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Case Studies

HELPING A GLOBAL MANUFACTURER SCALE UP ON THREE CONTINENTS

Client
A U.S.-based multinational manufacturer of specialty chemicals used in a variety of water-intensive industries.

 

Challenge
Seeking to expand its worldwide footprint, our client was entering into a joint venture with a large German-based company with operations across Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. The deal called for our client to take on thousands of its venture partner’s employees and confront many issues involving global employee mobility despite that fact that they did not then know which acquired employees were on which visas –  and for how long – nor which documents would be relevant to determining their status. 

 

Solution
Helping an ambitious but resource-thin client, our team tapped and worked with outside resources to ensure the smooth integration of the employees within our client’s organization; this included explaining each country’s requirements to the client and detailing what employees might reasonably expect in each locale given local business customs and norms. We transitioned and created new employment contracts, as appropriate to the unique laws and regulations of each country (all of which required written agreements for every affected employee). The team also ensured proper salaries and took care not to trigger any termination provisions. 

 

Because there were many workers based in countries where they weren’t citizens, we worked with immigration teams in each jurisdiction to properly transfer visas and/or work permits, make all necessary filings with local immigration authorities, and enable the employees to continue without interruption.

Results
Provided one point of contact for the client to resolve all the contractual and immigration issues without the need to identify and work with various experts in seven other jurisdictions. We also organized the client’s immigration program, enabling them to see the overall picture and know the eligibility status of every new employee in each respective country. 

Case1

SORTING THROUGH EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION ISSUES IN CHINA

 

Client

A U.S.-based global manufacturer of medical diagnostic equipment and supplies whose systems are used daily by millions of consumers around the world.

 

Challenge
A group of the client’s highly compensated, Shanghai-based executives sought to have their bonuses (including performance, long term incentive, and project-based payments) distributed in different ways and different times to mitigate their tax burdens. Lacking the time and resources to find the right consultants in Shanghai to examine the proposal – and lacking a complete understanding of exactly what the executives were asking for due to language barriers – our client’s U.S.-based head of compensation and benefits reached out to us to help.  

 

Solution

As lead consultant, Nan Sato liaised with the client’s team in China to understand the contours of the proposal. She then worked with an outside accounting support team and tax counsel in Shanghai to research all the issues, including the Chinese laws applicable to differing types of bonuses. This included weighing the “letter” of the laws and leveraging our team’s extensive practical experience with typical “on the ground” practices in China.



Results

Explaining the request and how the rules of the Chinese tax regime would practically apply, our team delivered a timely opinion to confirm the client’s suspicion that the arrangements were too “aggressive” and would not strictly comply with governing laws. As an alternative, the employees were encouraged to take advantage of their year-end opportunity to adjust their classification and, thereby, their tax liabilities, on their own. We also clarified the extent to which the client’s HR staff in Shanghai should be involved in similar matters going forward. 


The client received one invoice from FWW covering all consulting, research, and project management fees.

Case2

PREPARING WESTERNERS TO WORK IN A DIFFERENT CULTURE

Client

An Atlanta-based company.

 

Challenge

Our client needed to send a group of its medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and technicians to work in Saudi Arabia. The client knew it couldn’t just send its people over and hope for the best; it sought to prepare its employees to thrive in the rapidly evolving but still deeply conservative country.

 

Solution

Our team lined up a renowned outside trainer from Emory University with deep experience working in the Kingdom’s unique business culture. We arranged a series of sessions that detailed and offered practical guidance on issues including:
•    Business etiquette
•    Hierarchies in business and society
•    The role of women in the workplace (and broader society)
•    Communication styles
•    Conflict resolution
•    Managing expectations
•    Anticorruption laws
•    Do’s and don’ts inside and outside of work


Results

The practical training gave participants a solid grounding in Saudi Arabian business culture, as well as practical insights and strategies that helped them settle into their work and the expat community – and get the job done.

Case3

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Two Logan Square
12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Email

Phone

610.230.2150

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