Blog Article 23 Oct 2015

Here at IDA Ireland, we talk to companies every day about building out international operations. One of the most important parts of successful international expansion is getting the right team and the correct processes in place to support that team.

Building and managing a top performing team is hard enough when you’re hiring locally, but the process gets even trickier when team members come from different countries, cultures and backgrounds and work across multiple locations and time zones.

Recently, IDA Ireland hosted an event around this exact issue, where 3 great speakers shared their insights on how to hire international resources and grow a successful overseas team.  Our speakers for the evening were Steve McElfresh, VP of HR at New Relic, Tadhg Bourke, Head of People Operations at Google, and Amanda McIntyre, Tax Director at PWC. Needless to say, with speakers of such a high caliber, the learnings from the event were vast!

So what were the top takeaways from the evening? Amanda did a great job of summarizing some of the key tax-related issues companies face when hiring and moving key executives globally. Some of her key tips from the evening are as follows:

  • Global mobility from a tax perspective can be broken into three sections depending on how mature you are as a company. Imagine these three sections in the form of a triangle as follows:


  • Depending on where your organization is at from a mobility perspective, you may find yourself concentrated around different areas of the triangle at different times.
  • Every country’s tax laws are different – there is no “one size fits all”. Does the country your setting up in have a double tax treaty with the US? If so, can your company meet the conditions of the treaty?
  • In most countries, when you get the payroll right, the employee may still need to file a tax return. Remember if you are filing the taxes on their behalf, you typically have a foreign tax credit you need to claim on the home country return – just make sure you have all the documentation in order in case you have a leaver situation.
  • Where do you see mobility – is it aligned to talent? Some organizations require international experience as a prerequisite for leadership roles for example.

While Amanda focused on the specific tax implications of global mobility, Steve and Tadhg spoke more broadly about their experiences building international teams in Ireland.

Steve spoke candidly about his experience with New Relic, who launched their first international office in Ireland in 2013. At the time, the company took a somewhat unique approach to setting up a landing team – hiring the first 10 employees through a number of Skype and phone interviews, rather than in person. New Relic realized that they could hire excellent people locally, and therefore decided that there was no need to relocate team members from San Francisco.

Steve spoke about the fact that Ireland is a great place for companies to hire people and to grow. He praised the quality of talent in Ireland and mentioned that New Relic have had no trouble hiring native speakers in Ireland. “If we sign on a million dollar customer from Slovakia, I am entirely confident that I can recruit Slovakian speakers within a handful of weeks to take up residence in Dublin…It’s just wonderful.”

Tadhg Bourke, Head of HR Ops for US, Canada and Latin America at Google, was hired by Google in 2008 to establish a HR Operations/Infrastructure team for EMEA in Ireland. He spoke about the reasons Google chose Ireland for this function – in short, the three key factors for them were

  • The ready availability of talent,
  • The English-speaking workforce and
  • The business friendly regulatory environment.

As Tadhg says “Ireland is known as a place where it’s easy to do business. For example, setting up a business entity takes only a day and EU regulations tend to be transposed in a business friendly manner.” #WhyIreland

The GoGlobal event was well attended by HR professionals from over 40 different Bay Area companies, who had the opportunity to mingle with the speakers after the event and address any follow up questions.

This event was the latest in a series of IDA-organized GoGlobal events, which aim to provide companies with helpful information on internationalization from a variety of different perspectives. Stay tuned for our next GoGlobal event, which will take place early in 2016!

Deirdre Moran, Emerging Technologies / High Growth Companies, US West Coast


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