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How to overcome the challenge of working across borders

By Jack Campbell | |6 minute read
How To Overcome The Challenge Of Working Across Borders

Expanding a business into another jurisdiction can be a daunting experience. HiBob Australia and New Zealand’s country manager, Damien Andreasen, spoke with The HR Leader about the difficulties businesses have working across borders, and gave some suggestions on how to accomplish it.

Mr Andreasen said: “Having helped companies expand into new geographies … I know the complexity of it, especially in HR. You need to think about local regulations, legislations, [and] the culture. How do you support a successful team there? There’s the remit to expand and then theres the realities of, how do we do it successfully?”

Understanding the appropriate support tech for your organisation can help make the process easier: “You want a system that has the ability to be flexible around the outcomes that company needs,” commented Mr Andreasen.


“If were moving into Singapore or into China, were spinning up a team in the Philippines, or we want to go and take on the US, if you dont have a system that has the capabilities of supporting you in those regions, then its a stall point. Youre not going to get the benefits that you want out of that system and its going to slow you down,” he said.

Mr Andreasen noted that some departments may have a harder time finding the right system: “Payroll is a great example where theres not a lot of really good global payroll systems. We work with companies that might be in 30 different countries across the globe, and they have 15 different payroll vendors that they need to use.”

He added: “Thankfully, not all technology is as localised as what payroll is.”

HiBob is currently experiencing these challenges firsthand as the company expands: “Were looking at setting up in a new region in Asia. Im going through the process of what does it look like to set up an entity? What are the tax implications? Is it possible to hire people on visas that are expats versus local citizens? Theres a lot to think about,” Mr Andreasen explained.

Mr Andreasen recognised compliance and onboarding as two standout hurdles for an organisation making a move to a new country. Tech and experience can help make the transition as smooth as possible.

“I think compliance is a big question mark when you move into any region … Tech doesnt solve all the problems, you need experience as well. You need to wrap your teams around it and have people who can also help you to create local processes that are going to be relevant for that GO,” said Mr Andreasen.

“Onboarding 300 new employees in three new regions, thats a challenge. Having a system that automates that for you, streamlines it, but beyond just automation and streamlining, customises it per region… In Australia, weve got a tax file number. Singapore, do they have a tax file number? I dont think they do. They call it something else. Theres local certificates and compliance that need to be done. You need a system that allows you that flexibility and thats where the efficiencies come in,” he added.

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation recorded in July 2022 with Damien Andreasen is below, and the original podcast article can be found here.




Compliance often refers to a company's and its workers' adherence to corporate rules, laws, and codes of conduct.


Onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into the company, guiding them through the offer and acceptance stages, induction, and activities including payroll, tax and superannuation compliance, as well as other basic training. Companies with efficient onboarding processes benefit from new workers integrating seamlessly into the workforce and spending less time on administrative tasks.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.