Launched in Berlin in 2019, Latana is an AI-powered brand-tracking tool that helps marketing teams make better decisions. By accurately tracking consumer perception across more than 100 countries, Latana delivers high-quality insights to help companies increase brand awareness.
Latana partnered with Oyster to access global talent and support their transition to a remote-hybrid workplace. Thanks to Oyster, they’ve built an international team extending far beyond their Berlin headquarters, while also ensuring a consistent employee experience across borders.
As a company that tracks brand perception in 100+ countries and serves some of the biggest brands worldwide, Berlin-based Latana wanted to build a globally diverse team. They decided to transition to a remote-hybrid workplace in order to bring in talented professionals from around the world.
But hiring internationally presented a host of challenges. After all, every country has its own labor laws and employment regulations. For Liz Brisker, Senior People Ops Generalist, understanding labor laws in Germany was one thing, but navigating employment laws in other countries and setting up legal entities was a daunting task. The time, effort, and expense would have been hard to justify.
“If we had to open a subsidiary in every individual country that we have, we would need a separate role for that. There’s so much legal advice required. This kind of effort for every individual we hire from abroad would just be too much. At some point, somebody would say ‘This is too much effort and it’s way too expensive—let’s not do it.’”
Latana tried using an Employer of Record (EOR) to solve the problem, but the service didn’t meet their expectations. “The communication was very rough and it was hard to get edge cases cleared out,” says Liz. Having worked with several EORs in the past, she says the lack of a centralized automated platform meant putting up with slow and inefficient manual processes. It often required “going back and forth with someone in a different time zone, which might take a few days,” Liz explains.
Finally, German labor laws are very favorable for employees in terms of benefits and legal protections, which meant Latana had another problem to solve—how to provide a comparable employment experience to candidates outside of Germany. These were some of the challenges Latana needed to overcome in order to evolve as a global, remote-hybrid organization.
After considering several options, Latana eventually chose Oyster as their global employment partner in February 2022. From the very first conversation, Liz felt that the Oyster team understood their problems and pain points, and seemed like a reliable and trustworthy partner.
“When I first talked to Oyster, I felt perfectly understood with all the pain points we had, the problems we were facing, and even the edge cases. Oyster felt trustworthy, secure, and stable. We’re working with part of people’s lives, so it’s very important for our partner to be trustworthy and stable.”
Oyster now supports Latana throughout their hiring cycle. In fact, the collaboration begins at the recruitment stage. If Latana is interested in a candidate, Liz checks in with the Oyster team and can always count on fast communication and helpful customer support. “I receive an answer right away, usually within a few minutes or at least within a few hours,” she says, “which is very helpful since recruitment is very time-sensitive and other offers are also flying in.”
Since German employment laws provide a high level of benefits and protections for employees, Latana strives to apply the same standard for Team Members in other countries. That means going through “individual paragraphs and agreements” to bring them as close to the German standard as possible. Liz has found that the Oyster team is always helpful and collaborative.
“It’s always easy with all the questions and requests we have. Can we review this paragraph? Can you please change that? What’s the legal implication? And the response is always super nice and super helpful. There’s always an explanation if something doesn’t work, which is important to me because I like to learn and understand where the boundaries are. Everyone I’ve talked to so far at Oyster has made a very pleasant impression.”
As for the platform itself, Liz and her colleagues find it intuitive and easy to use. She uses it every day for time-off requests, expense reimbursements, salary changes, and so on. Gone are the days of emailing back and forth with EORs and waiting for days to accomplish routine tasks.
“With the Oyster platform, it’s easy to review the current status and find the latest documentation, contracts, payroll, and reimbursements. Even if I’m out sick or out of office, the people who have access to the tool can easily do the same things because it’s very intuitive and easy to use.”
With Oyster as a partner, Latana is able to save the time, effort, and legal expenses that it would require to navigate labor laws and set up legal entities in other countries. But even more important is the peace of mind from knowing they have a safe and legally compliant solution for engaging global talent.
“Oyster relieves us from the pressure to understand the local labor laws in depth. We know that we have a partner we can rely on and be supported by, which makes me sleep better at night. Because I know if something happens, we can reach out to Oyster and ask them: What’s the deal? How can we solve this problem?”
From Liz’s perspective as a People professional, that sense of safety and security for Team Members is paramount. After all, a company has to ensure a foundation of trust for its workforce, and that means ensuring “a healthy legal foundation” so that “everyone is safe.”
That begins with an onboarding process that fosters trust right from the start. A new Team Member might feel nervous about being engaged through a third party, but Liz finds that Oyster builds trust through proactive communication and support.
“Trust is a very big aspect of a smooth onboarding process. Oyster gains trust by being very communicative. Once I submit the new hire from my side, the communication starts right away. From what I’ve heard, it makes everyone very happy. It’s very good for them to know that there is a partner that is supporting them and building trust from day one.”
Ultimately, the most important thing Latana has gained by partnering with Oyster is being able to evolve their organizational structure and build a thriving hybrid culture across borders. It takes a lot of work to go from on-site to hybrid, and Oyster has supported that evolution.
“The increase that I see is more in happiness because everything is run smoother. So it’s not really about the money-saving aspect or the time-consuming aspect. But it’s more something that you cannot measure in money—it’s the culture that we are able to develop here at Latana, to fulfill our intention of building a hybrid work model. And Oyster is our partner making this possible on the legal side of things.”
Thanks to their partnership with Oyster, in recent months, “every third employee that we hire is actually remote,” says Liz. But in addition to evolving as a hybrid organization, Latana is also considering new possibilities they otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. On a recent call, for instance, Liz learned about Oyster for Refugees, and they’re already thinking about potentially hiring a displaced person from Ukraine.
Having experienced the organizational and cultural benefits of global hiring at Latana, Liz is happy to recommend it to others:
“Even if you know nothing at all about remote work, about local laws in different countries, or about how it would actually work in your company, I would say just give Oyster a call, get a demo, get someone to talk to, and then you’ll learn it. And in parallel, you’ll be supported by the best in the field.”