Majority of Midsized Business Owners Feel Unprepared to Manage a Global Workforce, ADP Research Institute Study Finds

May 11, 2015

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Talent Management and Compliance Concerns Challenge U.S. and Global Expansion

ROSELAND, N.J., May 11, 2015 – While one in 10 midsized business owners in the United States say they plan to expand globally in the next two years, more than 75 percent feel they don’t have the tools they need to manage a global workforce, according to the ADP Midsized Business Owners Study conducted by ADP Research Institute®, a specialized research group within ADP®, a global leader in Human Capital Management (HCM).

The annual study surveyed more than 750 owners and executives at U.S. companies with 50 to 999 employees.

The results suggest that more midsized companies would expand globally if they were confident enough that their firms were equipped to do so. But many said they view compliance issues across multiple countries and managing talent across borders as major hurdles to their successful expansion.

“Since the volume of government regulation in the United States is already a top concern of midsized business owners, it comes as no surprise that navigating laws across multiple countries would strike many business owners as overwhelming,” said Anish Rajparia, president of ADP’s Major Account Services. “Regulations around the handling and sharing of employee data across countries can be particularly complex, with potential fines and penalties for non-compliance. In China alone, there are 32 provinces and 288 cities, each with their own payroll recording requirements.”

Even if midsized businesses are not contemplating expansion into other countries, they still are feeling the impacts of globalization at home. According to the same study, two in five midsized business owners say globalization has affected how they conduct their day-to-day business, especially when it comes to technology.

Talent Challenges at Home

Midsized business owners cited talent concerns at home as a challenge as well. Only one in 10 midsized business owners are completely confident they have the tools needed to effectively manage their talent – attracting the “right” new hires and retaining proven talent. Two of five respondents are concerned about the overall talent pool.

“Having the proper recruiting, compensation and talent management tools and analytics are vital for companies to improve their employer brand, and hire and retain the best talent possible,” said Rajparia. “Successful growth hinges on helping the people who make your business grow succeed – whether that growth is coming from the United States or globally.”

Larger midsized companies with 151 to 999 employees cited three talent-related reasons for a decline in growth:

  1. Disengaged employees
  2. Inability to retain key talent
  3. Inability to attract qualified talent

Despite talent concerns, the study found nearly two out of five businesses increased their headcount in the past year and more than one-third anticipate increasing it again in the coming year, hiring an average of 14 employees.


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