November 2, 2021

Going Global: Taking Your Workforce Management Strategy to the Next Level

Businessperson explaining global workforce management strategy to coworker in conference room

A natural next step, and sometimes a lofty and daunting goal for a lot of organizations, is expanding their business into other countries. Even the largest of companies have failed in their international expansion efforts. There are many factors an organization must consider when planning, or even managing their global workforce strategy. 

5 Factors to Consider When Expanding Your Workforce Globally

1. Localization and Culture

One of the most common challenges companies face when expanding globally is getting out of their “local mindset.” From language and culture to labor laws and European Works Councils, there are vast differences between operating and working in the United States than say, Germany. 

Sean Bradley, Senior Director of IT for Sitel Group®, gave great insight on this topic when we interviewed him. “Park your North American mindset. These countries have their own way of keeping time and their own way of paying people. It’s neither better nor worse than what the U.S. does; it is just different. You just need to take a breath, be objective, and not compare it to what we are doing.”

Your Global Workforce Management Tip:
To avoid getting stuck in a local mindset when your organization is going global, be sure to include a diverse audience throughout your decision-making process. Having local partners who know the culture, language, and laws can ensure a smoother implementation process.

2. Compliance

Working time and time recording. Minimum wage. Worker rights. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The list of compliance-related items that organizations need to keep up with and keep track of can go on and on. There are many intricacies and moving parts when it comes to compliance that can vary on a country-by-country basis. What is allowed in one country, may not be allowed in another. This is especially true in Europe

Your Global Workforce Management Tip:
Have a solution that can help automate almost any manual process and actively manages all employee documents to improve productivity and deliver an exceptional experience for your employees. 

3.    Global Labor Strategy and Freedom to Operate

Labor is complex. John Frehse of Ankura best describes it when he says, “Smart companies understand that they need to factor in today’s political and social considerations when building their global labor strategies. It’s not just a matter of cost; labor is the factor that can determine success and longevity.” 

Freedom to operate is a term that may be new to some, but the concept is something that everyone is familiar with. As stated above, what works in one country, could be against the law in another. If an organization goes against cultural or social norms, they lose the ability to operate freely in that country, or worse can damage their brand’s reputation. 

Your Global Workforce Management Tip:
One of the many requirements when it comes to freedom to operate is having the right governance tools. Be sure your organization has the right governance tools to avoid break the law or deviating from cultural norms. 

4.    Works Councils

Works Councils, especially European Works Councils, are a critically important factor organizations need to consider when expanding globally. Several European countries have Works Councils that have specific labor laws organizations must follow. By not following their rules and laws, it can have massive ripple effects on your organization.

Your Global Workforce Management Tip:
Engage with a country’s Works Council right away to make sure they are aware of what you are doing and that you are following all the applicable laws and regulations.

5. Planning and Standardization

Global planning and standardization are terms thrown out a lot, but what do those terms actually mean? And what does a successful global roll-out look like? Take a look at your workforce components, such as attendance policies, timekeeping rules, and forecasting procedures. More often than not, you are able to create a standard that covers them all in one overarching model. 

Your Global Workforce Management Tip:
Strike a good balance between standardization and localization. Not everything can be standardized, but being prepared ahead of time and having a comprehensive change management plan can help your organization be successful. 


Gain valuable insights from our customers about their experiences and explore resources from our global experts on important topics to consider when expanding globally on our Managing a Global Workforce page

UKG Customers:
As a UKG customer, you have exclusive access to our Global Customer Program where you can connect with other customers with a multinational presence to optimize your experience with UKG solutions and deliver measurable business results. Join our community today and be sure to visit our Global Workforce Management Best Practices Panel at UKG Works on Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 from 1:30-2:30 PST.