Globalization has opened up the world for businesses to operate in multiple countries and engage talent anywhere. Using an HR Outsourcing company also known as a Professional Employment Organization or Global Employer of Record enables companies expand and engage talent where they may not already have a presence or established entity.
Learn more about expanding overseas, the intricacies of different cultures, working with remote teams and the impacts of globalization from Javier Romeu and his extensive career working all around the world and now with CXC Global.
Javier is a seasoned, solution-oriented executive with a range of diverse expertise and global experience directing account management, operations, sales, global deployment, consultative business strategy, and business development for Fortune 500 companies around the globe. Javier’s experience in international employment outsourcing, through EOR GEO IPEO solutions, follows an extensive career in the technology sector.
We asked Javier the following questions in a candid interview by Kathryn Hopkins, Marketing Director CXC Global North America.
Q – How did you get into the employment outsourcing industry?
Javier – About 10 years ago I formed my own company to conduct business development in Latin America for companies that wanted to expand into other countries than Latin America and that were not quite ready to go there or were not sure how to go about it. One of the companies that I offered my services to, was looking for someone to do business development for them in the United States, to bring business to Latin America and this was employment outsourcing. I started working for them and it turned into a full time role and I ended up working with them for 6 years and learned a lot about the industry in that time.
Interestingly, when I started looking at employment outsourcing, I had not thought of it previously as a solution to earlier problems I’d had when opening subsidiaries all over the place; hiring people in different countries, trying to understand what the employer costs were, employment taxes that were due, vacation, benefits. It really opened my eyes and I took a deep dive into it. It was also a lot of fun. I enjoyed the new angle of looking at things in a different way and being able to offer that to clients who were looking at the possibility of growing overseas. Let’s face it, most U.S. companies do grow overseas.
Q – What do you recall most from when you first started working in the employer of record industry?
Javier – The first thing would be that you need to work with someone that understands the local market; not only the employment laws, but the local culture. There’s that saying, ‘act globally, work locally’. Work locally is a lot harder to do, because for the most part, you don’t know what you’re doing. Particularly for companies in the U.S. who, through no fault of their own, usually think that whatever is done in the U.S. can be done anywhere in the world and that’s not always the case.
I was fortunate enough to not only work as a native to Argentina but also live in Latin America. I also worked in France for 3 years for a technology company and it was a life changing experience. I went onto their local payroll and all of sudden instead of 2 weeks vacation, I had 6! The problem for me became, ‘how do I take so much vacation’! I learned very quickly.
Q – Looking back, would you have thought the global employer of record industry would evolve as it has?
Javier – At first I thought it was a total niche market and that there would be just a few customers that would want to do that, because they mostly would want to have their own subsidiary or entity and controls in place. However, as I got into it more I realized that people were not controlling it. They basically had 3 options;
- Setup a local distributor or a local partner, whom they had to immediately trust, because this distributor or partner would be in charge of whatever their product was, their marketing strategy, customer contact and working with their customers.
- The other option is what I call the parachute approach, which is what we did for years. Once a month, you would jump in your parachute (airplane) and go to the location and try to conduct business, forge relationships with local clients, local people that you could work with, in order to get the business going. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of money and a lot of time. It takes time to build up trust. People won’t just automatically trust you just from meeting once or twice. You need to meet over longer periods of time to establish that solid working relationship.
- The third option is to form a subsidiary, which is expensive and there are many unknown factors when starting out.
When the employer of record solution came about, the lights all turned on and I thought about how I could do that. To me it sounded like an amazing solution and made it easy to sell it from my previous experience when I talked to U.S. customers.
Q – From your extensive global experience in workforce management, what impact would you say globalization has had in relation to collaboration with teams?
Javier – When I look at globalization, particularly from a U.S. standpoint, all of a sudden it opened up a whole new market and different opportunities to be able to sell the same product that we had done prior to the U.S. It opened up the opportunity to make more money and more sales, but we also had to make sure that the product we were bringing to market met with the needs and requirements of the client.
In order for us to do that (we weren’t experts) we had to work with local people. At first, (as mentioned) we tried to engage them as distributors or partners and contractors, which we found out was not the best, or rather, the most compliant way to do it because things like taxes and benefits had to be considered. We talked to lawyers, with view to setting up our own subsidiary, but then once we got the price back, we realized we couldn’t do that.
Taking all that into account, I realized I could work with customers and open new opportunities. At first, I thought it was a niche product, but then realized that all these people wanting to do HR outsourcing (as it was called then) could go way beyond that. They could still have control of the workers and market approach, but at the same time they didn’t have to go crazy learning new things just for 1 or 2 or 5 people in a different country.
Kate – Globalization has enabled companies to engage talent anywhere, as well as expand into new regions without having a presence or registered entity in that country.
Q – How can companies prepare for the “Future of Work”? (remote working, hybrid workforce, total workforce)
Javier – Total workforce is spot on. A lot of companies are looking at this in a different way now. We have people employed in our headquarters, where we pay them. Then we have remote workers, that may be a contractor or employee. We also have contingent workers, who only work for specific projects and independent contractors. I remember when we started working in Columbia, one of our independent contractors had great contacts with the government. This enabled us to work with them ride different law structures to accept different products to offer to telephony through the cellular infrastructure network. We had to engage an independent contractor for that because they knew these intricacies. All these things became a new way of business and new way to do things. I translated that to outsourcing the employment (HR outsourcing) and it worked great.
It’s easier to talk to people about this aspect when you’ve seen and experienced it first hand and obviously helps a great deal when talking to the client.
Kate -The structure of the workforce has changed so much in terms of a hybrid workforce and to include remote workers now as part of the total workforce. Leadership now needs to adapt to be future-ready.
Q – How has your experience travelling and working around the world helped you to better serve your clients and team?
Javier – Once you start travelling and working around the world, you notice that it’s a lot different than you’re used to and perhaps thought it was. This was my experience and very similar to others I’ve spoken to. You start to break down some of the stereotypes and pre-conceived ideas. It opens up new horizons and ways of looking at things, which is important and is helpful to then share that with others as well, as they look at expanding.
Through globalization most companies are selling products not just domestically but everywhere they can. Obviously you reach economies of scale faster and profits (which ultimately is what companies are looking for)
Q – Favorite country and why?
Javier – It’s difficult because I’m from Argentina. I love all the countries in Latin America and have traveled extensively. But if I had to choose just 1 country, I’d have to flip a coin between Spain, France or Italy. It’s partly due to my ancestry and also that no matter where you go there, there’s always something new to learn and they have so much amazing history. It’s also a benefit being able to communicate in their local language. They’re considered to be romance languages.
Q – If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Javier – I try to always maintain a positive outlook and not have any regrets. But we are all human and there are mistakes sometimes. For example, being from Argentina, we would always hear things about Brazil, which made me slightly skeptical when I first visited. I had some pre-conceived ideas about their pre-conceptions, but once I got to know the people there, I could see that it wasn’t the case. Similarly, when I was in France and we went to the UK, there’s always a rivalry that you can sense, but the reason for that is because of the history. It made me look deeper into the cultures and people to gain a better understanding. If I was to do something differently, it would be to wipe the slate clean and go without any pre-conceived ideas.
Q – What advice would you give to today’s college graduates?
Javier – If your school offers any study overseas, take it. It will open your eyes. Secondly, if you have a way to learn another language, even at a basic level. Do it, as it will open your ears to language and help you in the future. The third thing would be to look beyond next door and what’s right next to you. Go out there and understand the rest of the world. We think the world is industrialized and in many places it is, but there are still a lot of places where there is opportunity for new technology. Think of the world as a whole and not just your own individual island.
Q – How do you unwind?
Mostly with family. I have 2 granddaughters and whenever possible I connect with them on social media to talk and share pictures and video. With my wife, we like to cook on the weekends and sit around the pool, have friends over.
Q – Would you like to give a few words about your experience with CXC?
Javier – I’ve been in the HR outsourcing industry for 10 years. One of the things that struck me from the beginning is the transparency. We’ve never had hidden fees. What you see, is what you get. If the employer costs is X percent, then that’s what we show as the employer cost. We don’t inflate those costs or add onboarding and offboarding fees or phantom banking fees. Of course, we have to make profit and so we advise our clients of our management fee up front. It is clearly stated.
The other thing is that we are treated like family, even though it is a business. It reminds me of my grandmother who was very family oriented, but she was also tough. When she wanted things done, she wanted things done the right way.
Kate – We are family, but we have a job to do.
Our thanks to Javier Romeu for this interview and a look into his career and extensive working experience in multiple countries.