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Is your company considering global expansion? Or perhaps you already use a global employment model, but you need a bit more HR support? If you answered yes to either question, it might be time to partner with a global HR service to help you tackle these challenges and gain peace of mind.

Global HR services can help with a wide range of global employment issues. From a talent acquisition perspective, using one can open your business up to a wider talent pool, connecting you with qualified candidates from across the world. From an HR management perspective, they help remove typical roadblocks to hiring employees from international locations, ensuring you remain compliant with country-specific regulations that apply to your new team members.

In this article, I’ll explain how global HR services can help your organization, how they work, and the different types of HR functions they typically perform.

What are Global HR Services?

Global HR services help companies access and manage top talent from other geographic areas. This may involve HR outsourcing services such as:

  • Talent acquisition (including recruitment process outsourcing),
  • Payroll processing (including multi-country and multi-currency payroll),
  • Financial management services,
  • Compliance with local regulatory guidelines,
  • Employee benefits administration,
  • Employee onboarding,
  • Performance management, and
  • Other HR consulting services.

Working with a global HR services partner means that your organization doesn’t need an enormous in-house human resources department to hire new employees from other countries.

Having the local knowledge and expertise provided by your HR consulting partner also helps you enhance employee engagement and increase retention, making sure that all the HR needs of your team members are satisfied according to local expectations and standards.

How Do Global HR Services Work?

Global HR services allow you to streamline your in-house HR functions, either via a monthly rate per employee or by paying per service you wish to secure. Pricing depends on the extent of the services you use, and the number of employees you need to cover.

Depending on the type of global HR service you work with (see below for definitions), you'll find one of two partnership models:

  1. The company acts as your partner or co-employer, sharing human resources management tasks with you, or
  2. The company becomes the official employer of your team member, taking over core HR management tasks to ensure they're executed compliantly.
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Types of Global HR Service Providers

Global HR services can be broken down into a number of different functions. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common global HR solutions:

Global Payroll Services

Global payroll services help you consolidate all the financial tasks for international employees. Each location has different salary expectations, minimum wage requirements, deductions, and taxation requirements.

Most global payroll service providers offer the following features:

  • A consolidated dashboard that offers a streamlined view of all your international employee data
  • Local expertise, including in-country personnel with experience in local tax, labor, and employment laws to ensure regulatory compliance
  • Global payroll operations in multiple countries (anywhere from 50 to 240), and payment support for multiple currencies (between 50 and 100).
  • Payment processes for multiple employment types including full-time and part-time employees, freelancers, and contractors

If this sounds like the type of provider you need, take a look at our list of the best global payroll service providers to find a good match for you.

Using HR software for global payroll can also help you cut back on your HR team’s admin time, freeing them up to focus on things like employee development.

Employer of Record (EOR) Services

At this point, you might be wondering how an Employer of Record (EOR) can help. Essentially, an EOR acts as a surrogate employer for team members in other countries.

Though the team member works for you, the EOR is their legal employer and performs many of the traditional talent management tasks including payroll and global employee benefits. It’s a bit like having an external HR department to handle all the workforce management tasks for your international team members.

Most EOR providers offer the following services:

  • Global payroll management including international tax compliance and withholding requirements
  • Labor law compliance and expertise in country-specific employment laws
  • Visa and work permit sponsorship to help facilitate legal employment abroad and support employee relocation
  • Benefits administration including region-specific health insurance benefits that meet local legal requirements
  • Risk management and insurance to cover employment-related risks, workers' compensation, and other business protections for unforeseen circumstances
  • Multi-language support including translation services and localized assistance to prevent miscommunications and service a diverse workforce

EORs also allow you to expand your business into another geographic region without setting up a legal entity there (a perfect fit for small businesses and startups). Using an EOR service also allows companies to add employee costs to their financial reports as an expense, rather than including them as a payroll cost.

Some EORs may provide a singular pool of candidates that they offer to multiple companies, helping teams access top talent at a reasonable group rate. However, they don't necessarily recruit on behalf of a client, making EORs different from staffing agencies.

If your organization is looking to work with an EOR, check out our list of the best EOR services, as well as our thorough breakdown of the potential risks of using an EOR service too.

If you're set on hiring employees within a specific country, our roundups of the best EORs in Canada and the best UK-based EOR services may also be a good fit.

Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Services

A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) acts as your partner, helping you to carry out HR processes like benefits administration, tax filing, and payroll. Technically, this arrangement is considered to be co-employment.

When using a PEO, your organization is responsible for establishing a legal entity in each country your employees reside in. From a risk management perspective, this means your organization is still partially responsible for any liabilities incurred by the PEO services since your team members are still employed directly by your organization.

Most PEO providers offer the following services:

  • Payroll processing services including payroll tax requirements
  • Assistance with regulatory compliance to support
  • Management of employee benefits packages including healthcare insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, and other employee perks
  • Recruiting and staffing, including overseeing the onboarding process for any new staff hired
  • Data management services and other administrative tasks, including generating contracts for new hires and producing HR analytics and reports

The cost of PEO services will vary from provider to provider. The primary benefit of working with a PEO is that small businesses and startups can provide team members with high-quality HR professional services without having to hire an in-house HR department.

PEOs are increasingly common, with roughly 173,000 small businesses to mid-sized businesses in the U.S. currently using their services.

Read more about the difference between PEO and EOR and, if this sounds like a better fit for your needs, take a look at our list of the best PEO companies covering services offered, pros & cons, and pricing details.

image of peo eor

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) Companies

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) companies are specialized service providers that manage and execute the recruitment process for other businesses. They take charge of the entire hiring lifecycle, from identifying job requirements to sourcing, screening, interviewing, and onboarding candidates.

RPO companies typically offer the following services:

  • Candidate sourcing and screening to identify potential candidates from different channels to ensure a high-quality talent pool
  • Job advertising and employer branding to help companies attract top talent
  • Interview coordination between candidates and hiring managers to ensure a smooth process for candidates and hiring managers
  • Candidate assessments and evaluations to determine candidates' suitability for specific roles
  • Onboarding support to ensure new hires transition smoothly into their roles

RPO companies use their expertise and resources to tailor recruitment strategies, ensuring they align with the client's business goals and culture. By outsourcing recruitment to these companies, businesses can benefit from improved hiring quality, efficiency, and scalability, while reducing the time and cost associated with in-house recruitment processes.

If this sounds like the type of HR expert you're looking to partner with, take a look at my list of the best RPO companies next.

Connect With the Best of the Global Talent Pool

Not only does international staffing instantly connect you with a wider range of candidates, but it also enhances your team’s diversity and enriches your corporate culture with some fresh perspectives.

Outsourcing HR responsibilities to top global HR services allows you to leverage their global expertise to help you bridge this gap, taking you from a small business operating locally to a growing organization with a reach that extends around the world.

To give you a leg up in this department, take a look at these tips on how to tap into global talent and hire remote employees from our international recruiting expert Mariya Hristova.

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Related reads: Best Canadian HR Software and Best Canadian Payroll Software

Kim Behnke
By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication, and recently completed a Certified Digital HR Specialist program through the Academy to Innovate HR. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.