So, you’ve decided to enlist the help of an international PEO (Professional Employer Organisation) to guide you on your global expansion journey. That’s certainly a good start — but that was the easy part.

Now, you have to make sure you choose the right PEO partner. A partner you can rely on, and that will become a trusted part of your business.

Choosing the right PEO is essential if you want to streamline your expansion into new markets. Get it right, and you’ll be able to drastically cut costs, reduce employee turnover, grow your business quickly and, most importantly, STAY in business.

But with so many global PEOs out there, how do you know which one to choose?

Before appointing your preferred international PEO partner, you should also ask yourself these five questions…

1. Do their clients stand by them?

Businesses will often tell you what you want to hear when trying to get you onboard — either to engage their services or to buy their products. (And hey, there’s nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet a little.)

But when you’re looking for a PEO to work with, you want honest, unbiased feedback so that you know exactly what you’re signing up for. So, be sure to ask for client testimonials, references, case studies and other evidence that the service they provide is top level.

2. Are they transparent?

You should be able to easily find details of the business you’re going to have a contract with. Take a look at their website — do they clearly explain the services they offer? Not all international PEOs provide the same thing.

It’s also important that they speak your language. If the website is full of confusing jargon and leaves you feeling a little overwhelmed, they probably aren’t the right fit for you. If you feel clueless now, just imagine what it’ll be like when you start going into the finer details! Working with a PEO should be seamless, and for that to happen, they need to be clear with you and talk in simple terms — not pile on to your stress with a load of unnecessary and complicated terminology.

3. Do they have three or more years of trading history?

Tax authorities have very long memories! Your chosen global PEO should be able to demonstrate a history of adherence to professional performance practices, and that includes reliable financial management.

When handing over the responsibility of your overseas employees’ payroll, you also want to feel confident that they’ll be paid on time, every time. So, check what kind of payroll system your PEO partner uses. A single, centrally managed system will minimise stress and leave you reassured that all is in good hands.

4. Are they knowledgeable about the county they’re supporting you in?

This one is probably a bit of a given. If you’re depending on an international PEO to guide you through the various customs and laws in your target market, they need to know them like the back of their hand.

Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions about your chosen country. Your contact should be able to answer them confidently or direct you to someone within the organisation who can!

5. Do they support you directly or through a partner?

If you only ask one question, make it this one. When searching for an ‘international PEO’, you’ll probably come across at least five companies offering services in either 130 countries, 185 countries or 190 countries. These seem to be stock marketing numbers that are thrown about to get your attention.

Although these companies may technically be able to support you in 190 countries, they often fail to mention that a large percentage of this will be through existing partnerships (delivered in the territory by a local firm).

Most providers will have to use partners in some countries — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a select few trusted partners at the local level. But it shouldn’t be the PEO’s preferred approach. If you’re using an international PEO that ONLY uses partners, you are essentially just paying for a vendor management service.

So, make sure your Professional Employer Organisation has its own recognised entities in most of the countries it operates in. These subsidiaries should also be managed by an in-house team to ensure maximum control and that you can get your employees onboarded as quickly as possible.

Looking for a global expansion partner? Contact PEO Worldwide today to learn more about our expert international employment solutions.