Elements of a Successful Global Expansion (and How to Prepare)

May 17, 2016

Expanding your domestic VMS globally can be a great opportunity. Such a transition allows your VMS to deliver the same business benefits of cost savings, compliance, and analytics—in additional countries. So, how can you make sure that your expansion is successful? It's simple, really—you get help from someone who knows the keys to a thriving global program.

Why Deploying Programs Globally Can Be Tricky

Each rollout is different. There are many potential challenges (legal compliance, local intricacies, adoption, legacy systems, etc.), not to mention the usual resistance that occurs when pursuing global program changes. That's why it's important to understand the nuances involved when deploying your program globally. You increase your chances of success when you gain insights into the expansion process and plan accordingly.

How to Prepare for Going Global

During the last 13 years in the global contingent workforce management sector, I've helped many corporations with software implementations on a global scale. Some were looking for more control, some more visibility. Others wanted to improve the quality of their talent. When it comes to program expansion and guiding a transformation, I've seen almost everything.
Based on my experience, here are a few tips from what I've learned helping clients:
  • Find executive sponsorship: It can be a big asset to develop a relationship with someone inside of your organization who is well known in the countries where you're expanding your program, especially if they have a track record of successful program changes in the past. They will be even more helpful if they're willing to travel to the new countries to 'sell' the global program.
  • Adopt a global rollout approach: Decide upfront which countries warrant a full implementation, as opposed to those countries that are better suited for a more scaled-down approach. A scaled-down approach can still provide the program goals and efficiencies you need while allowing you to fit the solution to meet the in-country drivers.
  • Know your market and use that to help the program be successful: What will entice each country or region? Is it reporting and global visibility? Is it efficiency? Are there deliverables that hiring managers really want out of a program? Work with your VMS (and/or MSP) to find the answers to these questions. Then put it all in a presentable format and arm your in-country rep with that information.
  • Determine which communication avenues work in each location:What form of communication works best for each country or region? Is it the Intranet, roadshows, in-person presentations, etc.? Determine this early and then use those avenues to educate people on the new program before it reaches them. For example, an enterprise company based in the U.S. that has achieved major corporate gains with reporting and metrics could send a newsletter to HR and/or procurement departments, extolling these gains prior to expanding to that region.
  • Understand the acceptable level of variance: Just as each human being is unique, each country or region you roll out your program to is different. That means you should plan for some variance during the rollout. It's easier to enter a new country or region with an open list of what can be changed and what should be global. For example, are workflow/approval changes acceptable variances, but are time cost reporting/allocations not? Where is the line on variability drawn?
  • Accommodate international team members: Don't forget about differences in time zones. Manage your expansions by time zone so team members can set themselves to a mental clock for the rollout (similar to working the graveyard shift at the ER). Also, don't forget to account for holidays across all countries when defining your scope. Include international dial-in numbers to make it easier for those involved.
  • Determine what you consider a successful program: This will keep you on track as you roll out your program. Publish your vision of success. Make it a goal for members of the expansion team. Then, strive toward that goal, reviewing and adjusting every year, as needed. Work with your VMS team to determine how those goals can continue to evolve and meet your corporate needs.

Looking Forward—to Global Governance

If you've already implemented a program and you're considering an expansion, there are several things you need to consider before going global. Because of the possibility of potential issues, insight and planning are critical to your success. Make sure you consider all your options to engage globally and get the right buy-in for a successful program.
Of course, once you expand your program globally, you have to find a way to manage it going forward. In an upcoming blog post, I'll share some tips on how to set up a global governance model to manage regulatory and other unique needs for your program in different regions.

Are you thinking about expanding your program globally? Join the conversation by tweeting us @BeelineVMS.