Hiring Squeeze? Consider International Talent

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Hiring from abroad can give your company a global perspective and improve culture while technology has made it more possible than ever, says Tara Varjavandi, VP of HR at Nakisa.

Faced with the talent shortage brought on by the pandemic, companies should consider international candidates, says Tara Varjavandi, VP of Human Resources at Nakisa Inc., a Montreal, Canada-based company that provides cloud solutions for lease accounting, organizational design and corporate real estate.

Varjavandi spoke with StrategicCHRO360 about the benefits and challenges of international hiring, what to keep in mind when hiring from abroad and how to manage a global workforce.

The worker shortage has been top of mind for HR professionals in recent months. What advice do you have for employers who need talent? 

The world is moving fast toward globalization, and HR leaders must move with it to avoid falling behind. This is essential not only to respond to the local shortage of talent, but also for creating a global culture and ensuring their business benefits from global perspectives and ideas. Hiring internationally can be very beneficial for businesses, as it enriches company culture and speeds up the flow of new ideas and innovation. We have a huge, untapped talent population in different parts of the world, and whoever reaches them first will be the winner.

However, hiring globally can come with complexities and challenges, including company culture dynamics, language barriers, tax and compliance, and more. As a result, HR leaders need to be proactive, do our due diligence and move forward with caution to mitigate these potential challenges. Investing in the proper tools and technology to manage and hire a global workforce will be the key to success.

How does hiring international talent impact a company?

Having a diverse and international team can help HR leaders a great deal in terms of understanding different cultures and learning to work with them in a way that appreciates the unique contribution each person makes. Most importantly, international teams can provide insight into the invaluable role diversity plays in an organization.

I urge HR leaders to change their company’s internal perspective. Changing perspective is instrumental in solving life problems be it in business or otherwise. In the words of author Wayne Dyer: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

When hiring globally, what are a few things that HR leaders should keep in mind?

Research. Internationally, there are different rules and regulations when it comes to employment. Research the market and analyze the talent in terms of availability, required skills, employments laws, taxes, finance laws and regulations such as payroll, employee benefits and local best practices for policies and procedures. 

Consider the cultural differences. Communication, interpersonal skills, management style, employee expectations and career development may all vary in each global location. It’s important for HR leaders to research the ways company culture may vary from location to location, as well as from one employee to the next, in order to hire and retain top international talent.

Look into hiring recent graduates. Hiring international students as interns or full-time employees has become possible due to post-graduation work visas. Hiring recent graduates is a great way to grow the number of international employees a company has. Keep in mind that recent graduates are an invaluable source of new energy, enthusiasm, thoughts, ideas and can bring many new perspectives to a company.

What advice do you have for HR leaders to successfully manage their global workforce?

Accurate HR data and visibility into your workforce is key. Having these insights is the only way to build an equitable and fair global company culture. Without accurate data, HR leaders lack the insight needed from their workforce to develop, plan and implement new policies and procedures that are not only beneficial, but successful.

The good news for HR leaders is that we have the technology available today that is designed to compile, organize and analyze this data. Utilizing technology-based solutions not only can save a significant amount of time and energy, but it will also ensure HR leaders are armed with accurate and up-to-date data.

How can HR leaders ensure their company culture works for their global workforce?

Having a global workforce means interacting with people from diverse backgrounds with different views and styles of work. As a result, team unity becomes imperative. This includes having unified visions and strategies across the company, as well as creating a culture that allows for that diversity to be expressed and discussed comfortably in a trusting environment. My advice for HR leaders who are managing a global workforce is to develop and apply values that contribute to creating a unified team.

For example, instilling humility as a core company value can help create a culture of learning. Humility frees one from pride and arrogance, which is the biggest obstacle to listening to others and genuinely trying to understand the points being offered in a discussion. Looking at work as a service is another great company culture value HR leaders can instill in their global workforce. Work becomes a means to help and support others, be it colleagues or customers. This value contributes to a feeling of solidarity and unity and makes everyday work more meaningful and fulfilling.

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