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How to Keep Your International Employees Happy

Posted by Ray Gonder

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Oct 23, 2015 9:00:00 AM

How_to_Keep_Your_International_Employees_HappyIn a world where more and more companies are expanding and hiring internationally, more companies find themselves with international employees and they're not so sure how to manage them. It comes with all kinds of new challenges. Is there enough face time? How do you ensure they're doing their work? Are there any laws and policies you need to learn? It can be a truly overwhelming experience for any business expanding into a global market, but it doesn't have to be. Luckily there are tried and true methods to keep not just your employees happy, but your company running at peak efficiency too.

Hands-On Management

International employees often complain that they don't get enough face time, or that management feels impersonal and distant. Without meetings, conferences and even socialization with other workers, it can be hard to feel as invested in the company as they'd like. For companies where this goes unaddressed, the turnover rate can be incredibly high and that's more expensive than you think.

So what can you do? No one likes to feel out of the loop. Consider hiring a PEO or a local manager to keep an eye on your workers, offering them advice and direction. With a supervisor they can turn to, they don't have to go without guidance and support—and they're bound to feel more comfortable, happier and feel a great deal safer. Because of a physical absence, being so far away from the head office, it's best to manage HR situations in a similar manner. Interviews, terminations, and negotiations can be handled by your PEO in a more sensitive manner than any email could manage.

Communication

Communication is the key to most things in life, and it's no different in the world of business. Be sure to standardize your communication everywhere—for both local workers and international workers. If your international employees are using a completely different system (a different messaging tool, email system, software), they can often feel out of the loop and unheard. Technical problems can also arise from this mixing of tools. Be sure to standardize your communication methods to make this a smoother process.

Distance and time zones are a factor in communication too—it's important to treat your international workers like your local workers, and by doing so, you foster trust and confidence in them. Consider scheduling a phone meeting or a video chat at regular intervals, even if it's only for a 5-minute check-in, to remind them that they are important members of the team.

Be Aware of Laws and Regulations

Knowledge of the laws in the country you operate in is always important, but consider how much of them will affect your employees. With international workers, there's often a whole other set of laws and regulations to abide by. Consider local labour laws, which will change how you pay them, hire them and terminate them. They may also dictate how long your employees can work and for how much money. It will also change what is required of you in terms of benefits, insurance, health and safety, overtime and holiday pay and any reimbursements required.

When paying international employees, you also have to keep in mind local taxes and payroll laws within the country and be sure that you've adjusted accordingly. Violations in this area can be costly for companies and look very bad to international workers as well. As long as you’re compliant, everyone is happy.

It's also a good idea to make yourself familiar with the cultural business practices of the country your employees work in, and to use those as a guide for how you communicate and work together. It not only shows respect, but it's an excellent way to connect with them on a more personal level and maintain their comfort.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: International Employees

Are Canadian Policies Enforceable to International Employees?

Posted by Karen McMullen

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Apr 15, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Are-Canadian-Policies-Enforceable-to-International-EmployeesThe Canadian employment laws protect every worker in the country, which includes international employees and temporary foreign workers. Canada is a strong supporter of human rights and employment rights. Fair pay, rest periods, hours of work, working conditions and all other Canadian policies dealing with labour and employment must be followed by companies who employ both Canadian and international employees. Although these Canadian policies apply to all employees, foreign workers and companies that hire them do have other regulations to deal with.

Labour Exploitation

A company who does not provide the same rights to international workers as it does for Canadian workers may be in violation of both Canadian law and human rights. This is especially true if an employer threatens to take the foreign worker’s passport or permit away, threatens to have him deported or change his immigration status, or attempts to pay the worker in goods or services instead of Canadian funds. Additionally, international employees cannot be forced to pay for immigration assistance, pay a deposit to ensure the work will be completed, or pay back any costs the company paid to recruit him. Companies who deal in labour exploitation of international employees can be punished with severe penalties, which include imprisonment.

Employment Contracts

For their protection, international employees hired by Canadian companies must sign a contract with their employers before they start work. The terms and conditions set forth in these contracts include pay, deductions, job duties, and conditions of employment, such as overtime pay and numbers of hours worked. The terms and conditions must be based on federal and provincial standards and must be agreed upon from both parties. The contract may be used to resolve issues if disagreements occur in the future.

Employer’s Duties When Hiring from Abroad

If an employer is hiring a temporary foreign worker for a position that requires lower levels of training, he must provide transportation costs both to and from Canada, private health insurance until the worker is eligible for provincial health care, and under specific programs, accommodations.

The Right to Change Employers

Although an international employee may have been brought to Canada by a specific company, he is still allowed to change employers as he sees fit, without penalty or risk of deportation. However, this new employer may need to get permission to hire the worker and apply for a labour market opinion, and the worker may have to apply for a new work permit.

Termination

Generally, an employer must provide written notice of termination and termination pay if dismissing a foreign worker. However, if there is just cause, such as serious misconduct, the employer does not have to give notice. If the employment contract signed by both parties states a specific end date, no notice has to be given. If an employer does not follow the law, the foreign worker can file a complaint with the labour standards office.

Health and Safety

International workers have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment. Canadian policies protect all workers from unsafe working conditions. If a foreign worker is not properly trained to use heavy machinery, isn’t provided safety equipment, feels unsafe when doing the job, or works close to dangerous materials, he is allowed to refuse the hazardous work and must still be paid until the dangers are removed from the workplace or the employee feels the problem no longer exists. Foreign workers must also be covered under workplace safety insurance in case of injury.

Foreign workers have the same rights as Canadian employees. However, other Canadian policies must be followed to hire international employees.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: International Employees, Canadian Policies

How to Pay International Employees Effectively

Posted by Ray Gonder

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Jan 1, 2015 9:00:00 AM

How_to_Pay_International_Employees_EffectivelyExpanding your business operations to emerging markets is a logical step for many companies. Sometimes, your company’s future growth depends on it. But your expansion efforts rely on the use of international employees to work in your new markets. Regardless of where your business is located or how far away your international employees reside, you need to know how to pay them effectively or risk getting into a heap of government trouble, which can lead to heavy fines and penalties.

If you’re using international employees, you need to take a cohesive approach to your new payroll and compensation plan. Here are a couple tips that can help you stay compliant when paying foreign workers.

Know and Understand the Local Laws

You probably know everything there is to know about the business payroll laws in your country. But the local laws can be drastically different when you’re expanding into new countries. Each area has its own tax regulations and payroll legislature.

It’s up to you to know the local legislature and understand how it fits within your company if you’re going to be doing business on foreign soil. Unfamiliarity and ignorance are no excuse for tax fraud or illegal payment methods. You’ll need to sign up with the appropriate payroll authorities, maintain accounts, and regularly submit required information. And since payroll legislature is constantly changing, you’ll need to stay up to date on all the current data in order to stay compliant.

Consider Conversion Rates

Naturally, you’re going to have a payroll budget—but this budget is set in your country’s funds. Do you know what it actually amounts to in the funds of other countries? To ensure you don’t accidentally go over your budget because of the difference in funds, always consider conversion rates before you hire international employees. Additionally, currency conversion rates fluctuate, so consider this fluctuation and try to convert your funds at the most advantageous times so you don’t get hit with a huge exchange rate that can hurt your budget unexpectedly.

Of course this is on the assumption that the salary you offer in your own country for a specific position will be the same expectation of someone with the same type of qualifications in another country.  Understanding salary expectations in another country should be part of your research due diligence when hiring any foreign team members.

Consider Cultural Nuances

Depending on where you’re hiring your new international employees, the cultural nuances when it comes to payment can be vastly different from yours. For example, in some countries, employees are paid monthly rather than bi-weekly. The rules surrounding paid time off, overtime as well as family obligations vary from country to country as well as the worker’s expectation of health benefits and retirement investments.  On top of learning and understanding the local payroll laws, you’ll also need to take some time to learn the unwritten rules in the country you’re considering expanding in.

Outsource Payroll

Some payroll providers specialize in helping foreign countries expand into their country.  Often called a Professional Employment Organization (PEO) or Employer of Record (EOR), they have the knowledge and experience needed to make sure you’re always compliant from not only a payroll perspective but also when it comes to meeting employment standards within the worker’s country.  They’ll take on the responsibility of compliance, make sure you’re always in line with the local employment and tax laws, and keep track of all the appropriate information you need to protect your company while paying foreign workers. They take over the time-consuming and complex responsibility so you can stay focused on more important business tasks during your expansion.

Protect Your Company in Foreign Markets

When you’re expanding into foreign markets, it makes sense to hire international employees to work from their respected countries. However, if you don’t know and understand the local laws, exchange rates, and cultural nuances, your new endeavour can end up costing you far more than you expected. Stay up to date or outsource your payroll and HR to a local employer of record for best results.

7 Signs It's Time to Outsource Payroll

Topics: Pay International Employees, International Employees

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