Providing Local Support to Foreign Clients During Territorial Restrictions: a Manual on how to Keep Going

Right now, international travel is at the crossroads regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are starting to see business restrictions lift in some of the areas that were previously most affected by the disease. However, international travel is probably one of the last areas where we’re going to see restrictions in place. Even then, the future isn’t certain regarding when or if travel will resume as normal.

While this may be seen as a net benefit for public health, it puts multinational businesses in a bind. Many of which may have had plans to set up expats to head their foreign teams, but this is now impossible. However, this doesn’t mean that work processes should stop. Instead, remote training and experience transfer is going to be key. Here’s how your company can get it running at this time.

How Travel Bans Restrict Multinational Companies

Now, let’s get into more detail on how a multinational company can be impacted by existing travel bans. We mentioned how sending over expats has become a lot more difficult, or even impossible, but that’s not the only example.

  • Training: In many cases, it would be common for teams looking to go international to send over someone to onboard the local talent and possibly manage them. However, due to travel bans, any training would need to be done remotely for safety reasons.
  • Client base: In some cases, your client base may be international travelers or businesses, especially in the B2B segment. Travel bans could be cutting substantially into your potential profits. The same applies to companies in sectors like hospitality.
  • Networking: Major events like conferences are often great opportunities for businesses to expand their network. However, we may never see these events in the same style again due to health concerns.
  • Remote onboarding: Many companies are trying to turn to remote communication instead of international travel. While this can be a substitute, there’s still a loss in productivity as teams learn to use these new platforms. This takes on a new level of concern internationally, where Internet access and quality may not be uniform across the board.

One thing that a lot of international companies are or should be quick to turn to in these circumstances is a Global PEO service. Global PEO helps simplify the process of hiring international talent, and many see it as a stopgap option until travel bans are lifted. However, you don’t want to take a short-sighted look at things. A PEO service brings several long-term benefits to a company, and here are some major examples.

  • Compliance: The pandemic has led to some of the largest changes in labor law that we’ve ever seen internationally. This isn’t likely to change during the fallout, either. Many countries will have to deal with workforces demanding new benefits and work structures, and it falls on international businesses to comply. With a Global PEO service, you never have to worry about missing a regulation change and being at legal risk.
  • Classification: The debate on whether workers can be classified as independent contractors or employees has been a major one, and in many cases, it’s unclear for even companies trying to comply. A Global PEO service can help make a difference.
  • Outsourcing. For small to medium-sized businesses wanting to go international, HR and payroll tasks can take a lot of added manpower. Global PEO services allow for spreading the workload.
  • Speed. Perhaps the most important thing with an International PEO service compared to setting up a foreign subsidiary in a country of your choice is the speed involved. Travel bans or not, this is the fastest way for you to create a team for taking advantage of opportunities or responding to emergencies.

Implementing A Global Employer of Record

So, with that in mind, all multinational companies should be plotting towards a Global PEO service/Global Employer of record. But what’s the best option in this area? Acumen International can help make your regular operations possible, even with travel constraints. For example, using an International PEO or EOR solution greatly simplifies the process of hiring a local worker, letting your business continue operating in a foreign market even if travel bans are left in place for a longer period.

To give you an idea, here’s how a company would have to approach this issue with or without a Global PEO service in their corner.

Without: To hire a foreign employee compliantly, they would need a foreign subsidiary in the country. This is an expensive and time-consuming process, and many countries have temporarily shut down the offices that handle these transactions due to the pandemic.

With: The Global PEO/EOR partner takes on the responsibility of compliance with hiring and classification for your new foreign employee. You still maintain control of key decisions like salary and termination.

With a Global Employer of Record, you have access to a local workforce in any market, as well as potential clients, lockdowns, or not. Since you already speak the same language as your PEO provider, why not let a company like Acumen be your hands and eyes on-site?

Having The Right Team On-Site For Your Global Expansion

With the support of Acumen International, even in the current climate, it’s possible for you to go about employing foreign workers on-site. While the face of global business may be changing, that doesn’t mean you need to halt operations at all. It’s all a matter of adapting, and having the professional support you need, like a Global PEO partner.

Be sure to follow our blog for more updates and advice on how to manage global talent during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

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