Brexit is looming, the Trump administration is two years into governing the US, and elections all over the world are seeing a surge in support for protectionist, domestically-driven politics. With this lurch away from globalisation impacting so much of our world, it can be easy to overlook the impact it's having on human resources in the workplace - but that impact is real.
Governments across the globe are introducing more regulation to safeguard their own economies, and border controls are getting stricter. For those who work in global HR, it's a challenge to keep pace. Each new regulation, each new amendment to existing rules, each new visa class and movement exclusion, means that HR administrators must get on top of things and ensure their own company's policies and regulations remain compliant.
And in this climate, it can often be a case of top-down: the biggest offices get the attention, while the smallest are left to fend for themselves. Yet any lapse in concentration, any regulation missed, can lead to broader issues. Fines could be levied; reputations could take a beating. How will your company fare across all offices in this new era of globalisation?
Local knowledge becomes essential
Those quirky local nuances can actually be make-or-break for HR operations in a new market. Do you have a plan to handle them?
- Spain: When an employee travels abroad, you need to submit a form to the local authority. The form has to be submitted in person; it can't be mailed.
- Japan: Employers have to measure the waistlines of citizens between the ages of 40 and 75 once a year, as part of law to reduce obesity. Employers have to help overweight employees lose weight or face penalties.
- Russia: Your employee data need to be in personnel file, printed out and filed in a cabinet in every office.
- France: Workers can ignore work-related emails sent after working hours.
- Brazil: Employees are guaranteed a "Christmas" bonus, also known as the "Thirteenth Salary."
Recent research found that 70% of employers are not fully confident in their knowledge of foreign compliance and employment requirements. That same research found 40% of employers spend more than four hours per employee per month on administration - to onboard, pay and communicate with workers around the world. That's a lot of time and effort spent, and it gets harder if you have remote workers and small satellite sites far from HQ's location.
In fact, keeping on top of compliance is often at the top of "HR Headaches" lists around the world – frequently ranking higher than managing cultural differences and retaining top talent. Companies operating in multiple jurisdictions must verify that each operation complies with local laws as well as internal global policies. The code of conduct and corporate values can be difficult for a new employee to grasp when they are not surrounded by colleagues all leading by example.
Global partnerships can ease the burden
As companies grow to new markets, central teams lose control and visibility of local operations. Systems and processes become fragmented, and this increases the risk to compliance and productivity. Working with a partner across all jurisdictions can help to keep that global visibility that is so essential to multinational teams, and can also help ensure compliance wherever you are. With that global visibility, you can improve productivity and employee engagement, helping to shore-up company culture and become an employer of choice.
TMF Group can help you to handle the administrative burden, even for those employees in remote and smaller offices. We can help keep you be compliant locally, handling essentials such as the employee handbook, any workforce audits, providing regulatory and local compliance updates, and preparing and submitting reports. With operations worldwide, TMF Group can support your employees throughout their time with your company - from getting started all the way through to moving on.
Download our eBook on Connecting Global Workforces, and start your journey to better global HR administration.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.