Managing Overseas Employees: Challenges and Solutions

Managing overseas employees is difficult and requires using specialized services and establishing a complex communications network.
Managing overseas employees is difficult and requires using specialized services and establishing a complex communications network.

Managing overseas employees is difficult and requires using specialized services and establishing a complex communications network. However, international workforce provides a great number of advantages that can help your business get ahead in its niche. Regardless of whether you create an overseas branch of your company or a team of freelancers dispersed all over the world, you’ll need to get prepared in advance. This means you’ll need to have solutions in place that will resolve any issues fast. Only this way will your overseas hiring project provide your business with a huge boost.

Why You Should Start Hiring and Managing Overseas Employees

There are many reasons why a business might need to hire overseas employees. The most important of them depend on the nature of your business itself. For example, manufacturers will benefit from opening an overseas branch in a country where they can set up a cheaper production line. Creative businesses, on the other hand, can get a boost from hiring freelancers from different countries as each of them has a unique talent and perspective.

While the exact role of the overseas workforce for your business can vary, the benefits you can get from hiring people abroad are generally the same:

  • You get local representation when it’s needed.
    This benefits businesses that want to take over a new foreign market.
  • Increased employee productivity.
    If your overseas employees work remotely instead of in an office you open in their country, you benefit even more. According to multiple surveys, remote workers are more productive. And many people today (about 85% of millennials just to name a few) are willing to accept a lower salary if they can work from home. As you are most likely hiring abroad to save money in the first place, saving, even more, is a definite plus that can change the entire business plan for this expansion. But bear in mind that this plan will only succeed if you establish an efficient system for managing overseas employees.
  • Cultural diversity.
    Having people from different cultures work together boosts creativity and allows your team to develop better products due to multiple perspectives.
  • Access to highly-skilled professionals.
    If your business requires hiring top-quality professionals of some highly specific skill, there might not be any around. By hiring overseas you gain access to a great variety of experts.

Challenges of Managing Overseas Employees & How to Overcome Them

1.     Expensive international payments

To finance your business’ branches overseas you’ll need to set up an effective and affordable route for B2B international money transfers. And if you are hiring freelancers from all over the world, you will need the same kind of service to pay them. The important thing here is to find a money transfer platform that won’t charge you a small fortune in fees and exorbitant currency exchange rates like banks do.

Use online money transfer companies that are also FX brokers to get the best possible deals. Your best options are MoneyCorp, torfx, and World First. Be sure to check the companies’ reviews before creating an account and making a transfer. You’ll be sending money through those platforms, so you have to be 100% sure in their security and reliability.

2.     Legal issues

What exactly is the legal status of your overseas employees? How can they work for your company legally? Making sure that everything is set up according to the law is essential for managing overseas employees. If you don’t do this, you might end up in jail over some missed paperwork.

As you will be dealing with a foreign country, you will need to get legal counsel from a local attorney. Moreover, you will also need to discuss this matter with your own legal counsel so you can develop the best method of hiring overseas employees without breaking any laws.

3.     Communication issues

When managing overseas employees of any kind, international freelance teams included, communication becomes one of the biggest challenges. Today, technology easily solves a big part of this problem. You can easily stay in touch and even set up group video chats using various messenger apps, Skype, and many other tools that allow people to communicate online effortlessly.

Time Difference and Language barriers

However, there are also matters of time difference and language barriers to consider.

Time-related issues should be resolved with clever scheduling. You will also need to plan your team’s tasks in a way that will allow everyone to work during the period of their peak performance. As you can’t demand of your employees to deny their natural circadian rhythms to work with someone seven hours ahead, you might need to break down the task into parts managed by smaller groups.

The language barrier, however, is much harder to overcome. Of course, providing your employees (both local and overseas if they need to work together) with language classes is a must. However, even the best teacher cannot make a group of students master a foreign language perfectly within a few months.

The thing you should do when managing overseas employees is to encourage them to interact in social situations. In this case, you should run a group chat as well as organize regular (and frequent) informal discussions. This will be a great opportunity for them to practice and improve their language skills. Such communication also helps learn slang and other types of informal speech, which are rarely covered in language textbooks.

In addition to this, regular communication of this kind will help your employees bond, which will increase their overall productivity. As they bond, they understand each other better, which means it will be easier for them to work together and for you to manage them.

Such sessions will also help to reduce issues caused by cultural differences if you make sure that some of these discussions focus on this specific topic.

The Bottom Line: Hiring Overseas Employees Will Help You Succeed

Experts predict that by 2020 over 50% of the workforce will be freelancers, and that’s only in the US. Some countries are far ahead in that race. It’s not a surprise considering the benefits of hiring overseas professionals to help your business shine.

Don’t be afraid to take this step in order to move your company to the next level. You can use various tech solutions available today for managing overseas employees or international teams of freelancers. Those will help you make sure everyone works smoothly together and that your business uses all the advantages you gain from this expansion to the fullest.

Jane Koval

Jane Koval

Jane Koval is a freelance writer. Her interests range from the latest e-Commerce trends to traditional folk culture and adventurous traveling. She always stays open to new ideas and expertise to make her writings handy and captivating for the readers.
Jane Koval
Jane Koval

Latest posts by Jane Koval (see all)