By Susan Belknapp, California Business Journal
How many entrepreneurs who start their businesses at kitchen tables ever imagine they’ll have presence in over 150 countries 21 years later?
When Ragu and Gita Bhargava began strategizing their San Jose, California-based company, Global Upside, in 1999, could they have anticipated it would eventually be four brands strong with a massive global presence?
Ragu is CEO and Gita is COO of the award-winning parent company — Global Upside Corporation (GUC) — that handles multiple facets of business operations, including accounting, human resources, payroll, tax, incorporation, and talent-acquisition services.
“By alleviating the need for a myriad of professional services internally, our clients can devote time and resources to growth and expansion,” Ragu says.
The company’s original objective was to be a service provider for domestic companies. Now it has a footprint in over 150 countries. Working from 15 offices across the planet, GUC provides services to about 99.9% of the world’s GDP.
“This is a much different company than what we founded together or what I came back to.” By “came back to” Ragu is referring to his return to the company after the initial founding in 1999. Not long after which Ragu took another position while Gita ran Global Upside.
He initially founded Global Upside then left to become controller for an organization that he had helped go public. But in 2008, Gita asked him to come back and provide leadership for Global Upside on the sales front. Since then the partnership — and the company — has thrived.
“The way we explain our synergy is, ‘I look at the outside and Gita looks at the inside,’” he says. “She’s in charge operations and client services and everything affecting the company internally and I look at the marketing, design, sales and everything public facing.”
GUC, its brands, and co-founders have garnered numerous international awards. Most recently, Gita won Gold at the Silicon Valley, U.S. Women World Awards for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in the USA.
The Global Upside Corporation family of brands includes:
Global Upside – The flagship brand provides services that range from HR and payroll to incorporation accounting and compliance according to every country’s unique laws. This helps companies simplify operations to devote resources to growth.
Global PEO Services – Professional Employer Organizations enable clients to hire quickly without setting up a legal entity. This expedites hiring and all HR, and payroll-related services for its clients with the PEO being the employer of record.
Mihi – This is a Human Capital Management software that integrates country-specific labor, HR, benefits, and data privacy requirements to keep clients compliant with local laws.
Gava Talent Solutions – A full service recruiting firm that provides global talent search, direct or interim hiring, and recruitment process outsourcing services.
When asked how the GUC family of companies are uniquely positioned to assist global clients once the COVID-19 shutdowns eventually abate, Ragu says the firm “focuses on the agility of services that enable companies to reopen at the pace most beneficial to each. At some point, coronavirus will go away and the results of the pandemic will drive different needs. Already we’re seeing our recruitment and international staffing searches seeking particular expertise – microbiology, for instance – for the short term. And as companies begin to reopen, their talent needs may be very different than prior to the shutdown.”
Companies emerging from a crisis like COVID-19 “will require guidance, expertise and strict prioritization of where resources are spent,” Ragu says. “Leveraging companies like GUC can provide the fluidity to scale up gradually or very fast, depending on a company’s immediate needs.
“It’s a ‘somebody’s loss, somebody’s gain’ kind of thing,’” he adds. “Whether you are trying to slow down your operations, do a furlough, or trying to ramp back up and hire and put people back on payroll, we have a play in all of this. We are experts in this vertical and can help no matter what the need or location.”
He goes on to point out that GUC services also assist with grants and other means to help clients keep employees on payroll. “We even help companies apply for financial assistance from the government.” But it doesn’t end there. Once you get the money from the government, there are compliance requirements that must be met so the government knows you are using the money as agreed.
“Whether you need a compliance expert in South Korea, an engineer in Oman or a controller in China, GUC’s Gava Talent Solutions does all of that,” Ragu says.
Domestically, the firm does mostly HR and financial-industry hires, but recently, it has secured construction clients looking for engineers, logistics professionals and project managers globally. Having a solid foundation of functionality “is one of the key benefits” GUC and its brands provide. From there, the unique laws for each country can be layered as part of a client’s supplemental benefits.
“The biggest advantage to using a HR tech platform such as Mihi is that it is one system and provides one version of the truth,” Ragu says. “For instance, it’s now law in the EU that everyone keeps a time sheet – from the CEO to lower-level employees. We provide out-of-the-box functionality that helps everyone track and log their hours while integrating how much vacation they’ve taken and how much they have left.”
The result is a contemporaneous, user-friendly, auditable record of every team member’s time. If the country’s vacation requirement is 35 days, they can factor in 35 days. From there, a range of reports can tell you who’s working, who’s off, and when they’re coming back. Managers have full visibility, HR has full visibility, and it can be customized for need-to-know clearances — and the platform is customized to the 15 most-common languages.
This article was originally published on California Business Journal.