Guillermo Alejandro Cogorno

HR Director




Córdoba, Argentina




Projects Abroad: Taking HR and employee experience to new heights, one module at a time

“To focus more on strategic things, we needed HR software. Capabilities and cost were very important. The decisive point with OrangeHRM was the capability of their Leave Management module.”


For over 25 years, Projects Abroad has been tackling some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges through its innovative volunteering business model. Creating the gold standard in international volunteering and internships for young people, Projects Abroad strives to make the world a better place. With a wide variety of programs available from marine & wildlife conservation, women’s empowerment, youth development, and many more, volunteers can learn valuable new skills in a defining travel experience. These life-changing volunteer programs are making a strong impact and transforming communities around the world.


With a global network of offices and a diverse employee base, Projects Abroad is proud of their ability to quickly recruit, train, and execute on a wide variety of community projects. Speed of execution is critical in their business model, especially with the logistics involved in the continual deployment of employees and volunteers across dozens of countries. As the company grew, management came to the realization that HR operations needed to evolve quickly to keep pace with the demands placed on the business. Teams were spending too much time on manual and administrative processes. Being a globally dispersed company led to inconsistencies in local recruiting, onboarding, and training processes. Keeping up with employee record-keeping and in-country HR requirements became increasingly complex.


Employee Recruitment

Lack of an automated online application process. Candidate applications were being managed through manual email responses and spreadsheet tracking. Quickly screening candidates on specific attributes such as location and language was difficult. Identifying that all-important “short list” of top candidates for a job vacancy was time-consuming and inefficient.

Employee Training

Without a centralized training platform, it became increasingly difficult to deliver consistent training experiences for teams based around the world. There was limited “job-specific” training available for employees in the organization. The management team also wanted to improve the overall training experiences provided to project volunteers.

Leave Management

The complexity of managing local labor laws (300+) across multiple countries was cumbersome and time-consuming. Without a centralized view of time off and local holidays, it was challenging to track and manage employee leave across the entire Projects Abroad organization.

Personal Information Management (PIM)

No holistic centralized view of employee data. Manual and disparate spreadsheet processes existed in offices around the world for employee recordkeeping. Maintaining accurate data could be especially challenging during seasonal spikes of newly hired temporary workers.

Projects Abroad met with several leading HRIS providers to review and evaluate their HR solutions. In 2016, they made the decision to partner with OrangeHRM to help them evolve the global HR operation. Instantly drawn to OrangeHRM’s modular workload design, cost-effective software solutions, and consultative partnership, they began implementing several new HR solutions.


“Another good thing about OrangeHRM, you can hire the modules as you need, you don’t need to hire the whole system together.” 

With the goal of evolving HR into a strategic business function, Projects Abroad successfully implemented OrangeHRM’s Recruitment, Online Training, Leave Management, and Personal Information Management (PIM) modules. Using a building-blocks approach, Projects Abroad was able to implement one module at a time and build upon that success. OrangeHRM’s flexibility, training, and collaborative consultative approach proved to be a winning formula in helping them take their HR function to new heights.

With OrangeHRM’s software solutions, Projects Abroad successfully modernized HR operations to gain measurable business benefits, insights, and increase the focus on strategic initiatives. Combined, these powerful tools have contributed to a better overall employee experience leading to a noticeable decrease in employee turnover.


“We were able to recruit and staff in a short period. For very urgent vacancies we were able to recruit and deploy personnel to countries in just 15 days! All vacancies are urgent.”

Projects Abroad implemented an intuitive online job application solution significantly speeding up the process of creating a top candidate “shortlist”. Candidates can be quickly screened by a number of key variables such as location and language. The application’s enhanced search functions make the process of locating candidates and scheduling interviews much more efficient. With the recruiting software handling the bulk of administrative tasks, the HR team can now better focus on the interviewing part of the process.

With a centralized recruiting solution, the HR team is now able to directly supervise most of the new hires coming into the company. This was a challenge given the globally dispersed locations and small HR staff. Today, HR is directly involved with 79% of new hires... up from just 18% prior to OrangeHRM.

This shift in HR focus has also had a positive impact on the total onboarding experience for new hires. For example, today almost 60% of new hires receive a formal job appraisal at the end of their probationary period, up from 0% prior to solution implementation.

Online Training

Projects Abroad is now able to deliver consistent and high-quality training experiences to staff members around the world. Training can be tailored to specific job roles helping ensure that processes and tasks are done correctly, leading to increased employee confidence and performance. The solution also provides the team with key insights around employee development opportunities.

Importantly, this module has helped the team elevate the overall training service they provide to their international volunteers. Management has noticed a “marked improvement in volunteer satisfaction levels” as a result of these training enhancements.

Leave Management

This powerful solution has provided Projects Abroad a centralized platform where local labor laws and regulations (300+ across countries) can be managed and viewed all in one place. It’s important to note that this functionality was not available from the other HRIS providers evaluated by the team. Holidays (600+), vacation requests, and other staff leave scenarios can be easily managed and tracked within the solution. Another major benefit was OrangeHRM’s ability to customize specific components of the solution to totally fit the team’s requirements during implementation.

Personal Information Management (PIM)

With employees based in 50+ locations around the globe, plus seasonal spikes for temporary workers, Projects Abroad needed a robust system to manage the complexities of employee information. Moving to OrangeHRM’s PIM solution allowed the HR team to standardize employee recordkeeping in one centralized location. Thus, eliminating the need for different processes across countries - typically spreadsheets. Employee records can easily be created, updated, and deleted in real-time. This is especially beneficial during the summer months when many temporary workers need to be quickly onboarded into the system. Having an accurate view of the total worldwide employees has proven invaluable to the management team when managing project execution across multiple countries.

Through the modernization of their HR function with the help of OrangeHRM, Projects Abroad has enhanced their employee, international volunteer, and end client experience. The HR team has been successful in making the “shift” from administrative tasks to those more strategic to the business. OrangeHRM’s partnership and solutions will continue to play an important role in HR performance for this industry leader.