Selecting the Right Team for an International Expansion 

When expanding your business abroad, choosing a dedicated team to help you make the transition is crucial. The right team can make the difference between a success and a failure, but luckily there are many steps you can take to ensure you get it right.

Before you begin the hiring process, you must first decide how you’re going to approach recruitment as you expand your business internationally. You can either hire local employees, transfer employees over to the new location from your home country, or mix the two. The process will take several months, whichever approach you take, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible.

Each option has pros and cons that will differ depending on the individual business and the nature of the international market expansion. If you decide to transfer existing employees overseas, this will involve providing a lot of support for the employee and their family as they move and become accustomed to their new working environment.

However, it means that the team will have existing insider knowledge of how the business works, and all of the intricacies of the systems your business uses. This will allow you to hit the ground running in your new country, and the team can also play an integral role in hiring local employees further down the line.

On the other hand, employing locals will ensure you have a solid grounding in the country thanks to the cultural and local business insight you’ll gain. It will also mean you avoid any language barriers, which can significantly slow down the process, and will help bridge the gap between your business and potential customers.  They may also be able to bring local contacts and business – also, this is usually the less expensive option.

Aside from your employees’ origins, there are many other factors to consider. You will need to ensure there is someone on the team who owns each and every task that may come up during the process of international expansion. Each and every member should complement the others with their expertise, strengths and temperaments.

You’ll need someone either in-house or outsourced who is skilled at marketing, who can ensure you remain culturally sensitive in your new country. A mixture of senior and more junior employees will give you a good balance between expertise and experience, and fresh thinking and insight of the industry from an outsider’s perspective.

However, you decide to form your team, bear in mind that it won’t be as straightforward as picking up an existing team and dropping them into international waters and a completely new market. It will take time for the team to integrate to the new challenges and procedures that come with operating in a new country.

For this reason, it’s important to ensure there is a strong connection internally within the team, and between the team and head office. In order to ensure the team feels supported, you may want to consider setting up an international HR team, and/or mentoring scheme between new international employees and existing staff members.

You should also establish early on how often you’re going to check in with the team to keep everyone focused on the wider objectives; it’s advisable to have regular catch-ups with the team as a whole, as well as ensuring each member has an individual contact to bring up issues in confidence with head office.

If you’re planning to go global, it’s advisable to seek the advice and support of international expansion experts, such as Galvin International, who can advise on how your business can build the best team to help you take your business international.