Fulfilling duty of care for your staff, no matter where they are in the world, is a major responsibility for any employer.
It’s not easy…
Businesses must strive to encompass all three pillars of wellbeing: physical, financial, and mental. But how can this be achieved at the same level for all employees when you have a globally diverse workforce?
This blog explores how to fulfil duty of care through different employee benefits and workplace initiatives.
Need help supporting your global workforce? Get FREE expert advice from our award-winning consultants on 01273 974419 or email [email protected].
The challenges of a global workforce
Hiring from a global talent pool brings many benefits to a business. It increases your chances of finding the right people with the right skills, and enables an around-the-clock operation in different markets.
But it also creates challenges. Some of these challenges include:
- Managing cultural differences
- Understanding local employment regulations
- Overcoming language barriers
- Maintaining consistent communication
- Generating a strong team dynamic across vast distances
- Implementing employee benefits
The latter point is what we’re focusing on here. The question is: how do you provide a consistent employee benefits experience that abides by each country’s rules, while also being adaptive to different cultural expectations and requirements?
5 international employee benefits to consider
1. International Employee Assistance Programmes
International Employee Assistance Programmes (iEAPs) provide staff with tools to manage day-to-day emotional and psychological challenges. iEAPs are usually hosted on digital platforms with services including:
- One-to-one counselling sessions
- Virtual GP access
- Employee support for specific issues, encompassing a variety of life challenges, including: legal, childcare, financial, elderly care, work-life balance, relationship, stress, anxiety, depression, life transitions, emotional support and more.
- Employer support for critical/traumatic workplace incidents
- Multi-lingual functionality
With global access, iEAPs can be set up and managed from one location as a single platform making it an easy-to-use tool for both management and staff.
2. Cultural Training
Cultural Training equips staff with the knowledge and skills to effectively understand the different cultures and countries of their colleagues, helping to boost communication and avoid misunderstandings. The training can be offered to any type of team – expat staff, multi-national workforces, global leadership teams and multi-cultural teams.
Offering Cultural Training helps to fully unlock the benefits of a culturally diverse team.
3. International Health Insurance
International Health Insurance provides staff access to private healthcare anywhere in the world, under one single policy. The global health insurance market is a complex one, so having a single plan which covers all countries under one scheme can be a truly HR-friendly option.
4. International Life Insurance
It’s important to have policies in place which protect the loved-ones of employees. A Life Insurance policy is designed to do just that by paying a lump to an employee’s family in the event of their death. An International Group Life Insurance policy is designed to provide coverage to all employees around the world under one scheme.
5. Employee Benefits Platforms
Employee Benefits Platforms unify your employee benefits offerings under a single online platform, making it easier for HR to manage workplace perks and for staff to access. These platforms allow staff to access the services they most need, whether it’s a health insurance policy, wellbeing advice or discount schemes.
Platforms usually have multi-lingual capabilities enabling employers to bridge the gap between communication and cultural differences.
Establish the right policies for your employees by contacting the expert consultants at Engage Health Group. We’ll make the process simpler for HR and ensure that you get the most effective policies for your people, wherever they are in the world. Email [email protected] or call 01273 974419 for FREE no-obligation advice and support.
5 workplace initiatives to help international employees
1. Focus on maintaining a positive work-life balance
For staff to be as productive as possible, their personal needs must also be looked after. Fortunately, the same approaches taken in most domestic businesses can be easily applied to global employees – thanks to technology.
Can you supporting flexible working options for all employees? Aside from making remote work an option, you can also support them by investing in ‘at home’ office equipment. Options include laptops, additional screens/monitors, ergonomic chairs and desks.
2. Instill a team dynamic
With such a globally diverse workforce, gaps can form in an organisation’s sense of community. Instead of feeling like a team, a global company can become a patchwork of individual staff members with little connection to one another. Uphold open lines of communication and offer engaging opportunities for socialising and team-building online.
3. Recognise the cultural differences of the workforce
The different cultures making up a global workforce is incredibly important to the success of the business – and is something to be nurtured, respected and understood. It’s important to understand the differing religious holidays, approaches to health and relationships, local customs and behaviours.
Educating staff and management on local customs and cultural nuances will enable effective cross-cultural communication. What could be deemed ‘normal’ in a UK office may be taken completely different elsewhere. For example, a thumbs-up in the Middle East can be taken as an insult, or in Turkey having one hand in your pocket is considered arrogant!
Other ways to be observant of the cultural, religious, and local differences in your workforce:
- Offer flexible time off and holiday options: accommodate for different religious traditions/holy days
- Be mindful of dress code norms
- Offer a space for prayer rooms/flexibility around breaks to allow for prayer
- Offer further education and resources for any staff member wishing to learn more
- Offer cultural training to senior staff
4. Understand local and global health & protection requirements
Similar to understanding the personal differences of your global teams, it’s also important to get to grips with administering different health and protection policies in different countries. For example, health and life insurance policies can work differently in different countries.
It’s quite a complicated business, which is why many businesses turn to employee benefits consultants with specialist international expertise. For example, Engage Health Group has a broker network spanning 73 countries making us perfectly placed to manage health and protection policies on behalf of clients.
One key area to consider is whether you need to opt for a single global ‘umbrella’ plan or a series of separate national plans:
- Global solutions: They typically work best when your workforce has sparse members in different locations, ensuring all members are fully covered.
- Local solutions: They often work best when you have a high concentration of members in one or two locations.
5. Enable staff the chance to give feedback on their benefits
Are you giving staff what they want? It’s hard to know unless you ask.
- How satisfied are they with overall employee benefits package?
- How satisfied are they with specific employee benefits (for example; health insurance, life insurance, income protection, EAPs, wellbeing apps, and flexi-working opportunities)
- How easy do they find them to access and use?
- What can be improved about their employee benefits policy?
It’s worth running a survey of staff which addresses these points. Other ways to get feedback include:
- In-person virtual meetings about benefits
- Tracking HR data and analytics
- Tracking usage of current benefits
- Assessing absences, productivity, quality of work
- Utilising different communication tools e.g., online portals, emails, WhatsApp groups
Find the right support for your global workforce
Businesses have a huge array of international benefits to choose from and the sheer scale and complexity of this market makes it an arduous undertaking for HR teams.
Finding the right support can make all the difference when it comes to fulfilling duty of care for your global staff.
At Engage Health Group, we have a wide global broker network spanning more than 70 countries, enabling us to provide the best guidance wherever your employees are based.
Contact us at [email protected] or call 01273 974419 for FREE no-obligation advice and support.