Why Global Talent Sourcing from Other Countries?

[4-min read]

With the constant and rapidly changing technology around us, there seems to be more and more of a need for specialized, usually technical personnel. The flow or sourcing of global talent (read more here) seems to be geographically from East to West and to a lesser extent from South (Latin America) to North (USA).

The simple reason for this global talent sourcing is that in most Western countries there simply aren’t enough people/talent to fill the demand.

Typical countries where global talent comes from are:

  • India
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Mexico

It is mostly IT/Tech companies and Multinationals who have the need and resources to get personnel from other countries. But how do these companies best deal with the newly recruited people in such a way that both the company and the recruited employee assimilate well (and costly failure is avoided)?

Why Is Cultural Onboarding So Important?Global talent sourcing

Getting people from one country to the other is not so difficult. But when it comes to professional global talent sourcing, cultural onboarding is really important.

What is cultural onboarding? Ideally, it is part of the “induction program” that a newcomer goes through. The usual things are an introduction to new colleagues, a talk with the new boss, and arranging logistics, such as housing, banking, laptop, phone, etc.

What often isn’t part of this induction program is intercultural management. The question then is: What are the overall cultural differences between the country of destination and the country of origin? Many times, these differences are very significant!

Dealing with Culture Shock

A phenomenon that pretty much every individual goes through is culture shock.

The initial “honeymoon period” is over and the newly globally sourced talent is wondering what he or she is doing in their host country.

The emotional challenges that newcomers face (from mild to severe depression!) are often underestimated by the host country. The process of culture shock generally looks like this (see image below).

global talent sourcing and culture shock

[source: https://www.internations.org/magazine/the-4-stages-of-culture-shock-40101]Cultural onboarding and making yourself (!) and the newcomer (s) culturally competent can help tremendously in retaining personnel. In addition, if the newcomer comes with a partner/family, it is often the partner who ultimately decides to stay or go back home. And a failed expatriation is very expensive; see the example below.


  1. An average IT engineer earns about €5000 a month when starting in an organization;
  2. It takes her/him about 2 months to come fully up to speed on a complex project;
  3. That means that it costs a company €10,000 before there is any ROI;
  4. If you can shorten these 2 months to 1 month, that’s a huge gain;
  5. On the other side, if you can retain one individual 1-month longer (who otherwise would have left your company), you’re saving the company an easy €10,000 on not having to hire yet another person.

And this is an example pertaining only to one (!) individual…

  • Based on an IT company in the Netherlands

It is NOT about the Legal or Accounting Stuff

There are plenty of companies that will help global companies find globally sourced talent. Often their focus is on the legal side (visa/permits, etc.) and the accounting part (salary, benefits, etc.).

Our statement is that, though this is important, it is not THE most important item to overcome. Legal and accounting issues are easily outsourced to other professionals or could even be handled within the host company/country.

What you cannot outsource is cultural competence. On both sides: You (and your personnel) should be culturally competent and the newcomer should be culturally competent. It is a skill you can learn.

Reading about Swimming versus Actual Swimming

And here is where we come in: We can make you and your globally sourced talent culturally competent.

The analogy is this: How will you learn to swim if you only read about swimming as opposed to getting into the water?

Again, cultural competence is a crucial skill that you must (yes, must) learn in order to stay ahead in the game and of your competition.

If you’re interested in listening to our podcast about this topic, please go here.

An article on employee motivation can be found here.


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About Peter van der Lende

Peter van der Lende International business development

Peter has joined forces with Culture Matters.

Because he has years and years of international business development experience joining forces therefore only seemed logical.

Being born and raised in the Netherlands, he has lived in more than 9 countries of which most were in Latin America.

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