Top 10 employee benefits for a global workforce
As workforces become more global, HR teams have had to evolve in a lot of ways. One of the biggest is in the way they put together an employee benefits package. After all, it’s a whole lot easier to create a package for 30 employees in the same country, than it is for a globally dispersed workforce.
Now, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to employee benefits. Employees in each country will have their own nuances and needs. However, there are some benefits which you should definitely consider as part of your package.
To find out what these are, read on. And if you want more insight into how you can implement a global employee benefits package — check out our in-depth guide!
This tends to be one of the first benefits employees look for. Health is wealth, and being able to offer some type of cover is crucial. This helps them deal with the costs of treatments and check-ups, as well as including things like dental and vision coverage. Some companies also offer plans that cover family members.
2. Wellbeing support
This is an offshoot of the benefit above. Wellbeing and healthy lifestyle benefits have become super important and in-demand. Many employers are recognising that wellbeing challenges are personal to each employee, and the best thing they can do is offer a suite of tools. Examples include:
- Mental health resources
- Access to workout videos and yoga classes
- Counselling sessions
- Free or discounted gym membership
- Mindfulness apps
3. Shopping discounts
Everybody’s looking for ways to make their money go further, and it’s no surprise that employee discount schemes are so popular. After all, financial wellbeing and navigating the cost of living crisis is very much a global issue.
Employee discount schemes allow people to save money on everything from regular supermarket trips, to large and occasional purchases such as holidays. Generally the savings are available in a variety of ways — from vouchers, to instant e-gift cards, to online codes.
4. Paid time off
This comes in various forms. The obvious one is paid annual leave — this is one of the most important tools to combat things like burnout. Knowing you have a set amount of time where you can take a breather, while not losing out financially, brings huge peace of mind.
(On a related note — check out this stat from our recent research of Gen Z employees:
Almost a fifth of Gen Z employees would accept less money for more time off!)
But there are also other variations on this. One example is a paid day off for birthdays. This is a low-cost, high-impact benefit that allows your employees to relax and enjoy themselves on their special day.
Another one is paid parental leave. Parents appreciate knowing they can still earn money while caring for a newborn or a newly adopted child. Traditionally, companies only looked at mothers and maternity leave, but now it’s a case of thinking more broadly. Companies that offer paid parental leave will have the edge with candidates who are planning to become a parent — either again or for the first time.
5. Long-term savings
We spoke earlier about being able to save money on purchases. But another element of financial wellbeing is being able to put money aside for the future. As you hire more globally, you’ll hear it being called different things — for example a pension, a retirement plan, a superannuation or a 401(k) plan — but the concept is generally the same.
It’s where employers and the employee put money aside each month — money which will eventually be used by the employee in retirement. In some countries, the employee’s contribution is given tax relief, which means they’re also saving a bit of extra money in the here and now.
6. Life insurance
This is especially popular for those employees with families. In most cases, life insurance policies offer a set amount or a percentage of the employee's salary, payable to their family members in the event of their death.
Closely linked are benefits such as Death In Service or Accidental Death insurance, which kick in if an employee dies while at work. This is common for businesses where work carries an extra element of risk, such as those within manufacturing.
7. Salary sacrifice schemes
We touched on this in the ‘long-term savings’ section but it’s worth mentioning as a standalone. Many countries allow you to offer certain benefits which are paid for from the employee’s gross salary. This allows them to get something valuable while also saving on tax. Examples are bicycles (known in some countries as the Cycle2Work scheme), or low-emission cars.
Salary sacrifice means that both employer and employee can save money, while developing a positive relationship thanks to the employee getting something valuable.
8. Learning and Development budget
Successful businesses don’t just offer people a job — they offer them a career. This means investing to help them grow and become the best they can be. It’s especially important in today’s constantly changing world, where upskilling is high on the agenda for many professionals. Businesses also benefit as they develop a more talented team member who can then move into a senior role, rather than having to hire externally each time.
This can also branch into non-work related development. For example, some companies fund language lessons or even music classes for their employees, helping them become more rounded individuals personally.
9. Volunteering days
One of the things candidates pay attention to is a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work. Giving people the opportunity to take a day off and volunteer in their community is a great way to showcase your credentials. It also helps build a better connection with your remote employees. You may not have a physical presence in Brazil, for example, but by allowing your Brazilian employees to do something charitable in their community, you position yourself as an employer that genuinely cares.
10. Flexible working arrangements
The ability to work from home, vary hours and have a better work-life balance is something employees everywhere cherish. It also boosts their disposable income by reducing their commuting and/or childcare costs.
We’ll be honest — we were a little bit on the fence about including this. After all, in a new working world where remote hiring is going to become more common — is flexible working really a benefit, or should it be part and parcel of what you offer? In the end, we included it as a lot of companies are still taking their first steps into offering flexibility. And of course, flexibility means something different to each business.
However there’s no doubt that for a lot of businesses, the near future will see flexible working becoming a standard part of their offering, in the same way salaries are.
Building a benefits package that’s truly global and offers something for everyone might seem daunting, but in a market where candidates hold all the cards, its a must. Hopefully this blog will give you an idea of what to look for, but the next step is finding a way to put this in place on a global level.
Luckily for you, we’ve got a whole guide on that — so check it out below!