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What is a Global Workforce?

global workforce

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Key Takeaways

1. A global workforce is where a company has a team of people that are based around the globe. Having a global workforce allows companies to hire from an international talent pool, rather than being restricted to any one location.

2. There are many advantages to having a global workforce. Principally, it allows companies to find the best people, and means they can benefit from a diverse and multicultural team. 

3. There are also challenges involved with having an international team located all around the world: It can be difficult to manage people in different time zones, and can be hard to keep everyone engaged and productive whilst working remotely. This means that companies have to find innovative ways of keeping staff happy.

4. Another challenge is understanding the legal compliance and employment regulations of each individual country in which employees are based. A good solution to this is to hire a Global PEO who can employ individuals on your behalf, meaning you do not have to consider payroll, taxes, and other HR requirements for each jurisdiction.

According to a recent 2022 survey conducted by PWC, it was found that 26% of people prefer to work fully remotely, 23% want a mix between remote and some in-person working and 25% would like an equal split between remote and in-person working (you can see the differences in remote working arrangements here). Just 11% said that they would be happy to work full time in-person. It is clear that there has been a shift in the way in which people choose to work: People want remote work, and being hired by a global company is often the best way to achieve this. 

Here we explain what a global workforce is, why it is desirable for both companies and employees, and how to mitigate the challenges of an international team through a global PEO — the most popular global workforce solution. 

Tap into the global workforce with Horizons.

What is the definition of a global workforce?

In short, a global workforce is a team of employees that are based all over the world. The team is able to work remotely for the same company and be connected through virtual software such as Teams, Zoom or emails. A global workforce will be made up of international employees of different nationalities, backgrounds and cultures.

What are the advantages of a global workforce?

  • Global talent acquisition
  • With a recruitment approach no longer tied to a specific geographical location, you have the opportunity to hire from a much larger talent pool. If you want to hire the best software developer for your project, and they happen to be based in Delhi, why restrict yourself to hiring in Des Moines? Ditto where you are hiring a social media manager
  • Customer service
  • Customer care can be improved dramatically by having a contact/helpline open for extended hours — even 24/7.  This is more achievable when you have a global workforce with staff naturally working in different time zones, as it means that employees do not necessarily have to work unsociable hours.
  • Similarly, when you have employees that are based all over the world, you can further improve customer services by having people who speak different languages and who are aware of cultural differences. When a customer is dealing with someone who they feel understands them, it is likely that any issues are handled better, and the customer is often more satisfied with the service.
  • Cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Having a global workforce typically means having a culturally and linguistically diverse team. Having a diverse workforce allows staff to learn from each other and develop their communication skills. If you engage staff in team-building activities, having cultural and linguistic diversity can be highly beneficial to the growth of the business.
  • Not only this, but, the more diverse the workforce, the more adept the business will be at entering new international markets. A key factor when entering a new market is having a deep understanding of local conditions: For example, marketing strategies can work well in one country and not in another. 

What are the challenges in hiring a global workforce?

  • Synchronizing staff across different locations
  • When you are managing a global workforce, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone, keep the team engaged, and to keep productivity levels high.  Different time zones and the nature of remote work, often lead to an ‘asynchronous’ work style.  For some members of the team, this can mean a feeling of isolation and productivity drops.

  • The only way to mitigate this is through effective management: Active and regular check-ins, arranging team-building activities such as virtual games, and “buddy” schemes, can all be effective ways at keeping your global workforce connected.  

  • Compliance
  • When you have employees that are located in different countries, it can be tricky to keep up with ever-changing employment and labor laws in the countries they are based in. This includes changes to HR and employee termination rules, payroll regulations and employee income tax law.
  • Remaining compliant is vital, as compliance failures can mean major penalties, fines, and a substantial loss of reputation. 


Video: Economic challenges for the global workforce

Bloomberg looks at how economic headwinds are impacting the global workforce, and how upskilling and digital workforce solutions can help. 

How a global PEO helps with global workforce challenges

A global professional employer organization (global PEO) is a third-party company that recruits international employees for ambitious businesses. The PEO handles payroll, contracts and tax requirements, and takes over HR responsibilities ensuring full compliance. 

A global PEO has the experience, connections and expertise to ensure your global workforce is onboarded quickly and in full compliance with local laws.

Onboard your global workforce with Horizons

At Horizons, we take on the burden of recruitment, payroll and tax compliance for your global workforce. This means a fast, and cost-efficient international expansion of your team. 

If you need our assistance with hiring a global workforce, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Frequently asked questions

There are many advantages to having a global workforce, the biggest advantage being that it allows companies to expand and grow more quickly, with the help of talented individuals from around the world. Having a global team means there are no geographical boundaries in terms of who you can recruit.

In addition, customer care can be improved by extending working hours as staff are operating in different time zones. 

Managing a global workforce can be difficult as you have to consider different languages, cultures, local labor laws and time zones. There are different strategies that you can adopt, but ultimately, it is important to stay connected with staff by having regular check-ins and frequent communication. Team building is also vital in order to keep employees engaged, motivated and productive.

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