Skip to main content

“Think Globally, Act Locally” is a famous phrase, first coined by US environmentalists in the 1970s, which at the time specifically pointed out individual responsibilities of every person, community and nation for the large scale environmental change to happen. In other words, if we simply donate money to save wildlife in the oceans, but litter when going to camp with our family, our thinking and acting don’t align much in local and global terms, and by our actions, we don’t, in fact, contribute to the environmental change we’d like to philosophically be a part of.

Over the years, “Think Globally, Act Locally” has evolved into a mantra for marketing professionals. Local ideas spread through the internet and social media within hours and turned into global trends. These phenomena created an immense opportunity for the global marketer. Instead of dictating ads from their US headquarters, most global companies started to hear out the local voices that can subsequently inspire customers globally. Globalization has turned the world population into a closely-knitted community who at the same time want to embrace their unique cultures and traditions. And we are curious about each other’s way of living. 

From this perspective, Netflix’s success shouldn’t come as a surprise. Have you watched “El Casa de Papel” a thriller series about a heist into the Spanish Mint? What about the Finnish Bordertown that takes us to the life of a federal agent in a small town close to the Russian border? Netflix’s success is embedded in this balance of cultural uniqueness vs global resemblances where the online streaming company utilizes quality local content to attract and retain global viewers. In other words, Netflix makes us consume local content in a global context. 

Environment, marketing, content streaming… what about human resources? How does “think locally, act globally” apply to recruitment and payroll? HR aims to recruit talent in global standards with a local or regional knowledge and expertise. Payroll is the most interesting area of human resources as a successful payroll service has no choice but to embrace local and global concurrently. 

Payroll is local: Labor law, social security and social insurance law, and income tax law are unique in every country. A payroll department or payroll provider has to be an expert in the payroll practice with a country focused expertise. Payroll needs to be error-free, which requires up-to-date information on new legislations and expertise to apply these unprecedented legislations into practice.

Payroll is global: Payroll surely exists in every country and company. Simply put, whoever works and receives a salary has a payroll. There are global software platforms that facilitate payroll calculations for companies: some of them are more self-service, others are rather customized based on the individual company’s needs. Certain global companies have operations in multiple countries, some partner with local HR companies to get local expertise. 

A successful payroll practice is a marriage of local expertise and global standards. While the payroll provider needs to have country-specific labor law knowledge, it also has to provide a payroll service in world standards with a solid technology background, tailor-made and self-service features and secure data protection. Error-free, easy-to-use and timely are musts that transcend the local and the global. 

Be it local or global there is no escape from technology in any field that we work. It is wise to embrace it and take the steps to invest in it and excel at it.