Hire Anyone, Anywhere? How Globalization Partners’ Employer of Record Platform Helps Companies Go Global

Many SMBs are starting to look beyond the pandemic and exploring opportunities to build new revenue streams. For some, this means expanding into global markets. While this can prove to be a great way to grow, businesses must make significant investments of time, energy and money to become knowledgeable about the areas they want to expand into—and most of the time, you need feet on the ground to be successful.

However, onboarding employees in new countries is a daunting, time-consuming task—made that much harder due to the pandemic. So, I was keenly interested in talking with Diane Albano, the chief revenue officer of Globalization Partners (GP). GP provides an automated and compliant global employer of record platform that helps companies hire anyone, anywhere in the world more easily and quickly.

Laurie

Diane, I’m definitely going to ask you more about what an “employer of record platform” is and how it works. But before we get into that, can you tell me a little about the genesis of the company?

Diane

Globalization Partners was formed in 2012 by our CEO and founder, Nicole Sahin, for a very simple reason. She had worked for a company set up entities for companies that wanted to expand globally. She thought, “Wow, we’re setting up an entity for every single company in all these different countries. Wouldn’t it be cool if I set up one entity per country, and let all of our customers share that entity to onboard people versus having to do this on their own.”

She took that idea, traveled the globe, and started Globalization Partners in 2012. Things grew pretty slowly in the very beginning. But then business started to take off, doubling year over year over year. When I started almost a year and a half ago, we had about 130 employees. Now we have three hundred and almost forty, and will grow to 600 by the end of this year.

Laurie

Is this across several locations?

Diane

Yes, we’re all over the world. In fact, about 30% of our employees are in the United States, and the rest are outside. Because we help companies grow globally, our support system needs to be around the globe. We have HR specialists, legal, finance, and all of the different functions that we need to serve our customers all around the world. 

Laurie

Ok, help me to better understand what an employer of record platform is. You mentioned you set up an entity that your customers can use to onboard employees. How does this work?

Diane

Think about if you want to hire someone in Spain. You identify the candidate, but you can’t just hire someone in Spain without setting up a lot of logistics. You need banking and finance in country, and you need to adhere to the hiring regulations in Spain. By working with an employer of record, you can offload that. GP hires the candidate, and onboards that person, who is then dedicated 100% to your company.

Typically, we set up a quick master service agreement with the employer. When the employer is ready to hire, they tell us, and we sign an addendum with them for each new country they want to add. We also sign an employee contract to get each new employee onboarded, enrolled in benefits, to ensure taxes are paid, and that everything is compliant with the country they are working in.

Laurie

But you don’t actually do the actual recruitment part? 

Diane

Right. Once an employer starts recruiting, it might take 30 days or 60 days to find the right person. So sometimes people will sign with us for one country knowing that they want to also expand in 12 more, and sign an addendum for the other countries so as soon as they identify the candidate, we can quickly onboard them.

Laurie

Once an employee is onboarded, Diane, then they’re technically an employee of Globalization Partners, but are 100% dedicated to the employer that you’ve contracted with, right?

Diane

Exactly correct. It’s not a contractor situation, where the talent resource is shared.

Laurie

How many countries does Globalization Partners provide this service in?

Diane

We can work in every single country in the world, except the eight or so that we can’t do business with as a U.S. based company—so it ends up being 187 countries that we’re in. And as I mentioned, we’ve been doubling our business year over year.

Laurie

What do you attribute the latest growth spurt to?

Diane

A few things. First, it’s still a nascent industry, but we’re doing a lot of work to spread the word, and people are becoming more aware of this option. Big companies, and partners, they are hiring all the time, and testing new markets, and this helps them to do so more quickly.

The pandemic has also made more companies realize that they can hire anyone, anywhere to fill a particular role. Being able to hire great talent wherever it happens to reside has been another big driver of our business.

Laurie

Once they understand what GP does, what are your customers most excited about?

Diane

The big thing is time to market. Prior to the pandemic, it could take anywhere between six and 18 months to set up a new entity in another country. Now with the pandemic and not being able to travel, get wet signatures for contracts and things like that, it can take so much longer. Companies look at us and say that this is a huge timesaver.

Laurie

So, GP takes that off their back.

Diane

Yes, the costs, the compliance issues, the risks.

Laurie

On the flip side, what concerns do people have about this type of arrangement?

Diane

In the U.S., many companies are knowledgeable about PEOs so they understand the model and aren’t concerned. As we branch into Europe and Asia, we have to do more education, but once we do, they are very excited about it.

And for smaller businesses, the same holds true. We also need to get the word out—and we are doing that through PR and working with analysts. 

Laurie

What happens on the other end—with termination—in this type of situation?

Diane

That’s the hardest part of employment. Termination rules and regulations vary greatly by country, whether it’s voluntary or involuntary. Again, we know the regulations and handle that all for our clients.

Laurie

One of the reasons you came on my radar was you recently signed a partnership with Sage Intacct      and I guess even more recently, another partnership with ADP. Can you just explain why you’re getting active in the partnering area? 

Diane

Partners are the lifeblood of any company. No matter what you’re selling, or what kind of work you do, partnerships give you far more reach. Sage and ADP both have large customer bases, many of whom have international aspirations. But they don’t know about employer of record services. The cool thing is that we can educate Sage and ADP, and they can connect us with their customers who are looking to expand globally. We’re also attracting partners in Europe, and Asia, Latin America, everywhere.

Laurie

Is your solution integrated with Sage and ADP software?

Diane

Yes, we’re in the final stages of integration. The integration does not share privacy data, but provides a high-level view of what’s going on from within those solutions. Somebody using Sage Intacct      or ADP and Globalization Partners can see how many employees located in different geos are under GP’s umbrella, and roll up payroll data and things like that in aggregate.

Laurie

I’m wondering, has the remote work situation, this horrible pandemic and nobody being able to travel like they would ordinarily, what effect has this had?

Diane

It’s had a huge effect on many different levels. H-1B visa restrictions in the US and not having people come into our country for a period of time. Employers still want those people, but they’re sitting outside the U.S. GP can hire them for them and let them work from wherever they are until they can then come into this country. Or similarly, some H-1B visa people have not been able to bring their families here, and want to go back to their home country, and we can set them up there.

Also, the benefits of sourcing global talent and being able to hire anyone anywhere has become more compelling—getting the best talent for the role.

Laurie

What about your pricing model, how does that work?

Diane

We have different models for different situations. Typically, we charge a very low fee to get everything set up. Then we charge a percentage on top of the fees, base salary, commissions, et cetera.

Laurie

Who are your competitors?

Diane

There are always companies that say they compete with us. But our founder created this industry, and she’s always worked to stay way ahead of the curve. We have a 97% customer satisfaction rate and we pride ourselves in that. Our people are located around the globe to make sure that the needs are satisfied in time zone. That’s so important. You don’t want to have someone getting back to you 24 hours later.

Innovation also sets us apart. We’re making big investments in technology. We hired a CTO 13 months ago and we’re hiring something like 150 people to do development around the world.

The other factor is our ability to handle all of the financial nuances of 187 countries and all the different pieces of those 187 countries. Competitors may charge less, but they aren’t doing things as well—often their customers have a bad experience, with a financial or other issue, and they come to us.

Laurie

What’s the biggest opportunity for GP looking ahead?

Diane

We haven’t even hit the tip of the iceberg yet. We’ve been predominantly a US focused business up until a year ago, and have just started getting into some of these new markets. We’re seeing huge demand across Europe and Israel, and in Southeast Asia and Northern Asia, and we’re just starting to get going in these places.

Laurie

How can people learn more about GP?

Diane

Here’s a link to GP’s general resources page: Resources Archive | Globalization Partners (globalization-partners.com). We also have a specialized team to support M&A activities, which people can visit: Globalization Partners: We Support Global M&A Transactions.

© SMB Group, 2021

Source: Laurie McCabe’s Blog

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