Monthly Archives: January 2018

Global vs Domestic HR-in 60 Seconds!

By |2018-01-29T16:15:05-05:00January 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

View our latest LinkedIn Video on Global Human Resources:

Global human resources (HR) is a complex field.  The legal, financial, tax, and HR functional responsibilities change completely in each country.  They also change in relationship between countries.  For example, data protection requirements tell you how to manage employee data, they also tell you how to handle the transfer of that information between specific countries.  These functions affect how companies hire, fire, manage, reward, evaluate, move, and transfer personnel.  In some respects, the HR leader will assume much more corporate responsibility in a global HR role, than in a domestic HR role.  For example, just by hiring a managerial employee in Germany, you may create a “permanent establishment” (PE)in that country, which will allow a foreign country to tax your business.  Or not.  You might hire a customer service employee and not create a PE.

Just like in your country, laws that regulate the way in which companies manage people change continuously.  In 2018 for example, updates to taxes in China, complex labor law changes in France, and new business incentives for companies in Spain are developing.  One way we can help you get through these issues is by providing up-to-the minute advice and answers to your globalizing questions.  Having been a global HR VP, I know you probably don’t have any time to spare.  So, give us a call and we’ll give you an update, help you get organized, set up your business in a foreign country or just talk you through a tough decision.  Birchtree globalizes the strategy, businesses, and people for growing businesses.

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Understanding Data Protection and the GDPR

By |2018-01-16T01:09:13-05:00January 16th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|


Since the late 1980s privacy legislation has been a compliance concern for global HR leaders.  The legislation established standards to protect sensitive, personal information.  Sensitive information includes employee names, addresses, identification/registration numbers, phone and email contact information, number of children, names of spouses, etc.  Privacy legislation seeks to give the control of this sensitive, personal information, about an employee for example, to the employee.  Legislation also typically includes the way in which companies can make legal use of their employee information, for example, sending employee data files back and forth across country borders.

Particularly in Europe, privacy legislation has gone through several iterations of compliance requirements, the latest of which is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), effective May 25, 2018.  Companies must comply with the GDPR, and implement the new rules specifying how the employer must collect, store, and use employee information.  This legislation covers all employers with employees in Europe, even if the employer is located outside of Europe, for example, an American headquartered company with an employee in Germany, for example.

Features of this legislation include:

  1. Employers must obtain consent from employees for the access and use of their personal data.
  2. Significant fines and penalties result from non-compliance.
  3. Employers must document their compliance and establish processes to manage the information.

We recommend the following:

  1. A Global Data Protection officer be appointed to manage the Data Protection legislation requirements. Company leadership and management personnel should be made aware of the legislation and the compliance requirements.
  2. Review the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) “Preparing for the General Data Protection Legislation-12 steps to take now” document available here: This document will help orient you to the EU data privacy directive. Determine what data protection steps you are currently taking.
  3. An outline of requirements for each country in which the organization does business or has employees should be produced.
  4. The company should identify the employee data and information that is being collected, the organizations or individuals with whom that data is being shared, and what actions are currently being done to that data.
  5. Review the US privacy shield website at: The EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks were designed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission and Swiss Administration to provide companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union and Switzerland to the United States in support of transatlantic commerce.  However, it is important to remember that if the company to which you send data is not certified, using the Privacy Shield will not be compliant.
  6. Establish a compliance program to ensure the company meets all data protection requirements. Ensure the information is communicated to managers. Ensure an audit process is established to review compliance on a regular basis.

If this is a bit overwhelming, we would be happy to take over the process for you and get it up and running.  As a global VPHR, I’ve worked with the architects of corporate compliance since the late 1980s. It is no more difficult to implement than other compliance programs, but it is complex.  Give us a call at (914) 218-3149 if you would like us to help you with the program.

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Werner Hoyer, President European Investment Bank and European Investment, Infrastructure, and Innovation

By |2018-01-12T19:13:49-05:00January 12th, 2018|Categories: Global Business News, Global Business Strategy|Tags: |

Investment, infrastructure and innovation were the theme of Werner Hoyer’s discussion with the New York European American Chamber of Commerce discussion on January 12.
Dr. Hoyer, in conjunction with a panel of finance, economic, advisory, and risk experts, described the investment environment in the European Union noting areas of opportunity and risk.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) focuses on building EU internal markets supporting and contributing to the general equilibrium across Europe.  The European Council gives direction to the bank, and the bank must abide by their investment direction.   For example, support for Russian development from the bank was stopped when sanctions were imposed on Russia as a result of Russia’s take over of Crimea.

Dr. Hoyer described the two primary areas of investment focus in Europe to be infrastructure investment and innovation.  Infrastructure investment is part of the DNA of the bank.  Developing infrastructure was one of the primary reasons for its incorporation.  Today, Europe finds itself in needs of infrastructure development in roads, bridges, tunnels, and buildings.  The bank funds this development.

Dr. Hoyer mentioned about 1/3 of the investment activities of the bank include providing easy access to financing for small and medium sized businesses.  In Europe approximately 80% of financing comes from banks, vs. in the US where approximately 75% of financing comes from the capital markets.   This helps financing for innovative companies and aligns with the growth of country supported innovation centers.

Renewable energy, healthcare, and  technology were three innovative investment areas that were robust and growing.  Birchtree Global has also seen a rise in these industries in our portfolio of globalizing clients.   He was pleased to note the change in position on climate change by the US administration did not seem to affect the growth of innovation and the commitment of US states and cities to maintaining and growing the focus on renewables.   He cited his meeting with Jerry Brown, Governor of California, and Mike Bloomberg as evidence of this commitment from US states and cities.  The growth in the EU economy and the decline in unemployment contributed to the warm investment environment.

Challenges remain in EU member states, such as Greece and Portugal, however good efforts and results have been made over the last two years.  Low interest rates are challenging and increasing rates without stifling growth are a tconcern.  He noted as a challenge that the BREXIT decision was a bad one.  He noted the rise of nationalism, whether “America First” or “Brexit” was economically limiting growth.   Enhancing competition and innovation were seen as ways in which these challenges might be overcome.

For additional information check out the European American Chamber of Commerce ( and the European Investment Bank (

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ACG NY Women of Leadership Summit

By |2018-01-11T22:50:23-05:00January 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

Join me and Sarah Robb O’Hagen, CEO of Flywheel Sports and author of “Extreme You” at the 5th annual Association for Corporate Growth Women of Leadership Summit in New York City on January 18. Three topics in particular address key issues we’ve all been talking about:

Women at the Helm: The Force of Women Leaders in the Start-up World

Effecting Cultural Change: Strategies for Fostering Leadership & Retaining and Engaging Talent

There an App for That? Harnessing Technology to Optimize Your Business 

Join me for lunch on the 18th and let’s start a conversation, share information, and meet some extraordinary women leaders!

To register:

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By |2018-01-11T22:47:29-05:00January 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|



Thanks to Scott Hudson for at terrific tour of MasterCard headquarters…by scooter!  I teach a MS class at Manhattanville College on Saturday and Sunday on Managing Corporate Processes.  I wrote the class to teach participants how to incorporate global corporate strategy into functional disciplines (HR, finance, operations, marketing, etc.).  Specifically we use typical organizational tools like Porter’s Five Forces, PESTLE, Global 20, SWOT, HR Diagnostic, and Supply Chain effectiveness to help design the infrastructure to connect strategy and tactics.  We can then establish management tools to ensure the “connections” deliver results.

What struck me most about MasterCard was the focus on work-life balance.  It was Saturday afternoon, the offices are beautiful, pretty, basketball, skeeball, swing chairs, waterfalls, great food, and abundant sunlight.  Yet, despite the amenities, there was no one around.  Scott said the company believes in maintaining a good “work-life” balance, and as such, working on the weekend is discouraged.  MasterCard is an impressive business.  Learn more about MasterCard at

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Globalizing your business is a lot like wrangling a tiger

By |2018-01-11T22:36:34-05:00January 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

Think this looks dangerous? It’s not half as dangerous as not thinking through the legal, financial, tax and HR implications of expanding overseas. As of January 1, 2018 all countries have changes that affect the management of people, payroll taxes, statutory benefits, incorporation, and labor law. Even using an employer of record will not shield you from many of these changes. Your business now faces new challenges, so don’t get bitten by unknown problems. If you want to talk about your 2018 global strategy with experts on corporate globalization, give us a call at 01 (914) 218-3149. We’re used to wrangling the tough problems.


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