10 considerations for a multi-country VMS deployment
Although many organisations have broadly similar requirements for VMS systems, like many business technology requirements ‘the devil is in the detail’ is a clichéd, but very relevant phrase. Most VMS platforms are designed to be highly configurable in recognition of this fact, and implementation services are also designed to recognise such complexities.
One of the biggest factors to make the VMS requirements more complex is deploying multi-country instead of just single country. In this post we’ll explore the key considerations for a multi-country VMS deployment. Multi-country can vary from a cluster of countries in a region, to a full global rollout. Even though the complexity of these different scenarios can differ considerably, most of the following considerations apply in all cases, albeit to different degrees;
- Localisation – The most obvious consideration for a multi-country deployment is the localisation requirement; languages, time zones, currencies etc. Most VMS have the functionality to support these variations. The main consideration when thinking about these topics however, is if the variables can be selected both by country and by user group. For example selecting the required language for candidates/workers in a particular country, may or may not be the best language selection for suppliers, hiring managers, operational teams etc.
- Legislation – Labour law, tax law and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are the three main areas of legislation that impact on a Contingent Workforce (CW) programme. Although there is some standardisation in areas such as the European Union, even common legislation can have different interpretations and implementations in different countries. Obviously legislative requirements are non negotiable inputs into the design of any cross border solution. Understanding the complexity of different markets is the first step in planning for this challenge. Staffing Industry Analysts have some great research reports to help with this. Additionally/alternatively, engaging with an implementation partner early in the process can also guide you through this challenge.
- Workers Rights – Whilst not always specifically defined in legislation, the role of worker advocacy groups such as works councils, unions etc should never be underestimated. Such groups have differing levels of influence in different countries and in different industries within the same country. As a general rule, consult with such organisations early in the process to avoid potential stagnating objections and challenges later on in the process.
- Cross Border Transactions – Most CW transactions are managed within each country. However, few companies have no transactions that cross borders. A cross border transaction is one where one or more of the key elements (workers tax location, supplier, hiring manager, work location, work currency, cost centre etc.) are in more than one country. Often these types of transactions are exceptions. The associated complexities should not be allowed to distract from the core objectives of an implementation. However, these are the types of transactions that can derail a project when they surface at the wrong time. Therefore the key is to understand the scope of these types of transactions and have a high level plan of how to tackle them.
- CW Programme Operating Model – A significant factor influencing a VMS deployment is the operating model of the CW programme. Whether the programme is insourced, outsourced or mixed? Whether the programme is centralised, regional or devolved?
- Integrations – Integrating a VMS with relevant technologies in the overall process flow will almost always deliver much greater benefits than the associated costs and timescales of implementing them. VMS integrations is a topic that warrants a post of its own. But the relevance to the multi-country question is recognising that many organisations don’t have all their systems unified across all countries. It is essential to understand the different technology stacks in the different countries and the impact of these differences on the proposed VMS project.
- Culture & Change – The overlooked aspect of many projects is change management. This is further exacerbated in a multi-country project, as one-size fits all change management approaches ignore the cultural differences between countries. Many people realise that cultures are very different between Asia, Europe and the Americas, but there are also many cultural variations within regions and even within the same countries. Understanding these cultural differences and planning messaging and adoption strategies to recognise these variations is key to the success of a project.
- Phasing – There are a range of ways to plan a VMS deployment; Big bang coordinated go live across all countries, hub and spoke deployment grouping major countries with related smaller countries, rolling deployments country by country. There are many factors that define which is the right model for a deployment, but it is important to initially define the preferred model early in the project.
- Deployment Model – Taking all of the above variables into account, the single most important decision in deploying a VMS in more than one country is defining the deployment model. Defining how much variation in the system configuration per country will be enabled and how this will be controlled. One best practice approach is the Blueprint TLS (Tax, Legal or Statutory) model. This involves defining a global blueprint for the system and mandating that only tax, legal and statutory justifications will result in changes to the configuration per country. However, for this model to work a level of central influence is required to mandate and control the approach. Some organisations are too devolved for this model to work effectively, requiring an alternative approach.
- Governance – Regardless of the scope and complexity of the requirements, all projects should have a governance model that is not only defined on paper but that is proactive and meets regularly to oversee and drive the project.
In summary, there are many complexities associated with a multi-country CW programme and VMS deployment. These complexities should not be underestimated, but they should also not be feared. With the correct planning and consideration, all of these challenges can be constructively addressed. This way a successful multi-country VMS deployment is absolutely possible.
About the author
Matt Jessop is Associate Partner at TalentIn. With his expertise as experienced technology subject matter expert and innovator he helps organisations build and execute their workforce strategy,
Matt has a great passion for data and analytics and its role in driving productive business behaviours.
TalentIn has extensive national and international experience in developing and improving strategies for the recruitment of your permanent and temporary staff including the underlying technologies. We know how these programmes can be designed and implemented successfully. We advise, but can also provide practical support. Are you interested? Please contact us for an appointment without obligation via www.talentin.eu, firstname.lastname@example.org or +31103075422.