In early 2020, many companies froze hiring, assuming lockdown would be temporary. Today, even while many offices and countries continue to social distance, team growth must continue. As a result, HR teams had to adapt to hiring through email and video calls.
What is even more difficult than remote recruitment is engaging, training, and integrating new team members online. HR teams are often carrying these out with no previous experience in virtual onboarding. Luckily, there are solutions that hiring managers can implement with the help of their HR counterparts.
The first hire is critical
Start with just one person.
When asked about entering a new market, Debbie Millin, COO at Globalization Partners told The Economist, “The first hire in a new market is so crucial. They need to do more than just their job responsibilities. They become the ambassador for your company, playing a key role in establishing your presence there and building a team – look for utility players who are able to function across the business in a variety of ways.”
The benefits of hiring a local to lay the groundwork for your business are clear.
However, pre-pandemic, recruiting and the first week of training may have been done in person, especially for country managers or other first hire roles.
Today, this does require some creativity. Digital training courses can be designed to be more interactive and entertaining than long in-person lectures, but arguably, the most important part of onboarding is the relationship building that usually happens after hours.
Go beyond the standard virtual happy hours. Take activity-based team building online and schedule short “virtual coffees” straight after each session with non-direct colleagues of the new hire.
While not quite the same as bumping into the COO in the corridor and connecting over casual small talk, the team building activities loosen employees up before short-and-sweet virtual coffees that artificially mimic organic team building.
Set clear expectations for more effective training
Via videocalls, we can react to facial expressions and tone of voice, but other social cues like hand gestures, position, or movement are lost. This impairs our ability to catch subtle signs of disagreement or misunderstanding.
One of the most reliable ways to ensure you are training people correctly: put your new hire to the test.
In low context cultures, asking, “Does this make sense?” will yield a vigorous nod regardless of real understanding, out of respect and politeness. Circumvent this by asking new recruits to summarize their learnings at the end of each section.
Throughout onboarding, a simple exercise can help ensure expectations of new recruits are internalized.
First, ask employees to write down their expectations of their new role, while the hiring manager does the same. Next, compare these lists to create one comprehensive list of expectations.
Encourage both parties to keep this final list top-of-mind, refer to it in weekly syncs, and adjust if necessary.
Stay aware of international employment regulations
Broadening the talent pool and choosing from the best candidates the world has to offer provides an upside for hiring managers. They can now source the best global talent for their departments, but HR has the task of finding a way to hire the desired candidates, and complications mount when they are located in another country.
Just as entering a new market is hard to do without a local on the books, compliantly hiring said local in the first place requires specialist knowledge.
If your company has the bandwidth to brush up on international laws and taxes in-house, Globalpedia can be a starter resource. Your teams will need to learn about local benefits standards, income and corporation tax, and possibly consider setting up an entity in the employee’s country of residence.
However, global regulations are subject to regular change. When companies begin expanding their teams internationally, joining forces with a global Employer of Record saves their HR team the regulatory headaches.
Building your global remote team
In our remote-first environment, HR teams have had to evolve, and quickly. Done the right way, remote hires can be valuable additions to any team. For more information on building global remote teams, check out the Globalization Partners blog.