US-based programs have exhibited a desire to expand globally based on last year’s Buyer Survey conducted by Staffing Industry Analysts. According to the survey, 21% of programs were looking to expand services to Asia-Pacific over the next four years and 16% to 24% were looking to Europe and South Amercia respectively.

Buyers frequently ask how they can go about bring their programs global. What key questions do you need to answer to be able to effectively grow a program geographically? In the first part of this series, I addressed program readiness. Part two considered key components of a strong governance team. In this final installment, I address some ideas on how you will support the change and help make it stick.

Key change considerations include:

  • What existing global networks exist in my company that I can leverage to support program communication and global expansion marketing/awareness?
  • Can you communicate value to all the countries in scope? Can you articulate clearly the corporate versus local needs? Make sure this is very clear from the outset.
  • Consider local needs, especially data protection legislation. In some countries, there will be a need for the VMS system to encrypt data to support local data protection requirements..
  • Interview your current staffing partners. Do your supply chain and/or staffing partners have capability, capacity and interest to support you with the program’s global expansion? Do they have references in all these geographies and can they support language needs?
  • Have you structured your rollout so you can manage across the time zones (e.g. typically you shouldn’t do more than two regions at a time). Avoid program management office burnout to be able to adequately support the in-flight countries.
  • How will you measure the success of the change? Will it be different for different countries?
  • Expect the unexpected. One size doesn’t fits all and specific effort is likely to be needed to support to divisions or countries to manage specific friction. Validate through due diligence that the solution fits the scope, for example review the volumes and numbers of agencies used. These may justify a worker tracking solution where only headcount is tracked and basic on/off boarding processes are implemented in a light-touch way — rather than a fully managed solution.
  • Finally, do you have a global mind-set? First impressions are important, don’t forget the basic needs of key individuals. This is as basic as putting international dialling numbers on all meeting invites and having visibility of local public holidays and celebrations. Make sure your team is culturally aware. Also, be sensitive if you are speaking too fast as English is not always the mother tongue. Make sure your team interacts with local teams in a positive way by being sensitive to culture and time zone and language.

Always keep the “Think global, act local” mind-set. We’ve all heard it but often forget to act this way. Ask yourself how are you implementing this principle?

Lastly, a few more nuggets of wisdom. Make sure the program is fully fit for your scope and don’t be afraid to bundle countries, creating waves of countries to enable quicker returns. Assess the risk and scope and adjust the governance processes and resourcing accordingly. Tune and fine tune the program with ongoing engagement from key stakeholders. Every organization has slightly different needs. Be wary of project duplication, wasted efforts and frustrated teams. Be ready for objections and ensure you have the change agents ready to fly the flag of the program high.

SIA has produced a number of Council webinars with global rollout case studies, for more information, available here.