Could a benefits platform help monitor reward take-up on a global scale?

With the consolidation of HR services and regional hubs becoming commonplace, as well as company acquisitions with businesses overseas, you probably have responsibility for benefits not just in the UK.

Man looking at the globe

Daunting as this is, you need to understand diverse benefits culture as well as how engaged the employees are with their benefits. The war for talent has never been greater and expectations around benefits packages never higher.

With the challenges of different languages, cultures, expectations and even time zones, how can you ensure that employee take up is high? How can you make your global benefits strategy both competitive and cost effective?

In the past, reliance would have been on employee feedback such as an exit interview (by which time it would be too late), paper surveys and employee work councils or unions. None of these would provide particularly accurate information. There could also be a common misunderstanding of what is the norm in a particular country. For example, spa treatment, sports club and arts club membership can form part of an employee benefits package across Europe but not necessarily elsewhere. Relying on employee feedback to ensure your company is on target could give mixed results, especially if you don’t know the typical approaches of that country

Technology of course can help you. An increasing number of companies with an international workforce are using benefits platforms that offer several advantages besides reducing your administration and providing insight into current benefits.

So how will a platform help you?

  • Essential: analytics platforms
    An analytics platform can help monitor and even implement your global benefits strategy across your various locations. The ability to filter individual countries or sites can give insight into your benefits at a top organisational-wide level, or can be drilled down to see specific geographical preferences allowing you to make informed decisions on future designs.

    You can view enrolment activity, benefit take-up, top-performing perks and more. With this real-time insight you can make positive changes to the benefits provided to ensure they are the benefits your employees want and need.  

  • Centralised benefits and pooled data
    Where you don’t have a global benefits strategy in place, a technology platform can present the opportunity for you to introduce one. By consolidating your diverse benefits into one place, you effectively take the first step of a defined strategy that can then be reviewed, tweaked and evolved as your company goes forward. Data is naturally the key to this growth, and by correctly analysing and monitoring this benefits data you make better-informed decisions and spend money wisely in these times of reduced budgets. Accurate data helps you with your internal business case when justifying changes. That low-cost transport allowance in Asia may have a greater positive impact that you and the board realise!

    One of the risks we have seen with global organisations is when various teams independently collect and analyse data – this can lead to incomplete or flawed data (or even just a perception that it will be flawed). Consolidating in one place relieves that risk and gives you the confidence to make decisions and recommendations internally, especially upwards.

  • Global communications, local messaging
    Communications is also a huge part of monitoring and interpreting your benefits scheme and success – communications management tools which can personalise on a mass scale enable you to distribute communications globally, but personalised on a local level.  

    Communications can then also be tracked to monitor click-rate, open-rate and overall engagement and how this relates to the communications’ personalisation, localisation or globalisation. 

Your first step towards efficient growth
Of course, in addition to benefiting the employee, there are also gains for the company. As mentioned above, a platform will give greater insight into benefit spend, crucial in today’s economic climate. It is also the first step to longer-term aims such as multinational pooling, global underwriting and strategic placement.

A sound and fit-for-purpose global benefit strategy will naturally impact your wider people strategy, ensuring that you are competitive and attractive. However, one thing to consider is the local and cultural norm. Whilst a global approach is recommended, you need to have specific local focus too so that the benefits offered are where they need to be.

The author is Paul Andrews, Global Benefits Director, Benefex.

This article is provided by Benefex. 

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