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Case study

How Boundless Became the Trusted EOR for Next 15

A partnership that began in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when Next 15 needed help employing two cross-border employees, Boundless has now become a trusted Employer of Record (EOR) for Next 15, allowing them to offer location flexibility and become a preferred employer.

With Boundless’ support and as one of their longest-standing clients, Next 15 now employs dozens of employees across many countries. 

Background

Next 15 is a publicly listed organisation, employing over 4000 people around the world. Next 15 acquire marketing agencies that can range from 10 to 600+ employees in size and help them grow to the next level. While the agencies operate independently, they rely on Next 15 for guidance on HR operations, and how to grow their teams and expand the territories they operate in.

Working with an EOR used to be a non-factor for Next 15. Historically, the company and its agencies would only hire where they had entities; therefore never requiring the needs of an EOR. 

Next 15 were also sceptical about partnering with one at all. When Chief People Officer Sam Theobald joined the organisation, she heard lasting sentiment from the team on subpar experiences they had with EORs that couldn’t scale to their level of growth.

The pandemic changed that and made global mobility a much bigger priority for Next 15. In mid-2020, two very valued employees of Next 15’s agencies needed a way to remain in their home countries long term: specifically Ireland and Portugal. 

Setting up entities just for that seemed too time-consuming and costly and did not meet the criteria the group used when setting up foreign entities. Usually, an agency under the Next 15 group would have to achieve up to a £2 million turnover to justify opening an entity in a new region. 

Sam had to find a more viable alternative. With each EOR she spoke to, Sam explained her challenge and sought reassurance that the EOR was devoted to compliance, offered expert knowledge, and could work with Next 15’s very unique situation. 

For Sam, Boundless clearly stood out, showcasing deep expertise in Irish and Portuguese legislation, providing excellent local employment agreements, and willingness to support Sam and the team throughout onboarding. 

Assured compliance based on local expertise

An EOR that has specific, localised HR and legal expertise is the most important thing for Sam. When it came to employing abroad, she knew that compliance wasn’t a nice-to-have — it was non-negotiable.

Boundless were always there to help. One day, Sam asked Boundless’ CEO and Co-Founder Dee Coakley for her guidance after a number of employees within Next 15’s acquired agencies wanted to move to Spain. 

Sam wanted to know if an EOR could bridge the gap. But Dee was quick to advise her that this wouldn’t be a good idea because there aren’t any totally compliant methods to employ in Spain without a local entity. 

With Dee’s help and knowledge, Sam was able to build a strong business case to present to Next 15’s agencies on why Spain shouldn’t be looked at as a market for long-term growth.

Now, whenever an agency under Next 15 says that they want to start an entity in a certain region, Sam turns to Boundless for support on whether it’s really the right place for growth. 

Always there to talk through challenges together

From the word “go”, Boundless were always open to having a conversation to help Next 15 address any of their more complex issues, rather than solely sticking to offering automated, self-service options.

While Sam highly values the Boundless platform’s easy-to-use interface and the site’s in-depth country guides (and often shares those guides with any Next 15 agency that’s considering expanding or allowing an employee to move), she knows that there are some problems best solved via open dialogues. 

After all, Next 15’s unique structure means that a one-size-fits-all, automated way of doing things wasn’t always going to work. 

In Portugal for example, Next 15 have a number of employees that work within different brands. Meaning that Next 15 needed to be able to break out these employees’ pay in a way that works effectively. Boundless were able to help with that from the very beginning and create a parent-child model that gave Next 15 centralised control over their agencies’ payroll policies, standards, and processes.

In another case, Next 15 had to carry out a large, structurally complex bonus payment method for one of their agencies that had multiple employees in a range of different countries. Next 15 needed help consolidating all of those payments, while remaining compliant to the varying legal and financial requirements of the different countries in question. 

Able to speak one-on-one with the Boundless team, Sam felt truly supported in finding a solution for Next 15 after just a few conversations, easing the load on their payroll team and ensuring that employees were paid the right way. All that was left for the legal and payroll team to do was simply sense-check, as they had the confidence that Boundless had minimised any risks. 

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Enhancing the employee experience

The benefits Sam was seeing working with Boundless didn’t just extend to Next 15 as an employer. It had a positive ripple effect on their employees too.

She knows that when an employee has a problem, it will only get worse if it’s not properly communicated or managed by the EOR. Otherwise, you risk employees losing their trust in their employer altogether — even to the point of leaving.

However, the Boundless team was always available to support an employee in need. In one case, Sam recalls, an employee was trying to access their benefits information out of typical working hours. The employee was directed to a Boundless contact that was able to help them with their query immediately, rather than having them have to wait until the next working day. 

Boundless also gave Sam the assurance that the HR teams operating within Next 15’s agencies (and their employees) would always be kept in the loop with one another. Sam would have no problem with either directly connecting employees to Boundless if they had any questions regarding their employment or the employees proactively reaching out to Boundless. 

Whether an employee had a question about their payslip, contract, benefits scheme, whatever it may be, Boundless would always make sure that Next 15 was directly notified about the conversation.

“I could see that Boundless takes a human-centric approach and wants to build businesses that are reflective of the people,” says Sam. 

Why Boundless has been Next 15’s most supportive employment provider

Boundless were able to prove to Next 15 that it was possible to have an EOR that was equal parts flexible and reliable. They have been instrumental in helping Next 15 keep any talent that may want to move abroad: as well as helping them gain talent in new territories.

The solution Boundless provided Next 15 for their cross-border employment challenge during the pandemic worked so well that it trickled down from the Next 15 parent entity to their wider groups of agencies. With Boundless, HR teams were able to accept more and more requests for moves from their employees with the knowledge that it would be handled properly.

And with Boundless’ focus on only working with countries where they have strong legal and HR expertise, Next 15 have been able to employ in regions with total confidence in the level of compliance. 

The EOR has also been a huge save on Next 15’s internal costs and resources. After all, managing offshore employees while maintaining total compliance is time-consuming. Next 15’s agencies are still growing and their HR teams have limited capacity to reasonably handle a variety of different local regulations and employee needs all on their own.

But with Boundless, Next 15 have been able to save close to half a million pounds per country they operate in. According to Sam, “even if Next 15 employed a hundred people with Boundless, it would still be a more cost-effective solution than Next 15 building the team and infrastructure entirely themselves, particularly in some jurisdictions.”

Boundless in three words

Communicative, knowledgeable, and reliable.

Thanks, Sam ❤️

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