The Secret to Managing Global Benefits

Chris Bruce, Thomsons Online BenefitsScience Tech2018 03 08
The Secret to Managing Global Benefits
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As the workforce evolves and the workplace decentralizes, the need for a global, digitized approach to benefits has never been greater. Through our Global Employee Benefits Watch research, we’ve tracked how organizations have developed their approaches to managing global benefits year-on-year. We found that there are clear advantages to devising, articulating and rolling out a globally consistent strategy underpinned by streamlined processes, systems and technology.

This approach can help organizations see an increase in operational efficiency — with far fewer administrative errors and a major reduction in overcharges.

Embrace a Lean Model for Global Benefits Management

Organizations are building very different organizational ecosystems and networks than those we’ve seen historically. There has been a major increase in the number of organizations with an HR shared service (HRSS) model in place — in fact, the number of organizations adopting this approach has doubled in just one year. Our research found that when organizations implement both an HR shared service center and a tech solution to run their benefits programs, they were more likely to achieve success in their HR objectives.
This combination is allowing benefits teams to be much leaner, reducing the administration burden on HR teams by at least 30 percent while still delivering a positive employee experience. Wider HR studies confirm a continued rise in the use of HRSS centers: Moving support functions to shared services has been identified as the biggest area of change planned by organizations over the next two years, according to Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Study 2017.

The advantages of this streamlined approach to HR administration are particularly significant for global benefits programs. This model allows HR and benefits programs to support each other, saving time and money and increasing responsiveness to change along the way. Organizations adopting this approach also see at least one less negative impact to their business, including missing legislative updates, errors in reporting and vendor overcharging.

Implement Technology Consistently

As the move towards HRSS models and benefits technology increases, so does the adoption of a global approach to benefits management. Given the complexity and diversity of benefits around the world, they have traditionally been considered difficult to manage globally. As a result, they are now the last wave of the HR digital revolution. Still, we know that organizations that have had a global benefits strategy in place for more than three years are four times more likely to have globally implemented HR shared services.

This illustrates the reinforcing power of having a global benefits strategy and the HR infrastructure to deliver it. An HRSS model provides the most efficient and practical way to deliver the value employers need from their benefits with a global scope.

Businesses cannot afford to continue processing benefits manually while digitizing the rest of HR, neglecting the savings and employee engagement opportunities that technology offers. As more companies embrace this change, those who do not are falling behind.

Adopt the Blueprint Globally

This approach provides the data needed to ensure full control and measurement of benefits programs globally and also delivers a great employee experience. Global consistency of use is the common factor in achieving success.

We refer to this approach as the blueprint for success. The combination of an aligned global strategy, lean HR practices and the use of benefits-management software globally to underpin it all leads to measurable gains in efficiency and reduction of risk. Organizations adopting the blueprint are having significant success, and 100 percent say that they were effective or very effective in meeting their objectives.

Not all elements of the blueprint need to be adopted for either immediate or long-term success. But the right combination of these elements for any multinational organization will prove to be a big improvement in the two major success areas for global HR and benefits teams: much higher global employee engagement scores and demonstrably better administration and management of benefits.

This content was provided by one of our UNLEASH sponsors.

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