Top tips for going global with a centralised benefits platform
After a successful domestic employee benefits launch, many companies begin thinking about implementation in their other locations. But where do you start? What factors do you need to consider and how can you sell this internally?
Gethin Nadin, director of wellbeing at Benefex, will be speaking at the virtual Employee Wellbeing Congress on 9 September, 10:15–10:35. His session, entitled: Creating a joined-up financial wellbeing strategy to improve financial resilience
There’s a myriad of reasons why you would wish to roll out a tech solution globally, which we’ll cover off. But we would also recommend speaking to your regional colleagues to understand their challenges and concerns regarding the implementation of a benefits platform in their location. People may not see the case for uniting all your benefits on one platform. However, we have seen that even where the benefits offering is simple or heavily state mandated, solutions to everyday problems can be found using a centralised global platform.
Common challenges we’ve seen across reward teams in global organisations
Lack of awareness of benefits
With no centralised resource and limited or sporadic communications, employees often have a low awareness and understanding of their benefits.
Poor return on investment
When awareness and understanding is low, use and acknowledgement of your benefits will inevitably be low as well, which means your investment is not having its desired effect. This may be impacting on your recruitment and retention strategy with potential for extra cost and lost revenue.
Disjointed, disconnected workforce
It can be difficult to make your benefits resonate with everyone, particularly as you expand into new or unfamiliar territories by growth or acquisition. Is that wellbeing benefit you promoted being used and having the result you had hoped for?
Employers whose benefits schemes sit across various systems or old technology will often be wasting valuable HR resources which could be better spent elsewhere. Plus, as compliance requirements change, it can be difficult to keep on top of this without a level of automation, which exposes you to risk.
How can a global employee benefits platform help solve these challenges?
The advantages of implementing global benefits technology can be significant and will build upon the success you had with a domestic launch. First, it can go a long way towards aligning your benefits with your global HR goals, as well as playing a huge part in delivering your wider business strategy. A global platform can also save on costs and admin, delivering a fantastic return on investment as well as providing employees with choice and flexibility that may not be available with the current set up.
Although you may be convinced, you need to influence those in your organisation, and that’s where a strong business case comes into its own. Here are some of the things you may wish to expand on, taking into account you own research and company position:
Five things a global platform can help you achieve:
1. Improve your global employee experience
Although you may have conquered the employee experience in your domestic or headquartered territory, a unified platform can help you achieve this level of experience globally, as well as expanding the benefits choice you can offer that would previously incur even more administration.
2. Implement your global benefits strategy
You can use your centralised platform to provide harmonised, consistent benefits strategy, brand and messaging to deliver a sense of unity and belonging in all corners of your workforce.
3. Tackle strategic challenges
If your company is going through an acquisition or merger, employee benefits schemes often deliver a pillar of comfort and stability during potentially tumultuous times. Having a single scheme helps bring all employees onto a level playing field.
4. Better employee retention and recruitment
As employees become ‘consumers of the workplace’, innovative, accessible and exciting benefits help to differentiate your organisation in the marketplace and are proven to assist organisations in attracting key talent
5. Reduced internal administration
Whether your global benefits are administered locally, regionally or centrally, having a single platform which automates rules to correspond with local employment laws will reduce your team’s administration. Which, in turn, means you’ll benefit from less time spent in managing the benefits freeing up resources and potentially making cost savings.
What other things do you need to consider?
Having the right balance between global strategy and oversight with local relevance and involvement is hugely important. You need to make sure that your local HR partners are on board and will support it, so include them in the process. They are likely to provide insights into the local benefits and employee needs that you can build in to your business case.
Who are the stakeholders and who will have final sign-off? You need to understand who will be reading the business case, what is their current level of understanding of the situation, and what are their priorities. Plus, on a global level, local audiences and stakeholders may not be used to administering benefits through tech and could potentially be wary of a new system, so it’s important to highlight how it will personally benefit them.
What’s already in place?
Do your local regions already have their own platform, or is it paper forms? If there is something in place already, you may encounter obstacles to a new solution or perhaps resistance if it is not working well. Furthermore, there may be a reason why there are paper forms, and this could be down to the local market and their requirements.
Where are your various countries on the simple or complex scale? What would be the most effective approach in each location? If you’re planning to roll out in a country with a lot of state-mandated benefits, then a complex solution may not be necessary and will have differing aims and objectives. But if you’re rolling out in growing or benefits-rich regions, you’ll want to offer as much flexibility and choice as possible.
Which locations to include, and when
Taking the above into account, if there is a local platform that works well in a specific country, it may be worth leaving this for a later stage of implementation when you have shown how this can work in other locations. Are any changes planned in the future across the locations that need to be considered? Things like new benefits, increasing headcounts, acquisitions and new brokers may affect when the best time to roll out in that region would be, so you may look to recommend a phased rollout.
What are your peers and competitors doing?
If you can access this information, try to find out what your closest competitors – and what companies of a similar size and type are doing – so you know what you’re up against! But when you’re doing this, it’s important to look wider than your headquartered region; your local colleagues may have some insight into the local recruitment and retention market and the challenges that they face on a daily basis, which deserves consideration.
That was your overview of things to consider when going global, but there are further resources for you to explore. Listen in to our webinar, How to build a business case for global benefits tech to access some of our more in-depth research.
The author is Paul Andrews, global benefits director at Benefex.
This article is provided by Benefex.
Gethin Nadin, director of wellbeing at Benefex, will be speaking at the virtual Employee Wellbeing Congress on 9 September, 10:15–10:35. His session, entitled: Creating a joined-up financial wellbeing strategy to improve financial resilience, will look at:
- establishing your strategy based on organisational and workforce needs post-COVID
- making the link between benefits, reward and HR policies
- accommodating diversity in financial wellbeing
- setting measurable objectives and outcomes.
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