By Globalization PartnersAugust 2020
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Are you expanding your team in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region? Companies that invest the time in understanding the cultural differences will have a clear advantage. What are the market nuances and country-specific communication methods you should know?
That was the topic of Globalization Partners’ recent webinar, “Building a Team in APAC: How to Deliver an Exceptional Employee Experience”. In this webinar, Globalization Partners’ Senior Manager of Global Operations in APAC, Edwina Tan, is joined by Kyle Hegarty, cross-cultural communication expert, to discuss what companies need to consider when hiring employees in APAC, and the benefits of using an Employer of Record to expand into the region.
Looking for Growth? Look No Further
The Asia-Pacific region is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. APAC is home to 60 percent of the world’s population, it’s the world’s fastest growing internet market.
According to a report, Asia has already overtaken Europe, accounting for 27 percent of global market activity and will account for two thirds of the growth in capital markets activity in the coming 10 years. Even with its many opportunities, companies are unsure about how to set up operations in this market successfully. Here is how to have success building teams in Asia-Pacific countries, according to the experts.
APAC: Not a Single Market – a Region
When companies consider expanding into Asia-Pacific countries, they often make the mistake of thinking the area is vastly the same, especially if they don’t yet have operations functioning in the region. However, there are more than 40 Asia-Pacific countries, and each of them has its own culture and nuances that need to be understood before hiring employees.
“It’s not one market. It is a dozen markets.” Companies must make sure they are hiring people with the right experience working across cultures within the region, according to Kyle Hegarty.
“Let’s be very clear that when we talk about APAC, this is not a market, this is a region.”
You Won’t Succeed if You Don’t Adapt
What you did right in your local market, or even in other international markets, won’t translate into automatic success in APAC. Every new culture will require that you tailor your message specifically for them. To attract the right candidates, you will need to make sure that your company’s communications are clear for the local market.
In Asia-Pacific, Relationships Matter
As mentioned before, not every culture is the same. According to Hegarty, when onboarding professionals in APAC, it’s good to make sure that you spend enough time with new hires.
“My recommendation is to double whatever onboarding time you think you’re going to take for building relationships and getting that person in tune with your company’s approach to doing business. In my experience, you need almost to rethink how you build relationships remotely.”
Be Careful with What You Say, And What You Don’t Say
Learning how to communicate with another culture can be a challenge. If you’re using the correct language, there are still chances that you could directly or indirectly send the wrong message.
When you enter a new market, you need to re-evaluate how to:
- Communicate: Some cultures use direct low-context communication, meaning that they speak frankly and directly to each other. Other cultures use high-context language, which means that they might be trying to communicate indirectly. For example, they might offer criticism in a polite manner. Listening to subtle queues will help you to fully comprehend how to address them or understand what they are trying to say.
- Lead: While professionals in some countries appreciate being able to have individual autonomy in their workplaces, professionals across the world might expect a clear hierarchy.
- Make Decisions: There are cultures where every professional will expect to have input, and there are others where people will expect decisions from the top-down.
- Trust: Think you can work with someone else regardless of whether you build a relationship with them or not? In some cultures, trust comes before tasks.
- Disagree: You might be used to letting employees know exactly what you think by addressing and disagreeing with them directly, while in other regions, people are uncomfortable with direct confrontation.
- Schedule: While in some countries you can relax a bit with timeliness, other cultures will expect punctuality, and there are even those where you might be late by showing up five minutes early.
The more effort you put into understanding the local culture, the easier it will be to interact with your international employees.
Work Cultural Education into Your Timeline
There are many failure stories from companies that tried to replicate their local success in APAC, only to realize that they should have taken the time to understand new markets. The key takeaway for you is to take the time needed to understand new markets and new cultures.
Find the Right Partners
The Asia-Pacific market could help your company’s growth, but only with the right strategy and partners.
If you are looking to expand your operations internationally, or already have a presence in other markets, you know the challenges that come with setting up your legal entity. The process of navigating another culture is hard enough, and the logistics and costs that come with this process could have a significant impact on the future of your business.
Alternative global hiring models can help you circumvent trouble that comes with setting up your entity. Choosing the right partner can help you significantly reduce your time to market and save money.
An Employer of Record is among the models that can help you hire international employees without the need for setting up a local entity. The EOR serves as the legal employer, taking care of payroll, taxes, benefits, and HR. Your company is in complete control of managing employee activities and tasks. With an EOR, it’s easy to rapidly and affordably expand internationally.
Want to Learn More About How to Achieve Success in Asia-Pacific Countries?
If you want more information about how to succeed in the Asia-Pacific region, we invite you to listen to the full webinar.
More About the Guest Speaker
Kyle Hegarty is the Managing Director of Leadership Nomad, part of TSL Marketing, helping companies expand around the world. He has 15 years of leadership and marketing experience in the Asia-Pacific region. His background led him to write “The Accidental Business Nomad,” a book that has valuable information for those interested in learning more about intercultural communication.