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5 Key Considerations for Growing Your Contingent Workforce Worldwide

Tracy Stanton | December 11 2023 |

Kees Stroomer

As remote work continues to be leveraged as an avenue to find workers amidst talent shortages, organizations are increasingly turning to geographically dispersed talent pools to fill skills gaps. But to grow their contingent workforces worldwide, they need to address various considerations and complexities in expanding their programs successfully while remaining compliant. In this blog post we’re going to cover five proven strategies when hiring global talent on a temporary or fixed-term contract basis, including:

  1. Aligning on goals
  2. Investing in talent intelligence
  3. Determining payroll and compliance needs
  4. Elevating worker experience
  5. Considering cultural nuances

1. Align Your Workforce Program with the Organization’s Goals 

Establishing clear goals is one of the essential building blocks to successfully expanding your contingent workforce program globally. Consider key discovery questions, such as:

  • How will the organization’s talent needs evolve both short-term and long-term?
  • What specific skills will the organization require?
  • In which locations is the organization going to seek talent?
  • What are the technologies that must be integrated in the process?

It’s important to understand how different teams, stakeholders and partners will be affected, as setting up a program that has global standards with local requirements is complex. For IT, for example, it will be critical to evaluate the technologies they’ll need to utilize and amount of resources needed to easily and seamlessly integrate into client systems, especially as they need to adhere to local specifications pertaining to legality, taxations, etc. Utilizing a Vendor Management System (VMS) that allows for nuances for various configurations with different business requirements can help with this, as will clear two-way communication among impacted teams throughout the process.

Re-evaluate current staffing suppliers as well, since they may not necessarily have expertise in hiring in your target locations. They must be fully vetted and have licenses to operate in those regions, or it could lead to compliance issues and fees.

Finally, it’s critical that leadership across the company is aligned and in full support of the program’s global expansion. Frequent, transparent communication on the process, as well as designating a program owner, will also help ensure the program is progressing toward goals.  

2. Invest in Talent Intelligence  

Before expanding the contingent workforce worldwide, organizations must have a clear, up-to-date understanding of what the labor market looks like. A real-time flow of global rate data will help ensure that they are attaining the best workers at the best pay rate – all while ensuring they aren’t underpaying talent either. (Learn more about Magnit’s proactive approach to addressing pay equity in our Pay Parity Solution Brief.)

Consult with local experts to help validate data and trends on the labor market in each locality. In addition, carefully consider the impact of global conflicts and natural disasters, as these can create issues and talent gaps in certain locations. On the flip side, evolving government incentives surrounding remote work continue to mold the landscape as well, providing organizations with even more potentially untapped talent pools. Companies gain an edge by staying on top of these dynamic shifts.

Discover the latest developments in the labor market when you download our Winter 2023-24 U.S. Labor Market Report

3. Determine Compliance and Payroll Needs  

Each country and region across the globe has different employment rules, laws and regulations. For example, there are data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection (GDPR) in the European Union (EU), legislation around technology hosting in the E.U. and China, pay equity regulations in the United Kingdom, and many others. When designing a global and compliant program, organizations must keep local legislation and regulations like these in mind. If they fail to do so, they can suffer major consequences, ranging from fees, to lawsuits and even damaged reputations.

To confidently navigate the evolving regulatory landscape, organizations can hire an in-house expert or partner with a Managed Service Provider or Employer of Record. These partners can provide up-to-date in-country expertise, guidance on staying ahead of upcoming changes in the law and correctly classifying workers, allowing organizations to remain compliant in localities they are unfamiliar with.

Interested in more proven strategies to managing risk and liability surrounding your contingent workforce? Download our ebook

4. Elevate the Worker Experience  

Investing in a world-class worker experience doesn’t just serve as a competitive differentiator – it can also help attract and retain top talent globally. Providing benefits, such as paid time off, flexible work options, educational opportunities, supportive environments, and even on-demand pay, can help improve the worker experience and talent retention, especially when the offerings are tailored to the specific geographies.

Engagement and responsiveness are also critical. Organizations should seek to promptly respond to questions and invest in modern software solutions that helps speed these interactions up, or risk damaging the worker’s experience and perception of the company. Automated processes can also help in this area, as they can help workers find answers to frequently asked questions on their own or get connected to hiring managers quickly. Failing to do so especially early on in a worker’s assignment can have dire consequences, considering that organizations waiting too long to address retention issues see over 50% of workers leave before their scheduled end-date. Building a positive candidate experience, on the other hand, can help organizations see 70% improvement in the quality of hire. Investing in technologies that enable smooth communication will also contribute to a positive worker experience, as it will allow geographically dispersed teams to easily collaborate and minimize barriers.

5. Understand Workforce Cultural Nuances and Expectations   

As companies expand their contingent workforce to different countries and continents, they must take the time to learn about each of these locations’ cultural needs and expectations. It’s recommended that they go through a cultural discovery process of the organization first before starting global hiring. When it’s time to hire and onboard workers from different regions, organizations can make small gestures to demonstrate that they understand and appreciate any cultural differences.

This is where having a local expert can also help tremendously, as understanding the local language and customs will be critical to helping foreign workers feel welcomed and part of the organization. On-the-ground experts in these different regions will also be beneficial when it comes to navigating local politics, noting labor code updates, and utilizing supplier relationships.

Ultimately, building a global workforce will take time and a gradual, phased approach. Staying on top of emerging regulations, global socioeconomic shifts, and the labor market will inform strategy, while the right technologies and partnerships will help ensure a smoother transition to reach program goals while staying compliant.

Discover proven workforce strategies to help navigate your company through a shifting workforce landscape when you download our ebook, “Preparing for Economic Uncertainty: Resilient Workforce Strategies.”

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. The blog post reflects the opinion of Magnit and is not to be construed as legal solutions and positions. Contact an attorney for specific advice and guidance for specific issues or questions.

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