The trend toward global benefits management brings important scalability. Here’s how to make sure the local support stays intact.


Almost all multinationals are currently managing a fundamental transformation of their HR functions. As we move away from the old world with HR teams in every country, the new model sees regional HR service centers and a global benefits team. CHROs are realizing strong returns from the right shoring of core HR functions, such as payroll, benefits enrollment, etc. Although vital, these transformations have exposed significant vulnerabilities in the HR ecosystem around governance, technology and employee well-being.

After all, just a few years ago, HR usually had a presence in every country. On the ground and in tune with local employee needs along with  law changes, these HR professionals understood and could easily communicate legal and regulatory impacts to both global leadership and local employees. In a global benefits team structure, however, this critical knowledge in smaller countries has been lost.

Centralized HR ecosystems don’t have to leave multinational organizations exposed or scrambling.

  1. De-risk with global networks. Whether you’re outsourcing the management of pension or health benefits, a true global benefits management partner can support compliance and governance wherever your employees live and work. This helps to fill in the gaps in internal resources to ensure issues are resolved even where there is no local HR support.

  2. Focus on well-being. Speaking of outcomes, it’s important never to lose sight of the human part of resources. From prevention to telemedicine, from pension formulas to plan fees, leveraging global purchasing power doesn’t have to come at the expense of local employee well-being. In fact, strong global benefit partners understand and can help drive strategy on the needs of all employee populations, whoever they are and wherever they live and work.

  3. Use digital as a tool, not a crutch. Technology can provide predictive insights, flexibility and increased employee engagement. However, it takes humans to optimize a benefits strategy and to initiate and manage change.

As we look to the future of work and transform HR accordingly, the race is on to realize and maintain global benefits at scale. Governance, new technologies and employee well-being are, in fact, closely linked. They can generate positive outcomes for your organization and your people — but only with the right balance of in-house resourcing and outsourcing.

Graham Pearce
Graham Pearce

Partner, Mercer

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