Are you thinking of expanding your company internationally? If that is so, then you will already know that it is really important to define your internationalization strategy well. This should detail the business plan right from choosing the targeted market and the distribution channel through to the investment plans or marketing plan. But let’s not forget that the success of an export process or organization set up outside the borders of the country of origin depends on among other factors, a good definition of the profile of team members.
A key point that HR departments must bear on mind for business internationalization is employee training and development. Making sure that the workforce is qualified for the new tasks to be done within a new cultural environment, is vital in procedures for opening offices abroad as well as for product export processes. The French CAS (Centre for Strategic Analisis, an offspring organization of the French government) has published a study this year which examined 12,000 French companies (of which 8 out of 10 opened up abroad). This study concludes, “In all of these, regardless of conditions, the proportion of managers and engineers increases with the degree of integration into world markets.” It proceeds to explain that “internationalization requires the development of negotiation and management skills, which are undertaken more efficiently by qualified workers.”
That’s why the CAS study highlights a prerequisite for preparing employees before intensifying relations with the international community: training and hiring a team with the right level to effectively manage and develop the project in the external market.
Similarly, bear in mind that you do not need the same type of profiles for exports as for setting up company subsidiaries abroad. The first case requires training the sales force in charge of exports, while in the latter case entails training the entire team involved in opening offices in foreign soil.
This research also points out other key factors to consider other than workforce management, such as strengthening the capacity for innovation, which facilitates the development of exports (although it’s true that it’s not enough for setting up abroad) or the importance of some cultural induction. Indeed an import company is more likely to convert into an export one: those with prior knowledge on the country and product will fare better.