How to keep employee benefits simple in the age of the global workforce

Employee benefits global workforce

Today’s HR teams face the challenge of handling increasingly disparate staff. While much attention is paid to the rise of remote working – and the challenges that poses – less is said of the increased international spread of workforces.

In this blog post we examine the driving factors behind this trend, the impact it has on the delivery of employee benefits and how businesses can keep things simple.

 

If you’d like FREE professional advice on how best to support your international teams, contact the experts at Engage Health Group +44 (0)1273 974419. We’re happy to answer all your queries and help guide you in the right direction.

The rise of the global workforce

According to CoderPad’s tech hiring survey, 40% of recruiters are hiring internationally for roles in other countries. While this brings many businesses perks, it also increases the logistical challenge of deploying employee benefits and maintaining a happy, healthy and motivated team. It also demands a keen awareness of cultural differences.

There are five interconnected factors behind the increased internationalisation of the workforce, including:

  • The continued advance of online digital technology enabling more fluid communication and a wider variety of duties remotely performed.
  • The impact of the pandemic which has accelerated the above by forcing companies to adjust their business model toward remote work.
  • General trends around globalisation, such as ease-of-movement across borders (at least pre-Covid) and less anchorage to geographical locations.
  • The widening global talent tool, particularly in the digital sector.
  • Companies’ desire to source the best talent, regardless of where they are in the world.

 

The pandemic has become a major driving factor over the last two years. The social restrictions it triggered forced many companies to reconsider how they employ talent. More than 80% of CFOs said it had fundamentally changed the way they think about hiring and workforce management. Those who have realised the benefits are unlikely to return to the way things were.

According to the Future of Work survey by HSBC:

More than one-third (36%) of businesses are increasing the number of international remote workers not affiliated with a local office.

Over the next three years, 40% of companies are supporting increased flexibility over the office or country from which employees work.

There are three main ways that companies develop an international workforce:

  1. Via expat workers: an employee working abroad for a defined period, either on assignment or independently.
  2. Via multinational company locations: the classic multinational company which has branches or divisions in different parts of the world.
  3. Via international remote employees: the most recent trend which sees employees working remotely from different parts of the world.

 

As this trend continues, HR will be challenged to manage the health, wellbeing, and motivation levels of people in different countries. Part of this challenge is to account for different cultural perspectives, legal jurisdictions and personal needs. That’s no small undertaking for companies with a considerable international footprint.

How to keep global employee benefits simple

One of the problems usually encountered by businesses with global workforces is the complexity of delivering benefits across different locations. Whether it’s companies with satellite offices and/or globe-trotting expat workers, things can get complicated quickly.

The simple solution is to keep everything in one place. Rather than let benefit schemes become a patchwork of different policies for each location, it’s easier – and more cost-effective – to have a single international scheme which covers everyone.

Let’s consider two examples:

Firstly, health insurance. If you have a separate business health insurance policy for each country, that means they must be purchased and managed separately. But if instead, you have a single International Health Insurance scheme you can cover all countries under one policy – a single purchase and everything managed in one place. The savings are considerable, and it significantly relieves the administrative burden on HR.

Secondly, general wellbeing support. This can be difficult to provide consistently across different territories. One of the most popular solutions today is Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs). EAPs are digital platforms which provide tools, advice and services designed to support employee wellbeing (such as one-to-one counselling support, healthy eating guidance, and much more).

However, operating a separate EAP for each country would multiply the costs unnecessarily. Thankfully, there are International Employee Assistance Programmes which can be set up and managed from one location, once more reducing the burden of managing such schemes and controlling costs.

 

Are you looking to build and implement a health and wellbeing plan that covers your whole international workforce? Get FREE expert advice from the specialists at Engage. Put your questions to us using the chat feature in the bottom right or call +44 (0)1273 974419.

 

4 reasons why you should invest in a single international scheme

A single international employee benefits scheme provides several advantages over domestic, single country schemes:

Consistency

International benefit schemes provide a consistent range of benefits and support for all staff across multiple countries.

Even if an employee moves from one country to another, the scheme can be designed to move with them. This saves the trouble (and cost) of removing an employee from a pre-existing policy and enrolling them on a new one.

Generous terms

When you have multiple employees under one policy, you can gain improved terms and conditions. This is the typical ‘bulk buy’ effect. For example, it’s possible to get Medical History Disregarded underwriting on an International Health Insurance plan – this means an individual’s previous medical conditions are overlooked in the pricing and/or terms of the policy. A single national policy is unlikely to offer such generous terms.

Centralised and simplified

Hundreds of HR hours can be saved by bringing together a range of insurance schemes and perks in one place. Different languages, renewal dates, currencies and points of contact can be brought into a centrally managed system.

“Having one central point of contact to administer a group’s international healthcare cover across time zones and languages is costly, so if this burden can be borne by the insurer, the client will save valuable resources,” said Adam Vogt from health insurance providers APRIL International. “Equally, having clearly defined procedures and benefits centrally on a company intranet can ensure all have access and the rules and policy operation are made easier.”

Superior quality

Many international policies will provide more extensive levels of cover than domestic policies. This is particularly true of global health insurance, where individuals may have access to extra services such as maternity care, private GP visits and medical evacuation.

Ready for the road to simplicity?

You should now have a fair understanding of how international insurance products can benefit HR teams and the employees they serve. Whether you’ve already gone down the tangled road of separate national policies and want some relief – or are now seeking ways to look after a newly expanded global workforce – we’d love to hear from you. For FREE no-strings advice call +44 (0)1273 974419 or use the chatbox.

 

Related reading: The 3 Pillars of Corporate Wellbeing: What Do Employers Need to Offer?

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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