Multinational companies are facing a unique set of challenges and must consider Global Benefits Management in 2024 to support employees and the business alike, says Towergate Health & Protection.
The challenges and obstacles facing multinational employers involve managing risks, meeting local business needs, regulatory and legislative compliance, controlling costs and attracting and retaining talent. If a company gets it wrong, the repercussions can be huge. This can include poor outcomes for employees, struggling with communication, claims, language barriers, and cost of treatment. For the company, consequences include increased absence rates, reduced productivity, and failed assignments.
Poorly managed global benefits can be overly complex and time-consuming to administer. There could be regulatory and legal breaches, and the company may fail to be seen as an employer of choice (one that recognises diversity, equality and inclusion as an important part of the modern workplace). All of which can also result in the spend on global employee benefits being too high or unknown.
A well thought-out, comprehensive approach will align local execution with the global business strategy. This includes making sure that the resultant benefits package adheres to the rules and regulations of every country of operation.
The priorities for a global employee benefits programme fall into three main categories:
Complexity risks – linked to local restrictions, and related knowledge gaps. Each country will have its own obligations and mandatory regulations and some countries even have restrictions on employee benefits from outside countries. So employers need specialist in-country expertise and advice on how to deliver appropriate and compliant health and wellbeing benefits.
People risks – Attitudes to employee benefits vary in different regions, and this might affect what support employers put in place and how they communicate it. The most common issues that affect overseas employees are relationships, stress, and anxiety, but also money management, housing, and legal concerns. Access to support needs to encompass all these areas, and in some countries, kidnap and ransom and security evacuation may also be a consideration.
Financial risks – Employers need to ensure they offer the right benefits package to help recruit and retain talent. Poor health and wellbeing support can result in poor morale, low engagement, and reduced productivity, resulting in lower profits for the business. But trying to match the benefits across different countries may mean employers are either over- or under-providing.
Sarah Dennis, head of international at Towergate Health & Protection says, “There isn’t always a one size fits all approach. To achieve harmonisation of global employee benefit provisions for all employees requires a deep understanding of insurance, regulatory, cultural, and economic characteristics in each market.”
Global Benefits Management
Global Benefits Management (GBM) provides integrated consulting services and dedicated support on a global, regional, and local level, with experts working with in-country partners within agreed service levels. This approach helps to remove the administration burden, solves language barrier issues, and provides governance, benchmarking and cost controls. Multinational pooling can reduce costs, and reporting, analytics, and data management can all be included. All resulting in improved attraction and retention of talent.
A Global Benefits Management programme will support the business and its employees through the complexities of global risk benefits. It will engage with local partners to source an all-round global benefits solution, helping the employer to adhere to multiple sets of legislative and mandatory requirements, developing a communication channel involving all key stakeholders, and keeping up with current events and trends.
Sarah Dennis says: “Providing employee benefits across multiple countries and regions should not be a burden on the company. It should be a positive experience for all involved. Taking expert advice is the best way to remove the complexities of the process and employers will find that this can really pay-off.”