In fact most employers turn to these initiatives as a means to reduce the burden of ‘business as usual’, so that they have the time and resource to give focus to strategies designed to improve their employees and their organisations overall wellbeing. Globalising benefits and policies to create consistency of protection and support available to employees, creates a foundation from which to drive improved employee engagement, a common culture aligned to core business values and optimal business performance.
As a first step, employers should consider defining their benefits philosophy to align with core values, deliver core benefits and meet minimum levels of cover, but adapting, where necessary, to suit each country.
To achieve ‘fair’ employers should consider 6 key components:
- Whether the resulting change is compliant in each country
- Whether there are solutions to provide the benefit in all countries (global or local)
- That the philosophy is relevant, for example
- a). Consider the availability of state provision, so whilst health Insurance is a highly valued benefit in the USA, it has little relevance in Germany where it is provided by the state
- b). Conversely loans/allowances are commonly perceived to be a benefit clients want to move away from, but is relied upon in places like the middle east for housing
- What the change in philosophy/ globalisation of the benefits and policies introduces to the employee:
- a). a direct or indirect cost which makes it prohibitive (consider the benefit in kind/ taxation implications)
- b). reduces the benefits available so it is less inclusive of an increasingly diverse population
- What the change in philosophy/ globalisation of the benefits and policies introduces to the employer:
- a). a cost that is unsustainable by the business
- b). a new administration process the business is unable to properly support/ provide resource to deliver against
- c). a compensation package, out of kilter with the market, impacting the ability to attract and retain talent
- How employees are engaged with their benefits and policies, to ensure:
- a). They know of the benefits available to them
- b). There are no barriers to access (i.e. local contact points, local language provision, in time zone support)
- c). There is consistent access/ flexibility of choice:
- i). This could be either the availability/ use of technology platforms, or
- ii). Can be influenced by local country headcount and limitations of market solutions available
The complexity of globalising benefits and policies should therefore not be underestimated. However, the gains in achieving successfully can provide significant returns, most notably those initiatives which focus on delivery of data can provide the greatest long term value and accelerate organisations achieving their overall business goals.