Overseas Development Institute

Founded in 1960, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is an independent, global affairs think tank, which aims to inspire individuals to act on injustice and inequality. Through collaborative research and influencing, ODI generates ideas that matter to people and the planet.

To facilitate its global operations, the Overseas Development Institute utilises Mauve Group’s Employer of Record and Global Payroll solutions. Chris Williams, People Services Director at ODI, elaborated on the company’s experience of working with Mauve Group.

ODI Global is a medium-sized think tank with big ambitions for the future. Currently we have fellows operating in 53 countries, primarily based in Ministries of Finance around the world, and work with around 3000 self-employed contractors. We are beginning to build a global team to increase our vital work, inspiring people to act on injustice and inequality.

As an SME, our bandwidth for global mobility is fairly limited – we have a small HR department, but we have considerable aspirations when it comes to global expansion. This year, we opened our first office in Brussels, and we have plans to open legal entities in other parts of the world. We recognise that to meet our global ambitions, we need to hire internationally, and that means employing people in their home countries.

What Mauve does for us is to give the flexibility to relocate and redeploy staff, but also hire staff in locations where we don’t have an entity set up. Mauve takes care of the international pay, compliance and employment legislation responsibilities in those locations, helping to expand the inhouse capacity of our busy HR team.

Mauve currently supports us with Employer of Record services in the US and Canada – and eventually we are going to have lots of employees based around the world in places where we do not have an entity, so we need the help of a specialist organisation like Mauve to facilitate this.

As part of our future plans, we have a “decolonisation” agenda we will implement over the coming years. This means that we want to move away from being UK-centric, and devolve some decision-making powers out to regional centres. Ideally, we would like to set up in certain key locations, and have EoRs like Mauve employ on our behalf in locations where we will not have a legal entity.

In our partners, we look for people with whom we can see ourselves having a positive working relationship – they must have a sense of humour! One of my favourite things about Mauve is our relationship with their team. They are very friendly, efficient and effective, and I always feel as though I am talking to a friend. I actually see Mauve as an extension of our HR department – this makes working with them an enjoyable experience.

We also value the way Mauve makes things simple and easy as possible for us. This might be in relation to being provided the employment legislation background, or the tax and compliance – this full picture of the employment scenario takes the worry away from us. Mauve’s processes align very well with our own, and so beyond tweaking a few financial elements our end, we found the transition very simple to manage. I have also developed a Global Mobility Framework for use within ODI Global that draws on many things we’ve learnt from Mauve – Mauve is informing ODI’s processes just as we are informing theirs.

When entering a partnership with an EoR, we’re joining a co-employment agreement whereby we both have responsibility for that staff member. As a result, it’s vital for the employee experience that they feel confident with the employing organisation. It was important to us that we found an organisation with a proven track record of providing this service – thus far, the feedback we’ve received about Mauve from our workers has been excellent.

The way Mauve is organised is very similar to the pattern we want to adopt going forward – it’s a symbiotic relationship, and for this reason they are a valuable partner to ODI.

Chris Williams – People Services Director, Overseas Development Institute

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