How to Acquire and Manage Talent Globally

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So you’re a manager of a retail store. You scan the room, seeing each one of your employees through the several racks of woman’s garments you just put on sale two days ago. You look to your left and see one employee with their shoulders sagged and a mundane look on their face. You look to your right and you see your star sales representative chatting up a storm with a couple of prospective buyers.

It’s easy to manage employees and talent when everything and everyone is literally right in front of your face. Is Pete meeting his targets? Nope. Why? Probably because he spends more time on his phone than an adolescent in love. You see that ‘A + B’ usually equals ‘C’.

But talent acquisition and management takes much more effort when you – the CEO, President, HR Manager, etc. – are located a world apart. Just ask Dennis Ensing, CEO of TransGaming.

A little about Ensing and TransGaming. In short, TransGaming today offers high-quality games and apps direct to Smart TVs everywhere. When asked for an elevator pitch, Ensing gave a one-sentence recap – “What Netflix is to movies, we want to be for video games.” As such, Ensing has built a comprehensive operation and has employees in three countries: Ukraine, Israel and Canada.

If this working model sounds familiar to you, or you plan on expanding your company globally, you may have a few questions. After picking Ensing’s brain, this is what we found:

Hire Through Agencies On-Site

Looking for talent? There are many ways to do so – co-op students, LinkedIn, word of mouth, job boards. Ensing sang praises for engineering co-op students at Waterloo when he was looking for nearby talent years ago. Now TransGaming hires by way of on-site agencies. When staffing a foreign office, it’s the most efficient and cost effect way to hire, says Ensing.

“Typically they are much less expensive than they are here, so we do make overseas hiring a practice.”

“In Ukraine, you get two to three people for the price of one, so its the first place we think of hiring and we have some really great and talented people there who are happy to work for us.”

Have a Personal Touch, Be Connected

As the chief, the need to be accessible is heavy in any working capacity, but when you have employees scattered across the globe, that need is likely a little heavier. For Ensing, he also has TransGaming troops in two of the world’s most unstable areas today. Israel’s regular struggles with Gaza and Ukraine’s recent tussle with Russia have exponentially increased the importance of not only communication, but support from Ensing and his management team.

Read ‘What the crisis in Ukraine taught us about our staff’, a story published in the Globe and Mail about TransGaming’s fiery experience with Ukraine’s protests in Kiev.

“I think personal touch is incredibly important. At the end of the day, people respond when they are valued and they are valued when you take the time to know who they are, what matters to them and what makes them tick.”

“I make regular trips overseas, I’ve been to our overseas offices three times this year, and our VP of Finance has also made the trip.”

“Every time I go, I have a team session with everyone in the office. On top of that, we have quarterly ‘town halls’. We also have a scrolling PowerPoint in each office that is updated daily with news and information.”

Tear Down Your Borders

So there are boarders. That doesn’t stop you from Facebooking your mother-in-law in Europe. Over 100 years of modern globalization has torn down these imaginary borders, and that can apply to your working eco-system as well.

“I actually still don’t think we get connected enough. I’m now looking for some new thinking about that myself and one of the things I’ve been leaning towards is an activity that is inter-office. Maybe it’s healthy eating, maybe it’s having a more active lifestyle. We want to take one person from each office and make a team, which allows them to interact together… to try to be the best of all the teams within the company in that activity.”

“I don’t think any one thing works, it definitely depends on the culture.”

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