Skip to main content
Copied to clipboard

Taking a Talent-First Approach to International Business Expansion

Business expansion decisions are never simple. But with the right location strategy and leadership, you can ace one of the most important moves you’ll ever make.

International expansion decisions are typically driven by factors like real estate, location and overhead costs. In the post-COVID era of work, talent has emerged as a critical variable for business success in new markets.

Many businesses are realizing that international expansion is not merely about reaching new markets. It’s also an excellent way to access the world’s top talent. A talent-first location strategy can drive long-term business resilience and success, according to Gartner.

In our LANDED podcast, we invited industry experts to share why talent and leadership should be one of the primary considerations when expanding internationally. Here’s what we learned:

Taking a talent-centric approach to expansion

In Episode 5 of LANDED, Dan Deeth, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Arctic Wolf, shared how the cybersecurity leader makes talent its number one priority when choosing expansion locations.

Arctic Wolf is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has offices in Utah, Texas, the UK and Waterloo, Ontario. Deeth said the company chooses locations based on business needs and available talent.

“As the business evolved, so did the office locations,” Deeth said. “Phase one of the office expansion was that we needed to build the platform to enable the vision for the company. We chose Waterloo because the talent was here. You want to build something? You build in Waterloo.”

Arctic Wolf prioritizes site selection based on talent rather than being confined by geographical limitations. It’s a modern approach to building a global workforce that embraces remote and hybrid work to attract top talent – wherever they call home.

“Our CEO, Nick Schneider, believes in finding the best people possible, no matter where they are,” Deeth said. “We went out and found the talent. And then the office was built up around the talent and then it’s almost magnetic where if you build it, they will come.”

" You want to build something? You build in Waterloo. "

Dan Deeth

Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Arctic Wolf

Building a strong foundation with trusted talent

Turntide Technologies CEO Ryan Morris also prioritized talent when choosing expansion locations, adding that having the right leadership is critical to making remote offices successful. Morris shared in Episode 1 of LANDED that the company focuses on building a base around leadership.

“You need that centre for critical mass to build around, partly because that leader will be doing the recruiting there as well. As much as I would love it if we were all under one big roof, you can’t do that because the specialized requirements are spread out. We try to get those clusters where you have enough for teams to build up in certain locations,” Morris said.

Morris stressed having trusted leaders at your new locations because they ensure that operations run smoothly, even when they’re in different time zones or countries.

“The biggest thing is to have a leader that you really trust and you’re going to be time zones away. You need to make sure to have that dynamic where you have good leadership, good consistent culture, to what we’re doing back home,” Morris said.

Attracting local talent to fast-track success

Building an international location around a leader or talent pool is important. But sometimes, businesses need to bring in specialized talent or current leaders to help make expansions successful.

In Episode 4 of LANDED, Pavan Dhillon, Principal Attorney and Founder of Dhillon Immigration Law, said the core team for an international expansion often needs to be brought in from the home office location.

“These companies want to bring someone into the country who is well versed in the company’s protocols and methodologies and to really cultivate their culture,” Dhillon said.

However, she added that it’s equally crucial to tap into the local talent pool for growth and integration into the community. Local talent can also bring in fresh perspectives and contribute to a diverse work environment.

Kristina McDougall, managing partner and founder of Artemis Canada agreed with Dhillon. In Episode 2, McDougall shared that hiring a local lead for expansion offers several benefits, including access to local talent pools, understanding the community’s culture and networks and fast-tracking success in the market.

“You want to make sure that you find someone with a good reputation in the local community for meeting people because good leaders often have their own cadre of people that have followed them from place to place. So, their ability to accelerate recruiting and build that team quickly is valuable,” McDougall said.

Build your talent plan

Prioritizing talent acquisition is one of the key elements of a successful international expansion. Whether you leverage a local talent pool or strategically relocate key personnel, having the right people in place helps businesses land and grow within a new community.

Fortunately, we have experienced professionals that can help.

We’ll help you hire the best talent

Tune into LANDED podcast for more expert insights or get in touch with our team to learn more.