How to Create an Efficient Global Benefits Strategy

Employee benefits, once considered a supplementary facet of a compensation package, now play a pivotal role in any modern talent acquisition and retention strategy. Practically every organization must craft a benefits package that’s both enticing and fiscally sustainable.

How to Create an Efficient Global Benefits Strategy
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Employee benefits, once considered a supplementary facet of a compensation package, now play a pivotal role in any modern talent acquisition and retention strategy. Practically every organization must craft a benefits package that’s both enticing and fiscally sustainable.

This balancing act becomes all the more difficult for businesses with a global workforce. While they can follow a general global benefits strategy framework, each country has unique regulations and cultural nuances that must be accounted for. Companies need to juggle compliance with local employment laws and union stipulations while catering their personalized benefits to align with distinct cultural norms and expectations.

It's a demanding endeavor, but essential for global success. To help with that, we’ve created this guide on how to create a strategy for your global employee benefits.

What Are Employee Benefits?

Employee benefits are the extras that companies offer beyond the basic employee compensation structure to make their employee benefits packages more appealing. Depending on the country you operate in, some of these benefits may be legally required, whereas others are optional additions that companies include to sweeten the recruitment offer. Canada employee benefits, for example, must include state health insurance but can offer disability and life insurance as an additional perk.

Broadly, employee benefits fall into two categories:

  1. Tangible benefits – These are predictable benefits that can be quantified financially, provide long-term security, and are directly received by employees. As such, they’re often written into employment contracts. Examples may include:
  • Dental and health insurance
  • Savings plans or pensions
  • Bonuses or profit-sharing schemes
  • Life and disability insurance
  1. Intangible benefits – These are more abstract and might not be easily measured financially, but their value is undeniable. Intangible benefits tend to enhance the quality of work life and contribute to an employee's physical and mental health leading to better job satisfaction. They include:
  • Flexible working hours or remote work opportunities
  • Paid time off or extended leave options
  • Continuous learning and professional development opportunities
  • Employee wellness programs or mental health support
  • Recognition and rewards programs
  • Fitness or gym stipends

Importance of Employee Benefits

Employee benefit packages are now essential in the modern hiring landscape. So why are employee benefits important? Some of the advantages of having an attractive benefits plan include:

  • Improved talent attraction – A comprehensive benefits package can bring top talent to your doors. When you offer more than the industry standard, you position yourself as an employer of choice, which gives you a competitive edge in a crowded labor market. A Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey discovered that1: “60% of people report that benefits and perks are a major factor in considering whether to accept a job offer. The survey also found that 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise.”
  • Greater worker satisfaction and motivation – Beyond tangible employee benefit plans, offerings such as continuous learning or professional development cater directly to an employee's growth and career trajectory. Such intangibles not only boost employee experience and job satisfaction but also foster in-house talent, paving the way for them to ascend the company’s ranks. This dual focus on personal and professional growth creates a motivated workforce dedicated to the company's mission.
  • Stronger company reputation – Companies known for their global benefit programs and packages are often considered industry leaders. Such positive perceptions can lead to broader business advantages and partnerships, further enhancing talent recruitment efforts.
  • Increased employee retention – Employees are less likely to look for new opportunities when they feel valued and cared for. A high-quality employee benefits package is one of the key ways a company shows that they’re invested in an employee’s well-being and future.
  • Reduced turnover costs – Talent retention benefits a business’ bottom line. Between finding, recruiting, screening, interviewing, onboarding, and training, the recruitment process is incredibly resource-intensive in terms of both hard and soft costs. Recent benchmarking data discovered that the average cost per hire of a new employee can be 3 to 4 times the position’s salary.2

What Are Global Employee Benefits Strategies?

No two countries are identical. Just look at Europe: even under the collective umbrella of the EU, each member nation boasts its own unique domestic policies, regulations, mandates, languages, and cultural nuances.

A global employee benefits strategy serves as a compass companies can use to navigate these diverse hiring landscapes. It's a meticulously crafted roadmap they rely on to guide their recruitment and retention efforts.

By recognizing and accounting for these multifaceted differences, such a strategy equips companies with the agility and foresight needed to accommodate both the regional specifics and the overarching company objectives. And all of this is done while ensuring that the provided benefits plan is compliant and compelling in each region.

A pivotal aspect of this regional-specific benefits creation process involves ensuring fairness across the company at the global level so that no matter where an employee is located, they feel equally valued, supported, and rewarded.

Why does this matter?

Aside from attracting and retaining top talent, the benefits of a global strategy include:

  • Transparency in operations
  • The ability to make informed benefits-related decisions aligned with growth
  • A structured approach for monitoring and managing costs
  • A rationale for prospective adjustments or enhancements
  • Enhanced brand reputation in global markets as an employer of choice
  • Easier integration of acquisitions in new regions
  • Consistent communication of company values and ethos across borders
  • Reduced legal risks by ensuring compliance across different jurisdictions
  • Streamlined administrative processes for HR teams
  • Cohesive company culture despite geographical disparities

Steps for a Global Benefits Strategy

So, how can you begin building out an effective global benefits strategy? Here’s a step-by-step plan you can follow:

#1 Form an Action Committee 

Building a strategy isn't a one-person show—it demands collective effort and, subsequently, collective buy-in. To ensure this holistic approach, forming a dedicated committee is crucial.

This ensemble of HR, legal, financial planners, and regional representatives and experts can act as the strategy's guiding lights. By pooling their diverse knowledge and insights, you can address everything from budgetary considerations to regional idiosyncrasies to develop your global benefits strategy and local employee benefits packages.

Put simply, this expert guidance enables companies to align the entire global benefits strategy with both organizational goals and aspirations.

#2 Identify Your Strategic Objectives

When constructing a global benefits strategy, it's imperative to start by pinpointing your strategic objectives.

These shouldn't just be abstract ideals; they need to be concrete, measurable goals. This quantifiable nature allows teams to track progress consistently, facilitates regular reviews of outcomes, and provides clear indicators when adjustments are required.

As the strategy unfolds, these measurable objectives will serve as both your guiding star and your benchmark, ensuring the plan remains dynamic, relevant, and effective over time. Some examples might include:

  • Improve employee retention rate
  • Reduce length of absences
  • Enhance benefits utilization
  • Increase recruitment
  • Raise employee satisfaction
  • Optimize cost management
  • Achieve zero compliance issues

#3 Consider the Regions You Hire and Operate In

When sculpting a global benefits strategy, a detailed, region-specific approach is paramount. A generic, one-size-fits-all method is a recipe for inefficiency and potential legal snags. The unique tapestry of each region—its laws, culture, and values—necessitates that every benefits plan is tailor-made.

There are complex factors that influence how benefits are structured. At the forefront are employment laws, labor codes, and union agreements. Each locale boasts its unique set, born from historical precedents, economic factors, and cultural influences.

But laws and codes are just the start. You must also account for cultural norms and values that influence what employees value in a benefits package. Once you build out these detailed country-specific reports, it’ll be much easier to determine what's mandated by law and what should be prioritized based on local employee preferences and needs.

#4 Consult Your Workforce

As you build out a regional framework, take the time to speak with your existing employees. By engaging in a dialogue with them, you can see which benefits they value most and where they feel there’s room for improvement.

These insights can steer your benefits strategy in a direction that resonates with the people that matter most.

#5 Develop Policies and Guidelines

With a clear understanding of regional nuances, the next logical step is to crystallize this knowledge into actionable policies and guidelines. Establishing clear policies and guidelines does more than ensure compliance—it also serves as a beacon, guiding the entire organization, from HR to management, in their daily operations and interactions.

Having a clear, written framework will prevent misunderstandings, streamline administrative tasks, and ensure understanding from employees across the globe. If your business continues to expand, having this foundation will make it even easier to add new regions without starting from scratch.

#6 Build and Adjust

At this stage, all that’s left to do is to build out the benefits plan and then set it into motion. Once that’s underway, the action committee should continuously monitor its efficacy, gather stakeholder feedback, and refine it accordingly.

An iterative process will ensure that your global benefits strategy remains dynamic and impactful.

Expand Internationally with Omnipresent

For companies expanding internationally, having competitive and comprehensive global employee benefits is essential for facilitating smooth transitions and sustainable growth. Beyond compliance, providing a high-quality benefits package bespoke to the specific region enables companies to attract, motivate, and retain top global talent.

Need expert assistance with this?

At Omnipresent, we provide global infrastructure for compliance, payroll, benefits, and more. Our platform combines human expertise with the power of automation to support your international hiring.

If you are ready to build a global team with attractive and relevant benefits, reach out to our team today.

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Omnipresent Team

The Omnipresent team writes informative articles on a wealth of popular topics, such as global employment and remote work. Check out our articles.

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