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50 Leading Companies of the Year 2021

Helping organizations simplify their ability to expand and manage compliance globally: Elements Global Services


In recent times we can note that businesses are collaborating with an Employer of Record (EOR) because it is extremely beneficial for building and managing their overseas operations. An EOR can be defined as a “go-between” for the client company and the employee when expansion plans are in place. Through EOR, companies with no corporate infrastructure in place can effectively hire employees in their target country, manage local tax and payroll, and even handle visa and immigration procedures. Generally, these EORs tend to handle the majority of the administrative tasks while ensuring compliance with local legal and tax laws, which can be overwhelming for most companies, let alone SMEs.

There are various EOR service providers globally, but Elements Global Services stands out from the rest with its exceptional services. Founded in 2015 and based in Chicago, with regional offices on six continents, Elements is the leading service provider for companies seeking international HR, payroll, local compliance, and visa mobility solutions. Its unique and industry-leading direct Employer of Record (EOR) model allows companies of all sizes to expand into new international markets without the risk, delays, and expense of local incorporation.

A Direct EOR delivers faster speed to market than an indirect EOR—which is the predominant existing model in the market—by owning the entire HR experience, rather than outsourcing it. By taking this hands-on approach, Elements can onboard employees and create payroll faster than other models as there are no third parties to interrupt or slow the process. The company has its own entities in more than 135 countries to ensure employees have a local organization to serve as an employer in the country where they are working. A Direct EOR is less expensive than its Indirect counterpart as it avoids incurring additional expenses caused by third party providers. This streamlined structure means that Elements is your one global partner, removing the need to speak with multiple sources and simplifying the whole process.

In conversation with Rick Hammell, SPHR, CEO and Founder of Elements Global Services

Q. What motivated you to develop a revolutionary technology platform dedicated to Human Resources?

Elements Global Services was born after years working as Vice President of HR & Recruitment in the government contracting sector. I led recruitment, onboarding, and the strategy for People and Culture. In support of one of our contracts, we used a Global Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to support the company’s expansion but encountered dozens of issues along the way. I saw that the business model had potential but felt that it could be greatly enhanced with a direct model, rather than relying on third parties and sourcing in the existing approach. That was the Ah-ha moment! I developed the concept and spent much of my own money and many hours working at my dining room table to build a dream. We have three key missions at Elements: to provide an excellent customer experience, to simplify global expansion, and to continue revolutionizing the HR and Employer of Record (EOR) industries with innovative technology platforms. 

Q. Do you help your clients patch up their internal inefficiencies and streamline their operations towards success?

Organizations need speed to market solutions to provide them a competitive edge in global markets and in bid-to-win projects. Companies will often have an urgent requirement for international hires that requires a speedy solution, like remotely employing a new hire in their existing country of residence because of a rejected visa. Elements’ EOR solutions address critical challenges rapidly by providing the ability to expand, onboard, manage and pay employees in over 135 countries. This enables a company to strategically plan their entry into a new market.

Q. Among the other reputed HR services providers in the market, what makes Elements Global Services the best professional HR services partner?

Customer excellence is at the heart of everything we do. A large part of that is seeking client feedback and learning from that how we can make their experience with us the best possible. A big learning has been the power of technology and its increasingly bigger role in transforming HR, bringing efficacy, insight and innovation to critical HR functions and enabling them to support progressive and agile ways of working. In the last year alone, this led us to building from scratch two distinct HR platforms to meet the increasingly complex challenge of global expansion. We’ve combined the high-level payroll execution, internal data and reporting an international company needs with access to unparalleled insights and HR intelligence. For instance, when speaking with our clients, it became obvious that there was a gap in the market for an elegant and intuitive, yet detailed global payroll processing tool for our direct EOR service. So, we built ApprovPay, a global payroll platform where clients can approve invoices in just one click and even without logging into our platform. They can also review their global payroll, streamline reporting, access instant forex rates, administer and track beneļ¬ts as well as receive payroll reminders.

Another example is Expandopedia. When Elements was establishing legal entities across the world to ensure compliance with local rules and regulations, we discovered that there wasn’t a single platform that allowed us to source all the information we needed. We quickly realized we could help other companies avoid the pain and issues we encountered when expanding globally. So we built Expandopedia, an innovative technology platform that allows users to browse and download thousands of global HR templates for over 150 countries, prepared by our local HR & legal experts. It also offers an “Ask an Expert” service to help with those HR and compliance issues that require a little more support.

Q. What does the future hold for Elements Global Services and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?

We’re constantly growing and evolving. 2020 was a tough year—for obvious reasons—but we continued to grow our team and our services, launching both Expandopedia and ApprovPay to mark our shift to being a tech services company. And we’re not slowing down; in 2021 we’re continuing our commitment to innovation and simplifying global expansion in a big way by debuting two new programs dedicated to industries we’ve identified as key growth drivers that would benefit from specialist support. The first is GoGlobalGov, our signature solution for OCONUS government contractors supporting U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) & United States Agency for International Development (USAID) programs. It was formed from Elements’ years of expertise and partnerships with government contract providers to help prime and sub-contractors win and rapidly scale up global bid-to-win projects. The other is VentureGlobal, which is designed specifically for venture capital funds, private equity firms or organizations involved in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. It combines Elements’ best-in-class direct global Employer of Record (EOR) service with specialized expertise in human capital management, entity management, acquisition, investment, M&A and finance to help clients navigate and execute corporate transactions and grow their portfolio companies. To reflect our evolution, we just debuted a brand-new logo and upgraded the user experience on our website and our digital tools. It’s a symbol of our constant pursuit of excellence and our commitment to our clients and their success.

“Elements navigates in-country administration and compliance, including onboarding, managing and paying employees. This allows our clients to focus on strategic business objectives and expansion”