Setting up a company typically requires months, during which time the company is not operational, and requires tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment capital, often before understanding the business, financial, consumer, or local culture landscapes.
Such fixed entry strategies may result in mistakes such as: choosing the wrong pricing model, launching the wrong initial service line or product, setting up in the wrong location, pursuing a misguided business model, or selecting the wrong business partners or suppliers to work with.
It is easy to make avoidable mistakes in the absence of on-the-ground information and practical experience in the market. Yet reversing strategies when investments have been made is more costly, time-consuming, and can even adversely affect the business’ reputation.
Given these considerations, an increasing number of firms today may find it better to first test out or target a smaller or shorter-term presence in Vietnam. Fortunately, a lesser-known model for businesses to hedge against the risks of market entry exists and is available across several Asian markets.
As an alternative, a new market entry model called Global Staffing Solutions enable foreign investors doing business in Vietnam without setting up an entity, for short-term at least.
Global staffing solutions: What is it and how does it work?
Global Staffing Solutions (GSS) is a market entry strategy that alleviates the stress on businesses to establish a corporate entity and outsources the burden of keeping up with the day-to-day management of an employee’s payroll and the entity’s tax compliance to a local firm. This frees up critical resources for the foreign firm to explore its options in a new or unfamiliar market.
In simple terms, the way GSS works is that it enables businesses to place boots on the ground, without needing to physically set up a local establishment.
The service works with the third-party service provider signing separate contracts with both – the foreign company and the foreign employee.
This means that while the normal day-to-day control and working employee relationship will exist between the overseas company and its outsourced hires, the local service provider in Vietnam will handle all the risk mitigation, compliance, payroll, and benefits on the ground.
Advantages of adopting a global staffing solutions strategy
Under the GSS service, foreign companies can enjoy the benefits of hiring full-time staff working in overseas markets and remaining compliant with local laws, without the time and investment required to set up and operate an overseas legal entity.
Specifically, it can provide the following benefits to businesses.
Offshore recruitment before setting up an entity
GSS allows foreign companies to hire full-time local employees before setting up an entity in the target country. While the local-based employees are on the payroll of a third-party local company, they actually work for the foreign company. In this way, the local employees can conduct preliminary business research for the foreign company and test the waters in local markets.
Employing staff at local labor costs
Through GSS, the foreign company can easily hire employees at reasonable local wages, which avoid unnecessary costs caused by the lack of knowledge of local wage standards and wrong estimation of manpower budget.
It also gives the opportunity to the foreign investor to test the local person and assess suitability for a hire under a local permanent structure or, determine what additional skillset the “first” employee of the company should possess to deliver results in the country.
Outsourced employee management
Due to the labor relationship between the employees and local provider, the HR team can assist the foreign employer with its salary calculations, social insurance contributions, personal income tax (PIT) declarations, and reimbursements for their local employees. The GSS service frees the foreign company from day-to-day HR and administration, so that it can concentrate on its business activities.
Hiring foreign employees legally and in compliance
Under a GSS strategy, the local provider can ensure that their foreign employee remains compliant within Vietnam’s law and regulations, and proactively assist with the foreign employee’s visa and work permit application, setting up a bank account, as well as their PIT returns in Vietnam.
This has the added benefit of mitigating many of the legal and practical problems that arise when a payment is made into an employee’s overseas private bank account. With a GSS structure in place, the foreign employee can instead money directly from the local Vietnamese company to their local bank account in Vietnam.
Getting legal support on labor contract issues
Finally, the legal team in Vietnam can also assist with the establishment and determination of labor contracts with employees, according to the local labor laws.
Flexibility in the working relationship
Foreign companies are able to terminate the local working relationship at a limited cost if there is a mismatch in skillsets or expectations. In the same vein, they can easily scale up their staffing solution if the working relationship is proven successful.