CEO Insider

5 Challenges CEOs Face When Building a Global Workforce and How to Solve Them

Corporate Executives

More and more businesses are expanding internationally. In 2017 alone, a survey by Frost & found that the market for cloud computing grew by 18% to $35 billion. Tied up in this was an increase in infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Seeing 38.7% growth in 2017, the market for virtualized computing resources is now worth more than $35 billion.

Put simply, CEOs now have a greater ability to expand their businesses beyond their own borders. However, as companies grow, so does the potential for problems. As a CEO, spearheading a global push can come with many potential headaches. But, with the right combination of technology, skills and foresight, the process doesn’t have to be difficult.

Indeed, the first step is awareness of the most common issues a company can face as it moves into new territories.

1. Company Cultures

Every country has its own work culture and that, in turn, makes it tricky to keep everyone accountable, productive and, importantly, happy. As a CEO, understanding how the land lies in each country is crucial.

For example, in Israel, the working week is 43 hours long and runs from Sunday to Thursday. In France, employees have the legal right not to reply to emails once they’ve finished work for the day. Finally, in India, being 15 minutes late isn’t considered late. Understanding and working with these cultural differences is crucial as a boss. Everything from scheduling meetings to sending out urgent internal messages all needs to be set around cultural norms.

2. Local Logistics

In tandem with cultural nuances, any CEO with a workforce in multiple countries has to contend with logistical issues in terms of communication and cooperation. For instance, it would be highly inefficient to have the IT department based in India and the HR team in the US. With more than a 10 hour difference between the two, raising and, in turn, fixing IT issues would instantly take a day longer than necessary.

Meetings can also become an issue. Today, Skype has become the go-to communication platform for many companies but it doesn’t handle the issue of workflow and sharing particularly well. As a complement to Skype, Slack allows users to share documents, send instant messages, schedule meetings and more. With 8 million active daily users, this platform has made it easier for companies to communication across different borders and time zones.

3. HRIS Systems

Once you’ve overcome practical differences relating to culture and time, the next issue of becomes one of integrating the remote workers into your operation. Human resources management on an international scale is difficult for multiple reasons, and there are a number of gaps in the offering of many HRIS systems. Everything from logging employee hours and handling local payment laws is made vastly more difficult with a dispersed workforce.

As an example, many ERP and HRIS systems don’t adequately manage international payroll processing leading to error prone, time intensive manual processes; although companies such as Papaya are trying to solve this payroll problem creating a cloud based platform that can manage local payroll suppliers via automated processes

4. Training

Like managing HR remotely, training new employees can also be difficult. Again, with each country having its own work culture and processes, achieving the same standards across the board can be tough. The obvious way to tackle local nuances is to hire local trainers. However, with quality never assured, a more general solution is necessary.

As with payroll, training can now be handled in the computing cloud. Docebo is a cloud-based learning management system that allows businesses to create central lessons and deploy them across a global network. Capable of translating each training module into 40 languages, the software allows you to keep a consistent message across multiple countries. What’s more, this type of software takes into account local cultures and time/date formats to ensure important concepts aren’t lost in translation.

5. Country Compliance

The final issue any CEO moving into a new country will face is compliance. Laws, both inside and outside of the business world, differ from place-to-place and it’s up to those in charge to make sure they’re followed. In Europe, GDPR has become the standard across all EU countries. However, any company that steps outside that bubble will need to account for additional data protection laws and more.

Hiring a local legal team is an option, but a costly one. For those in need of a more cost-effective solution, IT services have come to the fore once again. Like Papaya handles payroll compliance, software such as Enablon can provide a complete overview of regulatory demands for multiple regions. Additionally, this software can be used to highlight potential areas of fault and improve reporting capabilities.

Put simply, going global is a challenge, however, through a combination of planning and technology, the process doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult and there are now a number of interesting start- up software companies handling the problems of global workforce management.

Have you read?

# Global Passport Ranking, 2019.
# GDP Rankings Of The World’s Largest Economies, 2019.
# Best Countries For Business In Europe For Non-European Investors, 2019 . (Europe)
# World’s Top 100 Cities To Reside In For 2019.

Track Latest News Live on CEOWORLD magazine and get news updates from the United States and around the world. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the CEOWORLD magazine.
Follow CEOWORLD magazine headlines on Google News, Twitter, and Facebook. For media queries, please contact:
Sophie Ireland
SVP for News and Editorial Director. As CEOWORLD magazine's senior vice president for news and editorial director, Sophie Ireland oversees CEOWORLD magazine's journalism and journalists around the world and across platforms. She leads an award-winning team of journalists and newsroom executives who are committed to excellence, innovation and the highest quality reporting and storytelling. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn. Email her at