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Blog, Global

3 ways to start building a global benefits strategy


The globalisation of business means employers have a lot more to think about when it comes to providing a great experience to all their employees, regardless of location.

Benefex’s Great Expectations research shows that since the Covid-19 pandemic, employees have become more concerned about the value of their benefits, seeking out wellbeing opportunities and demanding options that fit their changing lifestyles. And they are looking to their employers to provide increased flexibility and choice in the benefits they offer to support this.

Indeed, according to the research, 77% of employees say their expectations have risen over the last two years.

As a result, benefit and reward leaders are reviewing their benefits strategies, putting technology in place and communicating the value of everything they do with employees. Good planning and project management smooths the process, and technology also plays a vital role in catering to a dispersed employee base, offering flexibility, personalisation and consistency.

So how can you navigate the challenges of designing a global benefits strategy and set your team up for success?

3 things to consider to make your global benefits strategy a success

1 – Look at your benefits technology

It’s becoming more important than ever to provide the consumer-grade technology experiences employees are used to getting from platforms like Spotify, Netflix and Amazon. However, many organisations are shackled by outmoded, complicated legacy systems, or have a disjointed piecemeal approach to global employee benefits. All of these can leave employees dissatisfied: 60% of employees say the technology they use at work lags behind the technology they use at home.

By looking at what technology can do for your global benefits, you can start to manage employees’ ever-changing expectations.

Creating a joined-up, consistent experience for global employees helps you support future headcount and manage a rapidly evolving workforce that’s spilling into new territories. Underpinning your regional, national and international benefits strategy with the right technology also eases the administrational burden and provides an employee experience that attracts, retains and inspires great people in a competitive market.

Digital employee platforms offer incredible opportunities – from targeted and relevant communications to benefits, rewards and wellbeing initiatives – and the all-important data to help you discover and respond to insights that will grow the business.

2 – Set objectives

As with any project, ‘why’ should be your first question. Pinpointing the best place to begin your rollout means identifying objectives. What do you want to achieve through your employee benefits platform? Whether it’s better communication, engagement or reduced administration, define it and make sure it supports your business strategy.

Other things to consider include the strategic insights you need to measure success. This will help you prove ROI and build the business case. Do you need to attract new talent with your benefits? Is retention a primary focus? Are you moving into new territories or growing exponentially in one area?

Many organisations want a solution that provides a simple, globally consistent user experience for employees – while still allowing for local cultural considerations, benefits availability, language and currency.

There’s no one-size-fits all benefits solution. Health insurance, for example, is a vital benefit in the US but less so in western Europe, where countries have national healthcare systems. As Jennifer Burnett, director of US benefits at Snowflake says: “We had a few objectives in mind, largely that we needed a global solution to a series of local problems. We wanted technology that would deliver local flexibility with global consistency.”

When setting objectives, look at what is needed to engage and motivate your employees and work backwards from there.

3 – Define priorities

You may have a specific country rollout and timescale in mind depending on objectives and priorities. While this is crucial, building in some wiggle-room is also good practice as deadlines can slip.

Here are five considerations to help ensure you’re addressing key priorities before you start implementation:

• If your business is growing exponentially, do you have a solution that’s flexible enough to work for larger numbers, quickly?

• What regions are priorities? Do you require a multilingual/multi-currency platform that can accommodate the benefit rules for that location? Do you need to address employees’ specific needs in a particular locale? For example, flexible spending allowances are growing in popularity to help give employees greater choice where local benefits offerings are limited.

• Do you need to streamline processes and ease administration burden? Have your teams been dealing with lots of employee enquiries?

• What do your employees want? Listening to them will inform your choice of benefits – using surveys, employee focus groups and benefits data will help you understand what’s important.

• Is your benefits offering complicated: do you need a unified strategy?

Then it’s time to set your budget, assemble your team and hit the button.

Read our report Global Benefits Tech: Getting it right first time to learn more about how to give your employees the benefits experience they want: relevant, personalised, targeted and country-specific.

Originally posted on REBA

Picture of Niko Rowe

Niko Rowe

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