MetLife Inc. recently produced a report on global employee benefits, titled Employee Benefits Generating Business Impact: Global Insights from MetLife’s Employee Benefit Trends Studies. In the study, MetLife uncovered that many companies find recruiting and hiring the right talent to be one of their biggest challenges. Despite the challenges, MetLife found that companies can overcome this obstacle by offering a comprehensive benefits package to its current and potential employees. The right international benefits plan can help companies attract top candidates in any market, even in the midst of a global talent shortage. Before a company can begin implementing an attractive international benefits program, it is important to learn the importance and best practices of putting a program in place.
How Important are International Benefits?
Employees across the world put a lot of emphasis on the benefits offered by potential employers. In the MetLife study mentioned above, it was found that 58% of employees in China, 57% of employees in the UK, 53% of employees in the UAE, and 51% of employees in India cited improved benefits as a key reason to stay with their current employer.
While the desire for great benefits is universal, every culture has different opinions in regards to what employers are required and expected to offer employees. In India, for example, many employers offer free lunch to their employees as a voluntary benefit. Companies in Mexico are trending toward a suite of holistic benefits such as voluntary health programs and pet insurance programs. Wellness is also an important benefit in Australia, where companies are focusing on areas that accelerate recovery after an illness and focus on bettering “mind, body, and spirit.”
On the other hand, employees in the UK seem more concerned with retirement savings than they do about other supplemental benefits options. With low-interest rates in Europe and the UK, many employees worry that their savings is growing too slowly, and they fear increased taxes when they draw their pension.
The value employees place on different benefits varies from country to country. Before entering a new market, a company needs to learn the international benefits expectations present in the country or countries it plans to expand into.
Communicating Benefits to Recruit and Retain
Having a great international benefits package doesn’t help if the employees a company wants to attract are unaware of its offerings. Communication is key to leveraging a great benefits package in order to improve recruiting practices and increase employee loyalty. Many of the businesses surveyed by MetLife study stated that their benefits education initiatives didn’t help their benefits plan offering resonate with their employees’ needs and interests. In another survey done by Benefits Pro, 43% of benefits managers cited communicating the value of their benefits as a major problem within their organization.
Excellent communication and education about benefits improves loyalty and retention in a company. As companies build a plan for offering international benefits to their global workforce, it is important to determine the way in which the company will inform candidates and employees of its benefits package.
International Benefits and Compliance
Compliance can be a major challenge for international companies, especially when determining which international benefits to offer. Jack Craver reports that many companies struggle to determine which benefits will translate from a local context to an international one. In the report, 47% of respondents cited “difficulty in scaling a local benefits solution for multiple markets” as a major challenge.
Local labor laws and required benefits vary from country to country, which can further complicate matters. In countries with socialized medicine, private health insurance isn’t nearly as important to employees as other benefits. In addition, some countries mandate more paid time off than others. Additionally, international benefits become even more difficult to comprehend when taking payroll costs into consideration. With differences in social security payments, currency exchange rates, and more, it can be complicated for a company to manage an international benefits package.
International PEO Can Help with International Benefits
When implementing an international benefits plan, companies can simplify the process by utilizing an International PEO (Professional Employer Organization). This global employment solution helps companies outsource many management tasks including benefits, for their international team members. An experienced International PEO gives companies access to the expertise they need to navigate all aspects of their international benefits package.
The in-country experience offered through an International PEO can help an organization understand what benefits will appeal the most to their employees. These organizations have experience working with international employees and can help companies deliver the right benefits to the right people in any country.
Benefits are one of the best ways for companies to show their employees they care. When employers give employees the benefits they expect, employees respond with loyalty and productivity. The challenge for international companies is providing a benefits package that works for everyone, no matter what country they are located in.
When going global, offering the right international benefits can help companies attract the best possible candidates. Reach out to the experts at Velocity Global today to learn how our International PEO solution can help you provide the right benefits to employees in over 185 countries.