Multinational benefits & global programmes
Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing can support your business and people domestically and internationally. As part of the Howden Group Holdings, we’re a leading multinational organisation with a truly global client base.
Global specialists, local relationships and expert knowledge is easy to say, but the one key ingredient that truly makes us different is our people. Across our network of international offices and partners (within our own Howden One network), we are able to support clients in over 90 territories. Our international network has the experience and local know-how to support your ambitions, wherever your business takes you.
We are ambitious for our clients, our business, and ourselves. Our ‘People First’ value means fostering an environment where people feel empowered and have fun. In a culture where effort is rewarded and meritocracy is embraced, we are able to attract the top talent and the right people, which leads to the best solutions for our clients.
Over the years we’ve built strong relationships with the leading international insurers, mobility experts, benefit and compensation professionals, HR and finance teams all over the world.
Whether you are looking to create or revamp a multinational programme or something specifically to cover any expat workers you are sending on an assignment, we are able to tailor programmes that are appropriate, compliant and cost effective.
How will you approach your global programme?
Planning and rolling out a global benefits strategy isn’t easy, and especially one that’s both measureable and flexible enough to work in the real world.
A specialist benefits and wellbeing consultant can help you bring together a strategy that reflects your corporate values and culture.
There are three common ways to approach a global programme:
Treat every country the same – the common approach
This approach supports a multinational brand, cross-border employee movement and ensures a similar Employee Value Proposition is in place. However, it can be very expensive, and benefits may not be deemed appropriate or necessary in certain countries.
Be competitive, locally – the local approach
By adopting this approach, benefits are designed locally to match ‘market expectations’ in local countries. This is advantageous in that benefits match local market needs and it’s often cost effective. However designing locally, means taking a country by country approach so inevitably staff will be treated differently and therefore this option may lack consistency.
There is a third way - local approach with minimum benefits
A similar approach to this is a local approach with minimum benefits. This means benefits match local needs but a minimum benefit provides a global approach. This is the most expensive option of all three. Despite having minimum benefits, staff will be treated differently around the globe.
The majority of employers adopt a locally appropriate policy based on set criteria such as market norms in their sector, benchmarking benefits and any minimum leave they wish to apply.
Regardless of which approach is chosen, there are numerous factors to consider.
Making benefits work on global scale
We naturally understand that multinational companies face numerous challenges when offering benefits in diverse environments and cultures.
Wellbeing – Wellbeing can encompass different dimensions: Physical, Emotional, Social, Financial, Environmental, Vocational, Financial and Intellectual. Each dimension may mean different things in different countries and each country and region will have their own attitudes and issues so inevitably designing a benefits strategy is challenging.
Legal – Each country has their own unique regulatory and legal structures which can be a minefield to understand.
Global minimum standards – These will differ from country to country. For example, whilst it’s the norm in the UK to have typically 25 days holiday, each country will offer different levels of annual paid time off.
Culture – Understanding cultural differences and embracing diversity is at the heart of a Global Benefit Manager and their team’s role.
Taxation – This is yet another factor that differs from country to country. In the UK medical insurance premiumsare taxable whereas this is not the case worldwide.
Building a Multinational Benefits strategy
When designing and building your multinational benefits strategy, it is crucial to consider the aims and goals you are looking to achieve.
The workforce is changing, so should the wider benefits being offered to ensure they work effectively, and importantly take into account the wider Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) policies of the organisation. By incorporating D&I in the wider “employee” offering, the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) will become more focussed, meeting requirements (of the user) and therefore more effective – the ultimate return on investment (ROI) can then be measured on a regular basis.
It is no longer just a HR conversation but a key ‘People Risk’ challenge, impacting:
- The cost of absence
- E&Os and wider legal exposures
- Reputational risk
- Employers' liability
Employers are looking to their employee benefit package and asking ‘how can this effectively support the business strategies in mitigating these risks’?
Our approach as an independent consulting firm is to take a balanced approach on finding solutions for our clients, utilising our experience and knowledge of the market, consideration of regulatory/legislative updates and also what the insurer is willing to do. We then use our expertise to educate businesses on what they require. We know that designing benefits to appeal to multigenerational workforces need to be flexible.
With the global war for talent, employers are facing very tough labour markets to recruit high-calibre people; coupled with a reducing pool of younger employees due to birth rates decreasing, older employees remaining employed and five generations in the workforce for the first time. The EVP has become a key area businesses are focusing on, never before has this been so important.
One of the key advantages of working with us is that we have a global footprint which includes a mix of owned offices and key partners through our own International Network, and wider networks we use. All our partners collectively deliver one set of standards ensuring a consistent way of dealing with our clients.
Whether you are a multinational employer or small business, you have the ability to tap in to over 15,000 professionals across more than 90 territories. We really can support you and provide the right Risk Management solution for your needs.
We can help you understand the sanctions that exist in many countries and keep on top of ever changing legislations. Once a multinational benefits strategy is in place it’s vital to ensure this is regularly monitored and measured, so that it continues to remain flexible and delivers appropriate and effective solutions to your business.
We work closely with our in-house technology team who specialise in helping companies understand and interpret their employee data. They use data analytics to help companies develop wellbeing dashboards that allow them to monitor the impact of their employee wellbeing programmes, run reports and predict future requirements and create more robust wellbeing strategies.
Data Analytics is key to our business. As such, we have a specialist Data Analytics team who supports employers by understanding and interpreting their data. It isn't just about benefits and pensions - we go beyond this.
Our team use Data Analytics to design wellbeing dashboards enabling you to monitor the impact of any sort of programme or output you are looking for - we can run reports and predict future requirements, claims modelling, likely premiums, Gender Pay Gap reporting, Mental Health concerns - all aimed at working with you to establish robust strategies, and providing data-driven evidence and solutions.
We can help you on topics ranging from:
- Culture training
- Health screening
- Benefit reviews
- Access to employee assistance programmes and communications
As Risk Management specialists we work with employers to mitigate their business and people risks. Our work helps shape and define an employer's multinational benefits strategy, keeping it fresh, evolving and fit for purpose - taking in to account legislative and regulatory changes, cultural differences, the changing workforce and of course external factors impacting us not only domestically, but internationally. Howden’s recruitment strategy is based on attracting and empowering the best entrepreneurial talent, delivering high quality local teams who build solutions around our clients’ best interests.
We are specialists, not generalists. Our leadership teams in the countries in which we operate are all experienced practitioners who are actively involved in working with our clients.
We're here to help
Adam J Riley - Director of Global Sales
Adam is a Senior Global Benefits and Legal Sector expert with over 20 years’ experience. He specialises in UK domestic employers, cross-border transactions and working with multinational organisations.