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The Future of HR is Global Workforce Management

Managing a global workforce is no easy task. Until now, companies have attempted to rise to the challenge via piecemeal approaches, combining solutions from different vendors in areas like payroll, leave management, or expenses. But that’s all about to change.

In today’s edition of the Debrief, we’re speaking to Sagar Khatri, the Co-Founder and CEO of global employment platform Multiplier, about the industry’s direction of travel and why a fully integrated global workforce management solution is a truly revolutionary proposition.

A global and bundled solution

The talent crunch is already starting to bite. “Countries like Singapore don’t have enough talent,” says Sagar. Even if businesses can find workers locally, securing their services is often not the best course of action. “When you hire an accountant in Singapore, you’re not just paying for the accountant—you’re paying for Singapore.”

The only realistic answer is hiring globally—which is where Multiplier comes in. “Our business’ thesis is very simple: we help all companies access talent where it is located,” says Sagar. “Large enterprises have always been able to do that using captive centers. But mid-market firms or SMEs lacked the scale to offshore—because it took a lot of capital.”

The difficulty of accessing global talent was the problem Multiplier was created to solve—but the ambition doesn’t stop there. “From day one, when we started thinking about Multiplier, we never envisioned it as a standalone employer of record solution,” says Sagar. “We always talked about it being a global and bundled system of record, letting companies hire anywhere in the world.”

Streamlining the HR function

Powering this conception of Multiplier as a system of record is an intent to disrupt the HR status quo. “HR Ops is a department that every company requires,” Sagar explains. “But even if you run it amazingly well, it doesn’t suddenly help your revenue.

“So while every company needs it, it’s costly, compliance-heavy, clunky, and doesn’t add value to your main product or service. In short, it needs to be replaced by a solution. That’s why we’re building towards a time when the entire HR service can be bundled and provided by one vendor.”

While HR professionals will still exist, Sagar anticipates that this evolution will mean large and unwieldy HR teams will become a thing of the past. “Back in the day, every company had its own server rooms and IT department. But these have completely disappeared with the rise of AWS, Microsoft Azure, and other cloud services. In the same way, mid-market HR departments will cease to exist,” he says.

True global workforce management

Of course, doing away with backend departments entirely requires software that simultaneously fulfills multiple purposes. According to Sagar, a true global workforce management solution will bundle everything an HR department needs to function. 

“It should include payroll, benefits, taxes, employment agreements, payments, leave, expenses, performance management—everything that HR departments currently have to buy, manage, and maintain separately.”

While there are already options on the market, customers tend to overpay for features they never use. “Go and ask ten businesses: ‘What do you use your HR systems for?’ and they will tell you three simple things: leave, reporting, and performance management,” Sagar says. 

“But the human resources information systems (HRISs) they’re using have buckets of unused features—and they’re paying for all of them. Our goal is to bundle it all as part of a global workforce management solution at an extremely reduced price offering, with a fully self-serve platform.”

No more walking the HR tightrope

Aside from lower costs, businesses will be able to reap other rewards from a fully integrated HR tech stack. “HR operations is a department where, if you get it right, you don’t get any reward, but if you get it wrong, it leads to many issues—such as wrong salaries, delayed payments, and ultimately employee dissatisfaction.

“When it’s outsourced to professionals and fully automated, those compliance risks, those costs, the potential dissatisfaction among employees goes away.”

It’s also a question of freeing up attention to focus on more valuable pursuits. “Anything that doesn’t add value to your business shouldn’t require any time spent managing it,” says Sagar. “As a CEO, if you can get away with managing one less person or one less department, you can spend that energy on building a great product or service.”

Where do we stand today?

Despite the obvious benefits, Sagar is clear that we are very early in the adoption curve. “When I talk to CHROs or heads of HR, they will tell me: ‘Hey, I don’t have one source of truth for my employee data,’ or ‘I’m looking for an integrated HRIS, ATS, and payroll platform,’ or ‘I need a payroll vendor who can cover all the countries we operate in.’

“Looking deeper into their words, what they’re really saying is: ‘I need something that is fully integrated. I need something that is global, that comes from one vendor, that is cost efficient, automated and requires the minimum amount of manpower.'”

While the world is not quite there yet, it’s catching up, and the coming year promises to be exciting. “That’s the value of being an entrepreneur; you can see things before everybody does,” Sagar adds. “And that’s how you create value in this world.”

An eye on the future

Sagar sees Multiplier as occupying a prime position to build a complete global workforce management platform—for a few reasons. “You need three things to build such a solution: you need to understand global operations, you need to understand payroll payments and compliance, and you need to understand software.

“HR tech is a massive category, worth trillions of dollars. But if you think about any player in the entire HR value chain, the EORs are in the best position—because they’ve always been global from day one, they’ve always had to deal with compliance, payroll, and payments.”

The opportunity is amplified by a sense the world is waking up again. “In general, 2023 was a bit rocky for headcount-related or tech businesses—but I think the uncertainty in the market is now reducing. In 2024, at least the latter half, things will start to look much better, and people will start hiring again.”

In the coming year, profitability and growth will be critical in the context of a new paradigm for the global economy. “We’re coming into a new reality of high interest rates. Companies will have to hire, but they must also decide where the headcount should sit,” Sagar explains. “When evaluating their accounting function, for instance, businesses will have to make a tough call on whether this is a resource they can find in India or the Philippines for a fraction of the cost.”

Get ahead of the curve with Multiplier

Multiplier is well underway on its journey to becoming a global, bundled system of record. “We’re launching Global Payroll this month, with our HRIS offering out later this year. Next year, we’ve got a lot of new products in the pipeline,” Sagar says.

“2024 will be a great year for Multiplier, having now achieved a presence in 150 countries, secured the backing of tier one investors, and built the systems and processes necessary to achieve great NPS and customer satisfaction scores across geographies.”

With that in mind, if you’re ready to get ahead of the curve and take advantage of the exceptional global talent out there waiting, talk to our experts today!

And if you’re hungry for more insights, check out our previous Debriefs, where Amritpal Singh, Multiplier’s President, Field Operations, discussed the company’s ambition to use technology to lower the cost of transaction and make it easier for all sizes of businesses to hire talent overseas—and why this is becoming an existential issue for the global economy.

Janki Sethi
Janki Sethi

Manager - Human Resource

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Employ the best person for job, regardless of location

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