Managing Global Benefits Employer-Sharing Discussion: November 9, 2022

Business Group on Health held the last call of 2022 for employer members to network on the most pressing issues impacting their workforces around the world. This call addressed global caregiving benefits, global benefits inventories, employee engagement and a number of country-specific benefits.

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December 16, 2022

Caregiving Benefits Around the World

While few employers participating in the conversation planned to implement a global communications campaign in recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, caregiving benefits and supports for employees who are caregivers continue to be major priorities.

  • For many multinational employers on the call, caregiving benefits are most developed in the U.S thus far. However, many hope to use their U.S. benefits as a model for eventually expanding caregiving offerings globally.
  • Some companies are taking advantage of pandemic-era increases in flexibility and the advent of hybrid work to implement flexible work models, allowing employees more choice and options to fit caregiving needs into their work schedules. For some companies, this has come with a culture shift; companies now recognize the need for flexibility for all employees, though this may look different for different employees depending on their job responsibilities.
  • Common caregiving benefits include:
    • Caregiving leave;
    • Backup childcare;
    • Concierge caregiver programs;
    • Flexible work arrangements; and
    • Virtual tutoring.

Global Benefits Inventory

A poll found that 92% of companies have already conducted a global benefits inventory or plan to do so in the future. The purpose of the inventory is to determine which benefits and programs are in place at the regional and local levels and where gaps exist. Many employers hope the inventory will set them up for greater success in their global consistency work.

  • A number of employers have utilized their global broker partners to conduct such an inventory. One member noted that the process has given them more insight into the unique roles of brokers vs. consultants in the process, as they had been asking brokers questions that were better suited to consultants and vice versa.
  • Employers expressed a greater need for vendor solutions in creating global inventories that meet their specific requirements. In the absence of such solutions, many companies have resorted to creating large spreadsheets that require manual updates.
  • One employer shared a lesson learned after utilizing a vendor solution: Make sure to clearly define which benefits and what level of detail need to be included in the dashboard. Additionally, employers should train teams to update the dashboard and follow up to make sure that updates are continuing to be made.

Employee Engagement

As growing concerns about a potential impending recession continue to weigh on employers’ shoulders, it is more important than ever for benefit leaders to focus on increasing awareness of existing benefits programs in an effort to boost utilization.

Many employers have expanded benefits communication campaigns, including initiatives such as:

  • Sending monthly benefits newsletters;
  • Utilizing employee resource groups (ERGs);
  • Surveying employees on their satisfaction with benefit and engagement programs;
  • Developing internal social media channels focused on benefits and perks;
  • Utilizing well-being platforms to align communications globally; and
  • Creating regional benefit intranet websites. One company worked with a graphic design vendor to create regional websites with a unified brand and feel. The company plans to use these websites to recruit talent.

Country-Specific Benefits

The conversation also served to answer questions specific to country benefits, from vouchers and gym benefits in Spain to car allowances in Argentina.

  • Vouchers and Gym Benefits in Spain
    • One company has implemented a global exercise reimbursement program, which covers equipment and digital programs. Additionally, all physical work locations have on-site fitness centers.
    • Lunch vouchers appear to depend on location and local needs.
    • Some employers are looking to potentially implement fitness class options like Gympass and Classpass in Spain after seeing success in other regions.
  • Car Allowances in Argentina
    • Due to inflation, employers are concerned about the financial impact of car allowances and kilometer reimbursement in many countries, including Argentina.
    • Some employers are hearing from employees in Argentina that they do not want to drive due to rising fuel prices. It is clear that employers have not yet identified a solution to this growing issue.

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