Hiring Employees Abroad: The HR Manager’s Cheat Sheet


When you run a business, there will be times where you need to position your brand in a foreign market. As your enterprise grows, you will no doubt want to target international audiences to make your brand the dominant one in the industry. Many successful companies from English-speaking nations have managed to do that. Examples include Microsoft, Ford, and McDonald’s to name but a few!

Aside from the obvious tasks of setting up local offices and organizing the distribution of your products and services, there is one thing you need to consider: staff. Unless you plan to export some of your existing employees, you’ll need to hire locals to work at your foreign bases. As an HR manager, you will want to make sure this process is as streamlined and straightforward as possible.

Keep reading to learn more about the art of hiring employees in foreign countries in today’s handy cheat sheet:

Pay your new hires the going rate

It might sound obvious to you, but for the sake of consistency, it’s important to compensate your foreign employees fairly. As you can imagine, standards of living differ in each country, and so you must pay people the “going rate” for their type of work. What you pay domestically may not cover an average worker’s bills in another country. So, do some prior research into salary expectations abroad.

Ensure your new office follows local employment laws

Some countries are stricter about how employees get treated than others. It would be unwise to assume that employment laws are comparable in most parts of the world. The United Kingdom, for example, has stricter laws and regulations than the United States.

It’s worth hiring a local employment law firm to check what things you should put in your employment contracts. Plus, you should research things like typical working hours and days. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the working week lasts from Sunday to Thursday.

Get all legal documents professionally translated

When it comes to things like employment contracts, you must offer those to new employees in their local language. Not only will your new staff understand them, but it’s usually a legal requirement in most parts of the world!

Providers like The Translation People can ensure that documents for specific industries don’t get incorrectly translated. Never EVER rely on machine translations for legal documents!

Pay employees in their local currency

While you might think that U.S. Dollars could be the preferred currency in certain countries, it’s important to pay your foreign staff in their local currency. In most cases, this can be easily done via an electronic transfer from a local bank. Otherwise, be prepared to convert currencies in preparation of payday each month.

Take a look at this page from the Market Watch website for a list of the world’s top banks if you need some help on finding a reliable local bank.

Only hire people that understand the local market

It’s no secret that the way people buy products and services will differ depending on their location. The last thing you want to do is get in trouble because your staff don’t understand how to market your products and services. That’s why you should only hire staff that have strong knowledge of their local market.

By following this cheat sheet, you will minimize any HR nightmares when setting up an office abroad. Good luck!

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