What to think about when taking a global approach to benefits

There’s been massive globalization in the use of tech in HR, says Chris Wakely, executive vice president of Benify. And in the benefits realm, that’s no exception.

“Giving our employees a digital experience is no longer a nice to have; it’s a must have,” he said Thursday during a session at HRE’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition. “It’s all about making sure everybody understands our total value proposition—what is it we are offering people? All this information tends to sit in loads of different places. This is an opportunity to put it all in one place.”

HR technology can help global organizations—which have the challenge of administering benefits across multiple countries, multiple time zones and even multiple languages—create an exceptional benefits and rewards experience for employees while reducing benefits administration, automating processes and radically improving the communication of their employee value proposition, he said. But there are some things to watch out for when taking a global approach to benefits communication and technology.

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“If you want a level of localization to be able to deliver to the local market, the cloud HCM system typically won’t allow you to get that level of localization required. It doesn’t necessarily have the flexibility required to meet those demands,” he said, adding that it has a limited scope for automated administration and limited access for brokers and insurers.

At the same time, it’s much easier to integrate with local functions than it has been in the past, he said.

“When you’re thinking about globalizing things, you have to think about what is it that I’m actually going to compromise on, because there will always be some level of compromise.”

Wakely said HR leaders thinking about a global tech approach to benefits should consider their local vendors, which countries they are in, data they need, providers and insurers’ capability, tax management and simulation in local markets and more. Some questions to ask yourself: Where is it you have complex benefits? Have you harmonized your plans in the various markets? What are the different insurers you use?

One positive of taking a global benefits approach: “Bringing everything you do into one digital place greatly improves people’s perception of all the flexibility you have,” he said. “You don’t need to necessary radically change the benefits you’ve got.”

Wakely also noted that benefits technology—and communication—has become even more important since the pandemic because of the role of benefits in crisis. Most organizations are turning to enhanced benefits and more robust communications to better inform employees about the offerings available to help them navigate through one of the most tumultuous times in history.

“How do we communicate with all our people now?” he said. “People aren’t in the office now. How do we think about wellness, those sorts of things? That’s been a real sea change, because for the first time there’s a board-level agenda item where perhaps it never has been before.”

Related: Why coronavirus is driving the value of employee benefits

“Wellness is no longer an empty word,” he continued. “It’s a critical thing that a lot of organizations are thinking about. And it’s not just health, it’s mental wellbeing, financial wellbeing.”

The HR Tech Conference features free, virtual content through Oct. 30. There is still time to register. For more information, click HERE.

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