July 19, 2022
Data Privacy Challenges in China
- Several employers highlighted challenges they are facing in China due to stringent data privacy requirements. Employers are struggling to identify vendors able to comply with these requirements to provide an equitable benefits experience to employees in the country.
- This poses a particular challenge for employers hoping to bolster their global consistency approach. Companies have a desire for a well-being program to be delivered on a single platform, but no current vendor is able to provide this while complying with the privacy requirements.
- This is resulting in employers delaying launch of global programs in China.
Vendor Management and Sharing
Please note that the Business Group does not endorse vendors; this section is for information purposes only.
- Employers with a global broker are split among three major players: Aon, Mercer Marsh and WTW. Assinta, a broker network, was also mentioned.
- One employer highlighted a recent change in vendors due to a company merger. Since each previous company was using a different vendor, there was a desire to consolidate. However, it’s clear that each vendor has strengths and weaknesses in different markets. This employer, like many others, continues to struggle to find a single solution for a global broker to effectively cover all regions.
- Another company was previously using a global broker but ended the relationship to switch to a localized approach. This employer has kept the previous global broker relationship in some markets but has established relationships with local providers in others. This employer has a global broker coordinator through Sequoia to manage the relationships with all broker vendors without any bias to ensure a consistent approach as well as a hands-on, strong broker in each country.
- Other employers noted pressure from some regions to pursue local vendors and maintain these relationships despite company desires to move to a more globally consistent approach. Depending on structure, flexibility may be needed to deliver the optimal result in each location.
Captive Fronting Networks
- While most employers on the line do not currently have a captive, those with a captive utilize Alllianz, Generali, Maxis and International Group Program (IGP) as their fronting networks.
- Fronting networks serve the role of providing the insurance benefits to employees around the world and ensuring compliance with local requirements.
- Vendors in the occupational health/on-site clinic space included Premise Health and Everside (U.S. only). No company shared that it is using global or regional vendors. One company’s challenge is addressing employee skepticism of the health data collected by their employer and knowing what they are doing with that data.
Global Menopause Guidelines
- Half of employers participating in the conversation are currently offering or considering offering global menopause benefits (Figure 1).
- One company formed an internal menopause working group, and one of the first major objectives is to draft a set of guidelines. The major goals are to educate employees and raise awareness about the impact of menopause on the workplace, as well as to empower employees and managers to break down taboos and provide flexibility where applicable.
- Benefits companies are offering to address menopause include leave, mental health and well-being solutions, flexibility and reviewing workload challenges. Additionally, just checking in with employees has been found to be a low-cost but high-reward solution that can make employees experiencing menopause feel more empowered and supported by their workplace.
- Employers should also be aware of cultural differences and nuance from country to country.
- Vendors highlighted included Maven, Carrot, Elektra and Peppy (U.K.).
- Information from external resources revealed that four employers have publicly announced global menopause guidance:
- Vodafone produced research on menopause in the workplace and has created a policy statement and a toolkit (available in seven languages).
- PwC has identified a number of proactive steps employers can take to support employees.
- Kellogg has expanded its menopause supports to include leave and manager training.
- Diageo’s guidelines, created by an internal working group, include EAP sessions and workplace flexibility.
Global Leave Policy
- Employers are getting feedback from employees around the world about an increased need for caregiving leave due to care for dependent children and older family members taking place simultaneously within the same household or family. This added responsibility also poses a challenge to workload. leading employees to look for additional support.
- Some companies have addressed this concern by establishing a globally consistent approach to leave and determining what the minimum company-wide standard should be.
- In addition to leave, there is an increased demand for support with caregiving services, especially for guidance about access, quality and cost. One company has responded with tax-incentive solutions but has not implemented an additional subsidy yet.
- One employer also noted that it wants to be conscious of the needs of other employees who do not have caregiving obligations; for example, how can the employer ensure that these employees also feel supported and have an equitable experience?
- While some companies have been able to expand parental leave to cover all parents equally regardless of whether they personally give birth or not, this can be a challenge for other employers. One company noted this and highlighted a desire for some sort of global consistency while still addressing individual country statutory requirements and norms.
Benefits Communication Approaches
- One employer participating in the conversation is hoping to establish a more consistent benefits and total rewards communication approach across the globe but is struggling to disseminate information across its many HR systems and platforms.
- One company works with its global broker to set up a single portal with a customized country portal for each company location, populated with relevant country-specific information.
- Other employers use their company intranets and emails to disseminate information on relevant total rewards and benefit offerings.