This week I have the pleasure to interview company founder and international entrepreneur, Bjorn Reynolds. Bjorn started his international payroll and HR management company in the UK. Now the company has grown to serve 165 countries.
The International Entrepreneur (TIE)- Bjorn, since many may not know about Global Employment Outsourcing as a fast track to foreign market entry, can you describe how it works?
Bjorn Reynolds (BR)- GEO allows our clients to outsource their international employment responsibilities. From local employment contracts, to paying the actual employee and managing the statutory payroll deductions and managing and providing guidance on any HR issues – all managed through our network of carefully vetted and in-house partners in over 165 countries. What this means for the end client is that they can outsource the entire employment responsibility and process to SafeGuard, all without having to register a local entity and navigate the bureaucratic headaches that such a process typically brings.
TIE – As the originator of the GEO employment model, can you tell us how you and your team at Safeguard World International found this market need and innovated the GEO solution?
BR – Our identification of the GEO market was primarily two fold:
1) We observed a demand from our clients for contingent labour that they could deploy on their medium and short term projects. Historically multinationals have turned to Independent Contractors, particularly in countries where they do not have an entity established, agreements of which frequently fell foul of employment law due to unfamiliarity with local rules and regulations. We devised the service to help our clients hire individuals on a temporary basis and in a compliant manner, removing them from any potential risks and fines associated with the utilization of IC’s.
2) Clients were encountering difficulties going global and expanding their business into new countries. Expansion into new territories if often a daunting and complex task – setting up bank accounts, registering entities with the local authorities and navigating local rules, regulations and cultures is a considerable undertaking for any organisation, no matter their size and amount of available resource.
TIE – What is the biggest challenge you currently hear from companies expanding their global talent teams?
BR – The biggest challenges that we continually hear pertain around “how to” and navigating the local rules and complexities that are frequently encountered when expanding into a new country for the first time – even for large multinationals. From an appreciation and understanding of cultural, time zone and language barriers to understanding what needs to be provided to employees both from a statutory and customary perspective in order to attract and retain the best talent. Coupled with the daunting prospect of completing all the necessary registrations and tax remittances, companies are often deterred from following through on their intentions to expand into a new country.
TIE – As a leader in your field, can you give any advice to companies who are planning their first international expansion?
BR – Many organisations often feel like expanding internationally is out of reach – they don’t have the resources or expertise in order to grow their business on the international stage. This simply isn’t true. While it’s certainly worth noting that international expansion should be a carefully considered and evaluated decision, especially when exploring the time it would take to expand and register your business in a new country, by partnering with the right expert, such as SafeGuard, SME’s and startups should no longer fear taking their business into new territories. With GEO the world becomes truly borderless and I love helping companies not only make their first foray into foreign markets, but also reap the benefits that international expansion can bring to an organisation.
About Bjorn Reynolds
Bjorn is the Founder and Chief Guardian of SafeGuard World International. A recognised industry leader and strategist for the global payroll markets, Bjorn’s passion for payroll is the driving force behind SGWI’s vision, strategy and culture, instilling his enthusiasm for Service Excellence and success throughout the organisation. His entrepreneurship led SGWI to a prominent position in the U.K. Sunday Times “Virgin Fast Track 100″ and he has been personally recognized in the “Payroll Top 50″ by Payroll Magazine and as a “Game Changer” by WorkforceMagazine. During his early career, Bjorn worked for HFC Bank (part of the Global HSBC Group) where he was quickly promoted to branch manager after one year in post – the youngest ever Branch manager at HFC in its history. He later ran marketing and channel functions within the HR and payroll space for one of the top three global payroll and HR service providers.