Your organization might be expanding to different regions, or you may have an influx of remote teams working around the world. Regardless of your company's situation, one pain point for many multinational companies is finding a way to equitably execute global benefits while complying with local regulations, laws, and cultures.
After establishing an international compensation policy, the next thing any growing organization should do is lay the foundations for an extensive global benefits strategy program that meets the needs of both employees and the organization. This is essential for your organization to attract and retain employees worldwide, with 57% of global employers reporting that it is a high priority to offer comparable benefits across countries.
Here we delve into why global benefits are important, the current trends in employee benefits you need to know, and how to implement them into your wider strategy.
What are global benefits?
Like a domestic employee benefits package, global benefits are any combination of non-wage payments provided to employees. These are usually part of an overall compensation package that include mandatory benefits as well as voluntary benefits including healthcare, dental insurance, flexible work arrangements, stipends, bonuses, fertility reimbursements, financial wellness programs, and more. For companies establishing or expanding a global workforce, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work since each country has different cultural values.
For example, many Eastern European countries require employers to pay into a pension fund. China limits the amount of overtime employees are legally allowed to work—less than five hours per week. These differences between the U.S. and international employee regulations mean your organization must broaden its perspective on what constitutes a “good” benefits package.
At a macro level, global benefits may include some of the following:
- Supplemental health insurance: 72 countries provide national health insurance, so employers may opt for supplemental private insurance as a benefit which can contribute to additional healthcare costs or provide better care.
- Paid time off: U.S. workers do not have federally mandated leave, but many countries like the UK, France, and Canada have both paid vacation leave and sick leave; additional paid time off may be an added benefit.
- Parental and maternity leave: Government-mandated maternity leave ranges from 28 weeks in the Czech Republic to Chile, where leave begins several weeks before the due date. Some companies offer additional extended or paid parental leave beyond what is federally mandated.
- Physical and mental health benefits: From wellness initiatives to gym memberships and access to employee assistance programs, holistic health care can alleviate employee stress, create a better work-life balance, and bolster productivity.
- Retirement benefits: Most employers are required to match or contribute a percentage of an employee's gross wages to their retirement plan.
- Life insurance: A non-mandatory benefit that is often adopted by employers to provide comprehensive coverage to an employee's family and dependents in the event of their death.
Current trends in employee benefits your company needs to succeed in 2024
1. Flexibility in global benefits
Flexibility is the name of the game, especially in high-demand fields where your organization will compete with other companies for top talent. And with many organizations offering similar, if not the same, benefit programs, it's vital to embed flexibility into your global benefits strategy.
In fact, a recent study found that 69% of respondents were exploring or implementing more flexible benefits packages. Unlike traditional employee benefits, personalized benefits provide care for employees based on their unique needs—taking a “one-size-fits-one” approach to care.
By offering benefits that are personalized to individual employees, companies can see an increased uptake rate and improved ROI. This includes digital health and well being programs such as Maven's global benefits platform that supports employees along their entire reproductive health journey.
2. An emphasis on health and wellness
Employers want to provide a customized experience in health and well being, inclusive of mental and physical health. A Willis Towers Watson survey found that 86% of companies prioritized health and wellness for their current and future benefits strategy, and recent research by Calm Business found that 67% of employees want support from their employer for mental health issues including stress and anxiety.
3. Family friendly benefits
One of the most prominent employee benefits trends that crosses physical and cultural lines is the need for comprehensive family planning and health benefits. In a recent report, 75% of employers say that reproductive and family benefits are important for retaining employees.
4. Technology bridging the gap in benefits
Advancements in health tech opened the door for employers to facilitate a number of exciting benefits offered, such as digital health. Since the pandemic, telehealth usage has remained 38 times greater than pre-COVID-19 levels, and more employers are taking advantage.
Virtual benefits such as on-demand primary care, virtual mental health support, and at-home testing are convenient and widen the access to healthcare services for employees, regardless of location. If companies plan to transition employees back into the office, virtual care can support this shift as well. 60% of employees say that access to virtual healthcare makes it easier for them to work in-person.
5. Emphasis on DEI in employee benefits
The majority of global employers provide some type of coverage for family planning coverage, and smaller companies are catching up. These enhanced financial and emotional support benefits are also essential for LGBTQIA+ employees who may rely on adoption, surrogacy, and reproductive assistive technology to grow their families.
Why offer global benefits?
HR teams must comply with mandates and local labor laws to provide statutory employee benefits to their global workers. Not doing so can result in fines, legal fees ,and disruption to the business.
But beyond the statutory requirements, a comprehensive benefits package can help both your people and your company on a global scale.
Enhanced employee engagement in company culture
A comprehensive global benefits program can help maintain happy and engaged employees. Employee engagement is one of the leading indicators of productivity and revenue, with highly engaged teams resulting in a workforce that's 21% more profitable.
Improve employee satisfaction and loyalty
Studies by American Psychological Association show that almost all employees who feel valued at work are much more likely be satisfied at work, with better physical and mental health as a result. Those who don't feel valued are more likely to look for a new role.
This is especially important for companies with employees based remotely or in locations away from their home base. In a Pew Research study, 49% of employees who said they were “highly satisfied” with their jobs pointed to benefits as one of the main reasons.
Produce lower turnover rates
Employee turnover can be costly and time-consuming, with some estimates as high as 1.5 times an employee's annual salary to replace them. Comprehensive benefits can be a great tool for employee retention–in one study, 57% of employees say they've considered changing jobs because another job offered better reproductive and family health benefits.
Improve employees' health and work-life balance
There's a considerable link between the physical and mental health of an employee and business performance. An employee's overall wellbeing affects their productivity, number of sick days taken, and chances of staying in their role—and it's costly for the organization. According to Gallup, a global cost of $322 billion in lost productivity and turnover is due to employee burnout, while 75% of medical costs are mostly linked to preventable conditions.
With supplemental plans that support an employee's overall well being, organizations can dramatically improve the health of their global workforce, saving money in the process.
Help to attract and retain top talent
Entering an international job market poses several challenges for recruiters–you are competing with both local and other multinational organizations for the same talent pool. You may also be at a disadvantage if your organization is not a well-known brand in that region. But providing comprehensive and progressive benefits can aid retention efforts by putting you one step ahead of competitors and is a strategic response to the struggle to fill vacancies in a competitive job market.
More and more employees consider an organization's benefits package when accepting a new role. For some, they're even more important than an employee's salary. 89% of millennials rank supplemental benefits to be more important than pay, while 57% of employees would seek a new role for certain benefits.
Types of global employee benefits packages
Before we look at the different types of global benefits, first we must understand what's required by law.
Statutory benefits are those which are legally mandated by government. These will depend on the country in which you operate but often include health insurance, retirement benefits, leave and sick days, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, and pension contributions.
Supplemental or fringe benefits are optional policies and programs on top of what's required by local employment laws. While non-compulsory, a comprehensive benefits package is an effective strategy which can boost employee productivity and help to attract and retain global talent. This can include more comprehensive coverage for statutory benefits but also additional perks including flexible working arrangements, mental health benefits, mentorship programs, meal vouchers, and more.
The sheer number of global benefits available to your employees can be daunting. Below are emerging trends that attract top talent and are consistently present in companies earmarked as great workplaces.
Supplemental employee benefits trends
1 in 6 people are affected by infertility globally, whilst the number of same-sex families and LGBTQIA+ individuals who intend to grow their family through fertility, adoption, or surrogacy has reached 67%.
Fertility and surrogacy benefits packages help global talent on the path to parenthood through clinical, emotional, and financial support. And with one in three employees wanting additional family-building support, it's crucial that employers step up.
Maven's recent report found that 63% of employers plan to expand their fertility benefits in the next two to three years. Companies are increasingly open to offering preconception care and support for fertility treatments, including virtual counseling, testing, access to a network of vetted fertility clinics, and more.
Maternity and parenting benefits
If you have employees who are working parents or are looking to expand their families, maternity and parenting benefits that go beyond statutory benefits are essential. These benefits packages can include on-demand access to virtual specialists and counselors for supplemental support between in-person appointments, clinically-vetted content, and other educational assets for expecting parents during pregnancy and after birth. Additionally, career and finance coaching, virtual support groups, and parenting education can help new parents as they transition back to the workforce.
Menopause and reproductive health benefits
1 in 5 U.S. employees are experiencing the menopause, and nearly 20% are considering or have quit their job due to symptoms that affect their mental, cognitive and physical health. Yet despite this, menopause—any other areas of reproductive health—are rarely discussed or supported in the workplace.
Many employees experiencing menopause need additional accommodations, and menopause benefits at work can help you better support for these employees during this life change. Going above and beyond for these employees could look like flexible working schedules, on-demand and clinically-vetted educational materials, and access to mental health support.
Other relevant supplemental benefits
Aside from family planning and parenting benefits, you may also consider additional employee benefits programs including:
- Health and well being initiatives including access to mental health professionals, a fitness/gym stipend, access to mediation apps, gym reimbursements, and more.
- Enhanced flexibility that support a better work life balance, particularly for parents or carers such as flexible hours and remote working.
- Financial benefits that can help employees with the cost of living such as meal vouchers, discounts, life insurance, student finance support, and more.
- Improved mandatory benefits packages including extended parental leave, increased vacation days, and pension contributions.
- Education and professional development opportunities such as enhanced training and mentorship programs which can enhance an employee's skillset and career development.
How global employee benefits differ by country
One major challenge for global companies looking to execute a global benefits strategy is understanding the differences between multiple countries. If your program doesn't comply with the country's laws, regulations, and culture, it won't be successful.
For example, the U.K. has nationalized health insurance and statutory benefits such as employer-provided pensions, government-mandated maternity, paternity, sick leave, and holiday pay. These benefits may not be progressive for U.K.-based employees. Companies must look into supplemental benefits to boost talent acquisition and retention efforts.
One such benefit is family planning, like fertility assistance, which isn't as prevalent in the U.K. A recent report shows that only 37% of global companies offer fertility support for men and women. Expanded wellness benefits are also an attractive option in regions where statutory benefits differ from the U.S.
Delivering global employee benefits effectively
To successfully administer benefits for your global teams across multiple countries, it's vital to implement a global benefits strategy. This will entail the benefits employees will receive, local employment laws for each region and how they will be implemented, measured and reviewed.
Remote work and global employees: The need for global employee benefits
There has been an exponential increase in remote employees. According to recent research, over 55% of U.S. employers offer 100% remote work arrangements. When you have international teams who work outside of the country, it automatically broadens the scope of your workforce.
Depending on the number of employees or how long they plan to work in a specific county, you may have to comply with local laws and regulations in those countries. As your organization's international footprint expands, there are unique challenges to consider:
- Ensuring that your global benefits packages comply with local laws and regulations for employees
- Creating a seamless experience across multiple countries and regions
- Implementing global benefits that represent your company values and meet the demands of your workers
- Streamlining benefits management processes and keeping costs at a sustainable level
These are not only challenges for multinational organizations; any organization might face these issues, regardless of size. The difficulty stems from maintaining corporate company culture and employee satisfaction across different countries and cultures.
Selecting the right global benefits strategy
The first step is to assess the current status of your global benefits programs. What policies and initiatives are active? Which are most utilized by international employees? Are all mandatory benefits being implemented and which regions, if any, are missing out on fringe benefits that are successful in other markets?
Each region in your company will have cultural differences that must be considered. Create curated local plans for each global team that pinpoint the benefits that will be of most value. What's expected in one country may not make sense in another, such as paid maternity leave and paid vacation. You can also partner with benefits vendors that are equipped to offer personalized, culturally-appropriate care in countries around the world.
Employees should also be involved in the selection process. Consider surveys and focus groups that provide valuable insights into what initiatives are in demand. Your finalized global benefits strategy should ultimately represent your company values. A family-friendly organization will be expected to provide fertility and parenting benefits while one who prides themselves on empowering employees to thrive at home and in their career will likely focus on benefits that inspire a better work-life balance.
Implementation that guarantees uptake
Once your global benefits strategy has been chosen, communication becomes key to success. If employees are unaware of the global benefits strategy, they will be unlikely to reap the rewards, stopping your business from seeing end results.
Communicate the individual benefits company-wide, encouraging employees to take full advantage. And ensure your chosen benefits providers are well equipped in dealing with user queries and educating employees to navigate the platform.
Future-proofing your global benefits strategy
Like any business strategy, your global benefits program should be measured and analyzed at regular intervals to ensure it is producing results as desired.
For example, if a key objective was improve retention, analyzing turnover rates and conducting exit interviews will be critical in measuring the impact of the new strategy.
A global employee benefits package will also need to be reviewed to ensure it remains fit for purpose. As we've seen over the last few years, workplace trends can rapidly change, even within one region. Mental health became a top concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, while remote working has ebbed and flowed in demand over the past few years. Routinely consulting employees and analyzing such trends will help to ensure your global employee benefits strategy remains effective for years to come.
How can Maven support your global benefits strategy?
Employee benefits are as important as salary for global employees—if not more—and your global recruitment and retention strategy should reflect that. A comprehensive global benefits program profoundly impacts employee development, engagement, retention, satisfaction and loyalty–all of which affect your business' bottom line and result in cost savings over time. Adopting a progressive and inclusive approach to employee benefits signifies investing in your people and community.
If you are expanding to a new market or looking to create a better employee experience for all your employees, Maven Clinic, the leading women's and family healthcare company, can be a valuable partner as you expand your global family and reproductive health employee benefits.
Our digital platform is a global solution connecting your people to resources they need as they start and raise their families. From fertility and family building support to maternity, parenting and menopause, each of our programs provides mental, physical and financial support that can be tailored to each of your employees. On-demand access to specialists and round-the-clock care helps those across different journeys to navigate every aspect of their personal life.
To find out how Maven can help support and enhance your company's global benefits package, get in touch today.
Ready to get started with Maven?
See how Maven can support working families, retain talent, and reduce costs
Activate your Maven account today
Maven members have unlimited access to 24/7 care and 30+ types of providers. Check to see if you have access to Maven providers and resources today.Explore Maven