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TecHRseries Interview with Nicole Sahin, CEO at Globalization Partners

Creating a strong virtual workforce model that also accounts for fundamental changes in how talent is recruited, deployed, and motivated to perform especially during a global downtime is the new goal for business leaders worldwide. In this interview, Nicole Sahin, CEO at Globalization Partners joins us to share a key observations and tips.

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Tell us a little about yourself Nicole…we’d love to hear about some of your biggest learnings from your time in the industry so far!

I am the CEO and founder of Globalization Partners. When businesses work with us, they identify the talent they want to hire anywhere in the world, and we put that employee on our locally compliant payroll and benefits in that country. Our solution enables companies to hire talent in 187 countries.

Recently, due to COVID-19, I’ve learned that we are in a pivotal moment in our society, but great change always comes out of great adversity. My hope is that out of this terrible situation, businesses and our society will reinvent themselves to be even stronger than before.

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Also, I am more confident now than ever that globalization isn’t going away. Our lead flow is stronger than ever – something I would not have predicted under the circumstances. Right now, are people temporarily traveling less and staying closer to home as individuals? Yes. Will supply chains which are already internationalized repatriate to regional or domestic markets? Absolutely not. People might buy consumer products locally more frequently (such as purchasing groceries from the farmers’ market, for example), but that’s not reflective of the entire economy. Companies are hiring international team members faster than ever because now that global travel has stopped, our customers need to hire local talent to support their overseas clients or supply chains.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic induced remote work has led to its own share of challenges, we’d love some of your thoughts on how the team at Globalization Partners has coped through the last few weeks!

The COVID-19 pandemic has not made life easy on anyone. In our case, we’ve been working as a global team for years now, so being a geographically disparate team is ingrained in our culture. That said, we always worked in hub offices, and it was incredibly challenging to shut down all our global offices in March and work from home. Especially to our team members in countries that don’t usually work from home, such as India and Mexico, it was a huge adjustment. As we continue to be remote, I know that employees can feel alone and isolated, but they’re doing great work. We do a lot of virtual events to stay connected. We have “the Moth at GP” which is where people sign up to tell stories from their life (via Zoom,) and other events. I’ve recently implemented a Rockstar rewards program in which employees could nominate each other for spot bonuses. We’ll give out the awards at a “Rock Star Virtual Gala” later this month. In addition, I’ve given each employee a bonus day off to say thank you to my team. This type of thing keeps our team closer and lets them know how much I appreciate them.

 Globalization Partners recently conducted a study this June on how businesses are still set to move forward with major expansion plans despite the Covid-19 related challenges, can you share some of your top thoughts and comments from this latest study?

Yes, our CFO survey results point to the fact that companies are still planning to move forward with international expansion plans despite the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

The research focused on CFOs at organizations with more than $100 million in annual revenues and indicated current international expansion plans. The headline figures were revealing: 45% of respondents are either currently expanding globally or only slightly delaying their expansion and will do it within one year. Another 9% maintain intent to expand internationally but remain in a year-long holding pattern.

This provides optimism to our industry as well as business leaders across the globe.

What are some of the biggest business challenges that you’ve observed in teams that last few weeks and what would your top tips be to them to help alleviate these problems?

One would be shifting to a remote workforce changes many of the tactical rules of managing a team. However the fundamental principles remain pertinent. Diversity and proactive inclusion and engagement continue to foster more creative ideas and positively impact the bottom line. Remembering the fundamentals of good team composition and management will benefit your organization during this time of increased remote working–and beyond.

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The Covid-19 pandemic is going to change how businesses plan the rest of the year and how teams function in general – can you share top takeaways / thoughts on what best practices will help tide over these times better?

One thing is for sure, we have learned the importance of the virtual workforce model for maintaining business-as-usual operations. It has changed how the workforce is recruited, deployed, and motivated to perform. Now leaders will need to build on this to direct human capital where it’s needed the most.

If you’re a global company with employees in different regions of the world, remember that what’s considered normal where you are may not be normal somewhere else. In certain regions, working remotely is not a widely accepted practice. An easy transition for one culture may be difficult for another. In these cases, keeping lines of communication open is critical. It’s extra important to proactively engage the employees for whom this may be an especially difficult transition. If employees know leadership respects the difficulty of the situation, it can ease the stress.

How would you advise businesses and teams, especially HR to stay a step ahead of the game as the global economy tides through these uncertain times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic?

Knowing what business leaders need to boost long-term productivity will be key to ensuring the right recruitment operations are put in place. So, regular communication with those responsible for repositioning products and services will be key to knowing which markets the enterprise plans to serve – and through which channels.

Understanding their recovery timelines, recovery strategies, and where the demand for talent is likely to ramp up first and fastest is just the start to priming appropriate ‘go to market’ hiring plans that will deliver within the timeframes the business requires.

Learnings gleaned from the response to COVID-19 is driving critical new thinking on how the workforce is recruited, deployed, and motivated to perform. Now HR leaders will need to build on this to direct human capital where it’s needed the most.

A few general thoughts / tips for businesses worldwide dealing with the current world pandemic?

Here are three pieces of advice for businesses with a goal of coming out stronger on the other side.

  1. Diversification Is Your Strength – Go After It
    Times like these are great reminders that we are truly a global community. What happens elsewhere affects everywhere. But it may not affect everywhere all at once.From a business perspective, diversification is key to operational stability, especially during challenging times. Where one market may be slowing down (or completely coming to a halt), another may be emerging from a downturn, and you will want your team ready to take full advantage of that opportunity.

    On a practical note – think about where you’re hiring your sales team. Investigate hiring on different continents, so you have a team on the ground, in-country, ready to take advantage of every global market shift.

  2. Focus on Building Your Infrastructure
    If you’re currently experiencing a market downturn, view it as an opportunity to build the infrastructure necessary for the market rebound. That could mean hiring an engineering team to accelerate the next product feature build. It may mean letting your internal team focus on developing a new marketing campaign with a future launch date.In a rushed, intense market, rarely do businesses have the chance to sit back, identify gaps, and take the time to fill in what’s missing – so take advantage of it.
  3. Learn About and From Each Other
    Something happens when your once co-located team becomes distributed…overnight. It forces you to communicate in a different way than you may have before.While you’re likely concerned about keeping up morale during the short term, think about this as an exercise. What can you learn from your team, or about your team, while you’re all facing this situation together? Are there changes in the way you are now communicating offering any lessons you can take back to the office when regular business operations resume?

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Globalization Partners

Globalization Partners enables companies to quickly and easily expand internationally across six continents and 187 countries. Our solution allows companies to hire employees in as little as 12 hours without having to navigate complex international legal, tax, and HR issues. When companies find top talent, that team member is put on our locally compliant payroll. We are the most trustworthy solution in the market and offer 24/7/365 premium support services. We have teams and offices worldwide with global headquarters located in Boston and California and regional headquarters in London, Ireland, Singapore and Dubai(Globalization Partners).

Nicole Sahin’s mission is to eliminate barriers to doing business internationally and building global teams. As founder and CEO of Globalization Partners, she is recognized for having created an innovative solution that enables companies to hire great talent anywhere in the world, without the complexity of setting up foreign branch offices or subsidiaries. Businesses are able to leapfrog over the legal, HR and tax complexities without having to figure out “how” to do business in a foreign country, while getting all the benefits of a global team. She lives in Boston, loves to travel, and is inspired by the belief that making it easy for people to expand internationally, and work seamlessly across borders, ultimately makes the world a more exciting and open-minded place.