Employee benefits | Top tips to design a consistent global benefits strategy

Top tips to design a consistent global benefits strategy

Expanding internationally is an exciting step for your business; it’s a statement of your success and your desire to continue growing. However, without thinking about how to implement an employee benefits strategy that is consistent with your business values, across all of your locations, the success of your overseas operation could come under threat.

In this article, NFP’s global employee benefits team share their top tips on how you can achieve a level of consistency within your business’ international employee benefits strategy, and how this can help to build a culture of belonging among your people no matter where they are in the world.

1. Create some core values to stand by, regardless of location

When it comes to your international benefits approach, we suggest having an overriding philosophy as well as several key principles. Ultimately, your capabilities may be limited by local rules, regulations, norms and access to solutions, but you can still create some core values to stand by regardless of location, such as:

  • “We support the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of our people”

  • “We protect the families of our people”

  • We invest in our people’s financial futures”

  • “We ensure our people are provided with benefits that meet the benchmark of the top 50%/25%/10% of local employers, wherever we operate”

The values above can be whatever you want them to be and can really help you build a picture of what you want your company to be known for, both internally and externally. It’s these clear statements that can improve the employee experience and help you recruit and retain the best talent, no matter where in the world your people are based. According to research from Gartner, “Organizations that effectively improve the employee experience can decrease annual employee turnover by just under 70% and increase new hire commitment by nearly 30%”. 

By creating a consistent employee benefits strategy for your people, no matter where they’re based, you can ensure:

  • Everyone across each location is equally valued, treated fairly and feels motivated as part of the same mission

  • You attract likeminded people that embody your business and its values

  • Your business identity is clear across the globe, internally and externally

  • You are known as a company that stands by its values wherever it operates in the world, increasing authenticity and trustworthiness

2. Offering the minimum vs offering market-leading benefits

Firstly, it’s important to note that your budget will of course play a huge part in determining which benefits you can offer internationally.

Benchmarking and networking with peers can be a good measure of how an employer’s global benefits strategy shapes up in the market, allowing you to offer a starting point from which you’re able to develop further. At the very least, you should be looking for the legal minimum to make sure your offering is legally compliant, then beyond that, ask yourself questions like, “What is the norm?”, “What do the majority offer?” and “What sort of organization are you and how can your benefits offering reinforce this?”.

3. Even the most ‘standard’ benefits can differ from country to country

Although it sounds easy to think of these global philosophies to support the wellbeing of your people, the challenges appear when you start looking at things on a granular level:

Life cover

Philosophy statement: “We will provide all our people around the globe with at least three-times salary life cover.”

Challenge: Although norms can be four or even five-times in some parts of the world, in certain parts of the Europe, for example, it can be very difficult to implement three-times salary life cover.

Pension and retirement

Pensions and retirement can look very different from country to country, and although it may have a different title, many nations offer retirement programs in some form. In France, for example, it fundamentally has the state system, while in the UK it is standard to also pay into private plans. In parts of the Middle East where there is very little tax, pension and retirement benefits are not the cultural norm, with employers instead usually offering termination indemnities instead of a workplace saving plan.

Medical

With medical, you might say, “everyone will need cover, but do we leave it to each country to make its own arrangements?”. Or, do you say, “we’ll do it ourselves at a central level”? These are the types of conversations a specialist employee benefits partner can have with you through the process of benchmarking and ongoing consulting.

4. The value of an external partner

In scenarios like this, your business can really benefit from external consultants and partners. That’s the challenge from an international point of view; basing your strategy on principles that can be consistent from location to location, even if the benefits themselves may not look exactly the same.

NFP’s guide to international benefits

If you run an international business, we understand how challenging it can be to manage the employee benefits strategy in all your locations; from navigating legal and tax legislation to understanding local cultures, creating compliant and competitive benefits packages in multiple countries is no easy task.

In our latest guide, our global benefits specialists outline how you can help your business thrive internationally, implement new benefits and, importantly, ensure they remain fit for purpose. You will learn:

  • What to consider when designing your global benefits strategy

  • How to identify the right benefits and provider(s) to deliver them in all your locations

  • How to efficiently administer and run your global benefits program

  • How to review and maintain oversight of your strategy

Get the Guide


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NFP is a leading property and casualty broker, benefits consultant, wealth manager, and retirement plan advisor. We enable client success through specialized expertise, innovative technologies, and enduring relationships with highly rated insurers, vendors and financial institutions across the globe.

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