How to develop a successful global employee benefits plan

global employee benefits

Any company which employs people in different parts of the world faces the challenge of looking after them with an affordable and effective benefit scheme. We’re talking about the kind of benefits which protect the health, happiness, and wellbeing of global staff.

But how do you do it?

A huge range of global employee benefits and insurance products are available which can be used to strike the perfect balance between proactive and reactive health support, lifestyle rewards and financial support.

This straightforward guide will take you through the key building blocks of a successful global benefits plan, as well as giving a comprehensive list of the international benefits you can select from.

Get FREE one-to-one advice and support from our team of international insurance brokers on 01273 974419 or click on the chat box to the right. We’re here to answer all your questions and deliver the best quotes available in the market today. 


Get started with these 5 top tips

When it comes to creating an employee benefits plan that meets the needs of your global teams, knowing where to begin can be difficult. However, as brokers with international expertise we have a few tips to help you simplify the whole process and kickstart your global benefits plan.

#1 Assess staff needs:

The key to a successful global employee benefits plan is to provide your staff with the protection and benefits that they need. You need to know they really want and need from a health, wellbeing and lifestyle perspective.

Ask your employees what benefits are most important to them. You can do this by providing them with a thorough list of benefits to choose from and asking them to rank in order of preference. It’s also worth leaving space for them to input their own suggestions.

Other means of gathering staff needs, include:

  • Arranging one-to-one meetings
  • Arranging team meetings
  • Tracking HR data and demographic trends
  • Tracking usage of current benefits, if already in place
  • Assessing absence levels, alongside productivity, quality/quantity of work being produced
  • Opening up convenient systems of communication – online portals, emails, WhatsApp

Performing a comprehensive assessment is the foundation to any successful global employee benefit plan.

#2 Track the success of your benefits

The same principal applies to tracking the success of your global employee benefits after they have been implemented. It’s important to review how well your chosen benefits are actually working, and if your staff are using them.

  • Are my staff using the benefits on offer?
  • Have any country-specific regulations changed?
  • Is the global benefits plan achieving your overall business objectives? Think staff turnover rates, staff satisfaction levels, absence rates and more.
  • Have employee needs changed at all? It’s important to provide a yearly review with staff for this reason.
  • Can I squeeze more value from the scheme? For example, if you have employee health insurance – is there a better deal elsewhere?

An international benefits consultant like Engage can help on all these issues.

#3 Strike the right balance:

Taking a ‘blended’ holistic approach is the best way to deliver employee benefits and health insurance. That means tackling each area of wellbeing: mental, physical and financial. This should be approached in both a proactive and reactive way. Ideally, you want to be able to stop ill-health occurring in the first place, but at the same time be able to provide a safety net to help staff out when they do become ill or injured.

Here are some ideas:

Proactive health support: Private Healthcare schemes (often includes added extras which offer proactive support), Cash Plan schemes (for everyday health needs) and wellness tools (digital platforms, apps and Employee Assistance Programmes).

Reactive health support: Private Healthcare, Cash Plans, Critical Illness Cover.

Financial support: Income Protection, Life Insurance, bonus schemes, travel cost reimbursement, retail discount schemes and more.

Lifestyle perks: flexi-working and remote working arrangements.

Fun perks: staff socials

Striking the right balance will ensure all your staff get something out of your benefit scheme.

#4 Get to know your locations:

You must be knowledgeable about the different international locations your staff are working from – or at least ensure you’re working with a broker who is!

It’s vital to be aware of the different standards and requirements countries have in place. For example, in the US, UAE and Saudi Arabia companies must have health insurance for their employees.

Each country will also vary massively in terms of their culture, so getting to grips with local etiquette will go a long way.

#5 Prepare your employees for overseas placements

The most common reason that expat assignments fail is due to culture shock and disrupted family relations, with failure rates sat between 10% to 50%. Preparation is key which is why pre-assignment screening and cultural training is so important.

Pre-assignment screening provides a risk assessment for any staff member who is being considered for an overseas placement, while cultural training helps bridge the gap between different cultures within an organisation – with specific modules available for expat employees.

But of course, open lines of communications must be maintained during a placement so that if any problems arise, help is on hand.

Need FREE one-to-one assistance from an international benefits consultant? Contact our award-winning brokers on 01273 974419 or click on the right chat box. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions and help you deliver the perfect benefit scheme for your global workforce.


Global employee benefits and health insurance

International Health Insurance:

Global Health Insurance gives staff access to private healthcare anywhere around the world. It gives staff the medical support they need, wherever and whenever they need it. It fulfils employer duty of care, reduces failure rates of expat assignments, and reduces absenteeism by diagnosing problems often even before they occur.

International Group Life Insurance:

International Group Life provides financial support to a team member’s loved-ones in the event of their passing away. It reassures your staff that their family/loved-ones are looked after if the worst-case scenario occurs. It’s also a relatively low-cost global insurance plan.

International Group Income Protection:

Essentially a form of sick pay, International Group Income Protection provides financial support to employees in the event of them falling ill, anywhere in the world. Usually, businesses will foot the bill for staff absence, but this covers the costs, helping businesses avoid a potentially huge financial hit whilst giving staff the financial support they need.

International Group Critical Illness:

Similar to Group Income, International Group Critical Illness provides financial support to staff suffering from a serious illness or, often in some policies, a disability. Employees are provided with the financial means to support themselves and their families in the absence of a regular and guaranteed income.

International Employee Assistance Programmes (IEAPs):

IEAPs are often included within an insurance policy, providing staff with the tools to help themselves deal with emotional and psychological stresses. Ultimately, it’s helping them become happier, healthier, and more at ease with whatever life and work throws at them. A digital platform is included with the IEAP, allowing access to practical health and wellbeing support via a mobile or desktop app. International services offer multi-lingual support including: counselling, financial advice and stress support.

Group Travel Insurance:

Group Travel Insurance provides cover for staff travelling abroad. Accidents, illnesses, lost possessions, travel cancellations and more can be included with a group policy. This is a great insurance policy for teams often travelling on business trips as it reduces the burden on HR if staff encounter any issues while away. Group Travel gives fast support and guidance for all issues highlighted under the policy, and some now can even include Covid cover.

Pre-Assignment Screening:

These include a series of checks to assess if an employee is suitable/a good match for working overseas or expat assignments. Pre-Assignment Screening can include health screenings, personal evaluations, pre-trip preparation/training, and family support.

This benefit is only going to maximise the chances of a successful assignment where the checks target the psychological and physical wellbeing of your teams before setting off. This ensures there are no potential challenges that have been missed.

Kidnap and Ransom Insurance:

Kidnap and Ransom provides support to businesses if an employee is kidnapped or held hostage. The policy covers consultancy costs (hostage negotiators), care expenses for physical and mental needs, legal costs, and employee replacement costs. This insurance policy can be vital for businesses that operate in areas of the world prone to incidents and dangerous circumstances, or if companies have high net-worth individuals. It helps to protect both staff and business, during and after incidents, ensuring everyone involved is covered and supported.

Cultural Training:

Cross-cultural training equips staff with the knowledge and skills to improve their communication across different cultures and countries, and to avoid any misunderstandings or cause offense. Cultural training can be offered for any type of team, from expats, to multi-national workforces, to global leadership teams, and multi-cultural teams. Team dynamics, productivity, morale, and mutual respect can be improved with a well-designed programme.

Click here for a wider in-depth look at what international benefits are on offer. Or check out some additional global employee benefits that can be included in your plan.


Get free help from an independent broker

Understanding and navigating the global employee benefits and international health insurance market can be incredibly confusing without a little guidance. Reaching out to an independent international benefits broker and expert helps alleviate any burden and stress from the process of setting up your benefits plan.

At Engage Health Group, we have a large and wide reach of global partnerships spanning 50+ countries and territories, enabling us to give the best advice and source the most competitive quotes in the market. Our aim is to ensure there are no nasty surprises encountered in the whole process, working for your organisation and needs to create the ideal global employee benefits and international insurance plan to suit your business.

Contact us at [email protected] or call 01273 974419 for FREE no-obligation advice and support.


Picture of Eleanor Chilvers

Eleanor Chilvers

Eleanor started at Engage in 2021, and is now a Digital Content Writer after studying BA English Literature at University of Sussex for the last 3 years.

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