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 organisations.
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 organisations understand the importance of offering their employees benefits, both to increase the value of an employee’s total reward and help make their everyday that little bit easier. The latter is especially valid in light of the current Covid-19 situation. For benefits to be of real value, personalisation is crucial. However, knowing what benefits to offer and 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 per cent of organisations say their rewards programme is “very effective” at creating a personalised, 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 benefits platform to assist with benefits management, Caroline Roque, Benefits and Compensation Manager at Eurosport France, said, “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 digitalising benefit enrolments and reduces HR administration through the automation of benefits processing, foreign tax calculations, and much more. If your benefits provider of choice also has an app, employees can enrol in benefits anywhere, at any time.
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, the UK or the Netherlands, be sure to choose a global benefits provider with knowledge and experience in administering complex benefits programs across the globe.
Go 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 localised to each country, including the use of local vendors and suppliers.
Let’s imagine your organisation 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 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.
Use benefits that reflect your organisation
One Glassdoor survey reveals that approximately 60 per cent of people say benefits play a significant part in their decision making when considering a job offer, while LinkedIn reveals that 75 per cent 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 organisation?
Using the earlier example, let’s say that one of your company’s values is sustainability. You can then offer a range of benefits 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 at a global level but work at a local level.
Remove the guesswork and use data
The Deloitte survey mentioned above found that only 9 per cent 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 the most effective global benefits strategy.
With the help of your global benefits platform, you can access data and gain valuable insights into your global workforce and your benefits. From the platform, you can look at which benefits are performing, and which ones are not, see supplier costs, view benefit and pension costs and, as a result, reduce the margin of error on benefit spending.
With this data, you can create custom reports and share them with executives to facilitate global decisions.
When 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 workforce and find out what benefits are of most value to them.
Under current circumstances, benefit needs are likely to have changed. What do your employees 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 Insights where you can browse and download e-books, whitepapers, and client cases, as well as read our latest blog posts, listen to webinars, and more.
By Scott van Dort, HR & Employee Benefits Content Specialist, Benify