Gaining a holistic overview of your entire workforce and implementing a global benefits strategy to match is a challenge for every HR professional working for multinational organizations.
First, there are the geographical and logistical challenges of administering benefits across multiple countries, then there are the generational challenges, with each having different benefit preferences depending on life stage.
Leading organizations understand the importance of offering their employees benefits both to increase the value of an employee’s total reward and help make their employees’ everyday life that little bit easier.
The latter is especially valid in light of the current COVID-19 situation. For benefits to be of real value, personalization is crucial. However, knowing what benefits to offer and then how to administer them globally is understandably tricky.
If you’ve found your benefits are not quite hitting the mark with your employees, you’re not alone; Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends (2018) survey reveals that only 8% of organizations say their rewards program is “very effective” at creating a personalized, flexible solution.
Below, we offer five tips for how you can build a global benefits strategy that actually works.
- Choose a Benefits Platform Provider
First and foremost, the only way to effectively manage a global benefits strategy is with the help of a global benefits platform. In fact, without one, any global benefits strategy will most certainly become an administrative nightmare.
On the decision to implement a global employee benefits platform to assist with benefits management, Caroline Roque, Benefits and Compensation Manager, at Eurosport Frances shares, “We were in need of one single go-to place for all employee information and benefits. Our scope was also to decrease the number of questions to the HR department.”
A global benefits platform creates greater employee self-service by digitizing benefit enrollments and reduces HR administration through the automation, handling of benefits processing, foreign tax calculations, and much more.
Whether it’s a milk allowance in Botswana, airport business lounge passes in Russia, tuition reimbursement benefits throughout South America, or flexible benefits plans in Germany, be sure to choose a global benefits provider with the knowledge and experience administering complex benefits programs across the globe.
- Global but Local
Above all, the key to managing an effective global benefits strategy is adopting a global-but-local approach. This means that while you’re managing your global benefits strategy from head office using a single platform, your benefits are localized to each country, including using local vendors and suppliers.
Let’s imagine your organization wants to offer its employees’ benefits for sustainability mobility. The benefits are offered globally but with local variation. For instance, in one country, the benefit may be a bicycle discount, while in another country, it may be a discounted monthly public transport card.
Alternatively, you may decide to offer a bicycle benefit in all countries. The details of the benefit would be adapted to the local market, including the use of a local supplier.
- Benefits That Reflect Your Organization
One Glassdoor survey reveals that approximately 60% of people say benefits play a significant part in their decision making when considering a job offer, while LinkedIn reveals that 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job.
Therefore, when thinking about your global benefits strategy, think about what benefits best reflect your company’s values. What benefits can you offer that are unique and reflect your organization?
Using the earlier example, let’s say that one of your company’s values is sustainability. You can then offer a range of benefits that employees can choose from, which are in-line with your company values.
Consistency is important, however, avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, acknowledge the diversity of each country. With this approach, your benefits reflect your company values on a global level but works on a local level.
- Remove the Guesswork – Use Data
The early referenced Deloitte survey found that only 9% of companies reported using data and analysis to a “great” or “very great” extent to understand employee benefit preferences.
Unless you’re using data and insights, your benefits strategy is most likely based on guesswork, which isn’t an effective global benefits strategy.
With the help of your global benefits platform, you can access data and gain valuable insights into your global workforce. Look at which benefits are performing and which ones are not, see benefit and pension costs and spending for each country, supplier costs, and much more.
With this data, you can create custom reports and share them with executives to facilitate global decisions.
- When Still in Doubt, Ask
While data can provide many insights, sometimes the easiest thing to do is ask your employees what they want. Use your benefits platform or company intranet to survey your employees and find out what benefits are of most value to them.
Under current circumstances, benefit needs are likely to have changed. What do they need right now? Grocery delivery services? Digital subscriptions? New home office equipment? Find out what benefits would make your employees’ everyday easier.
In conclusion, an effective global benefits strategy should be manageable from a single source, reflect the company’s values, provide the framework for all countries but allow for local flexibility and adaptability.
To learn more about global benefits management, visit Benify’s HR Hub where you can download e-books, whitepapers, and client cases,and read our latest blog posts, listen to webinars, and more.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Scott van Dort Scott van Dort is an HR & Employee Benefits content specialist at the HR Tech firm, Benify. Scott has been part of the in-house creative team at Benify for just over two years and is responsible for all English language production across all markets. His thought leadership pieces have been featured in The Times, The Telegraph, and various HR resource hubs often with a strong emphasis on employee wellbeing, HR tech, employee engagement and personalized communications.