Harmonising international benefits to boost ROI and engagement 

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Centralising global employee benefits can reduce costs and enhance the employee experience.

In an increasingly international working landscape, benefits and compensation need to be harmonised to create a globally consistent employee experience. Only then will employees, sharing skills and expertise across borders, feel equally engaged and connected, regardless of where they live.

At the same time, harmonising global employee benefits also creates opportunities for comparable metrics on cost and uptake across countries. That means international benefits can be analysed to calculate ROI, identify what is and isn’t working, and balance investment against employee needs.

These insights can then be used to inform the global benefits strategy and share best practice across countries. Since international benefits account for at least a fifth of employee salary, this can help to reduce costs for 42% of employers. Unsurprisingly, nearly 44% of multinationals plan to fully centralise HR operations within the next year.

Globally consistent international benefits

Because of the complex nature of global employee benefits, it is often difficult to deliver a consistent employee experience across markets. Local nuances, legislation and vendor relationships all have to be considered to get benefits right in any given country.

The resulting complexity is often a barrier to delivering a consistent international benefits experience. International benefits have to be both globally consistent and relevant at a local level, and getting the balance right is critical to success. This can be achieved by creating an overarching employee value proposition (EVP) to differentiate your global employee benefits offering. This gives all employees a shared sense of connection and support when it comes to anything from work-life balance to well-being.

Shared technology systems also bring all regions onto the same page, with an accessible holistic view of international benefits and compensation. This makes it easier for HR teams to reach all employees and help everyone engage with their benefits and evaluate new offerings.

International benefits for the individual

Achieving a globally consistent employee experience is now a “high priority” for 81% of HR teams, according to our latest research. Employers are looking at how to create not only globally consistent employee experiences, but also country-consistent experiences as some people choose to remain working remotely and others to return to the office.

These new ways of working have added another layer of complexity when it comes to harmonising international benefits. HR teams need to consider the needs of different individuals to personalise benefits beyond merely what people in London or New York might need.

Again, intelligent reward platforms can help, allowing employees to access flexible benefits depending on their unique needs. This allows employees to choose which benefits to opt for, whether that’s at-home workout equipment, healthcare plans or support with childcare or eldercare.

Allowing people to choose between international benefits reduces wasted spend on underutilised benefits and enhances the employee experience. It also allows employers to quickly respond to emerging requirements. For example, by automatically offering an employee access to maternity or paternity benefits once they start a family. This creates a more personalised and engaging employee experience.

Three ways to harmonise international benefits

  1. Create an overarching global benefits strategy
    Start by taking a long, hard look at the employee experience you provide and asking whether it is fit for purpose. What do employees want and need, what are the people risks driving costs and absence? What will it take to attract and retain the talent needed for the future?
  2. Use data-driven insights to increase ROI
    Consistent global employee benefits data allows you to compare international benefits metrics. This provides valuable analytics on the return on investment for each benefit, in each region, to help identify where to make adjustments.
  3. Personalise global employee benefits for the individual
    Instead of offering one-size-fits-all international benefits, allow employees to choose between a range of benefits, according to their unique needs. This lets employees personalise their experience and reduce wasted spend on underutilised benefits.

Employee benefits and technology trends report 2021/22

Organisations, HR teams and the employee benefits they provide have been repeatedly stress-tested in our evolving world of work. As a result, benefits and the technology used to deliver them have shot up the corporate agenda. Get an in-depth look at the impact this has had on benefits and technology trends.
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