behind this blueprint: “If the innovation is only housed at [the] head office, then it’ll never be that great. It’ll only be great if you get a diversity of thinking and diversity of experiences that feed into that process. And through that innovation process, you can keep up with market trends and all sorts of other requirements.”
Moreover, a global footprint not only benefits companies but also the workforce. G-P’s 2023 Global Growth report revealed that 79% of employees want to work for a global company. “In many ways, global companies or companies who have an intention to go global are walking into an open door when it comes to accessing global talent,” Gore summarized.
3. Don’t expand on a whim.
Stewart-Allen warned against the perils of expanding on a whim, citing an opportunistic mindset where companies, enticed by a spike in sales in a specific area, may hastily assume there is a need to establish an official presence there to maximize their gains. However, in Stewart-Allen’s view, the more successful approach to global expansion is the one that is “part of the business plan. It’s part of the five-year horizon. It’s not an accidental growth plan. It’s very deliberate.”
The decision to expand should be backed by analysis, strategy, and budget allocation. While Stewart-Allen clarifies that companies can be opportunistic, it’s better to have a process at the foundation of every move. Companies should ask themselves: “Where are we going to go next? Why are we going to go there? And what localizations might we need to make for that market?” Gore concluded that companies should have an “overarching umbrella objective” that maps out a three-to-five-year plan while simultaneously “baking in enough wriggle room to be able to adapt and respond to changing market forces.”
4. Corporate cultures should embrace flexibility.
Gore cited a study by Manpower Group that showed that 77% of employers globally struggled to secure skilled talent in 2023. This figure was a leap from only 35% a decade ago. Stewart-Allen spoke on how the way of working has changed drastically in the past four years. “They [workers] don’t want to have to abide by a 9-to-5 punch clock type of mentality. The presenteeism of the pre-pandemic era was, if you’re not sitting at your desk, you’re obviously slacking.”
She interprets this change of mindset as a call for companies to reshape their corporate cultures and adopt new ways of managing their talent. “If you do it [the work] at three in the morning, in your pajamas, who cares if the job’s getting done?”
5. Prioritize cultural awareness.
Communication is an integral part of any global expansion plan as there are often different nuances, formality levels, decision-making styles, and language barriers to overcome. As a U.S. citizen, Stewart-Allen noted that Americans usually prefer a more direct approach and dive right into business. While other cultures prefer to build a relationship first.
“The worst is not knowing and thinking, ‘Well, this is how it works in the U.S. It must work this way everywhere.’ That is not the case,” she said. These minor differences can make or break a company’s success on the international scene. So, businesses must prioritize cultural awareness and deeply engage with their target markets when going global.
Expand swiftly and smartly with G-P.
When it comes to navigating the journey of global hiring, no company is as experienced as G-P. After creating the Employer of Record industry, we continue to pave the way with new technology for new times. G-P Meridian Suite™ is the #1 suite of global employment products that enables companies to customize and accelerate global growth. With G-P Meridian Suite, you have all the features and products you need to find, recruit, hire, onboard, and manage your global teams — from a single dashboard.
Our market-leading solution is backed by the largest team of in-region HR and legal experts to help design and execute your company’s global expansion plan. Learn why G-P is the best global growth partner by downloading the latest Nelson Hall report that named us the #1 industry leader for the third year in a row.