Why global employee benefits rollout is easier than you think13.05.21
Global Benefits Director
One of the most common misconceptions I hear is that global rollout of your benefits scheme is far more complex than local launch. Of course, a successful global implementation is by no means a simple feat. But with the right resources, research, consultants, and – most importantly – the right benefits technology, it can be far easier than people would have you believe…
Let’s consider a scenario: You’ve just launched your benefits scheme in the UK, after months of preparation, planning and the implementation. It’s time to put your feet up and enjoy the success that OneHub brings – right?
Well, yes. But it’s also the perfect opportunity to use your UK rollout as an international launchpad. Having propelled your benefits scheme to success in the UK, you’ve already done the most complicated of all your potential sites! When you start to look at your other locations, you’ll quickly find the range of benefits is not as broad as in the UK. In the majority or countries, we tend to see seven or eight benefits at the most with only a small number needing a full investigation and design. That means less work for you in reviewing benefit information (and testing)!
Another consideration is that although some of the benefits may be new to you and your team, they won’t be new to a good benefits tech provider. At Benefex, we have experience and expertise in working with local benefits and providers from over 40 countries – we have global benefits experts, so you don’t have to be.
One step at a time
We always advise the majority of our customers to look at rolling out on a country-by-country approach, especially where internal resources are limited. It can be quite daunting to be faced with a rollout plan for five, 10 or even 15 countries, but this can be done at your own pace. At Benefex, we tend to see a phased rollout over several years, with early focus on the locations causing you the most challenges or administrative headaches. From early in the project, we work with you to identify those locations and build a schedule that works for you – of course, this has to be flexible and we often see this change as some countries become higher priority and others lower.
One piece of advice we give to all customers is to keep things as simple as possible: there’s no need for a world of complicated benefits sites if they’re not needed. We often refer to our simple to complex scale, where the majority of locations around the world sit away from complex (where the UK falls). It really shows that, if you started with benefits across the UK, you can definitely tackle international rollout!
With that in mind, with the exception of perhaps the USA, all of your other locations will be simpler in terms of benefit design, range of benefits and options available. That, of course, translates into less work than you may have originally envisaged. With the right team of experts around you, it starts to seem a lot more achievable!
If you’re concerned about the time and commitment required for launching a platform across multiple locations, you could consider an information-only option for global locations. By centralising benefit information to one place and signposting for employees where to go for further information e.g. how to make a claim, you can achieve several key objectives. These may include reducing queries coming into your HR team, applying global branding, and improving your employee experience. In addition, some limited reporting for joiners and leavers can help alleviate your administration burden too.
Implementing an information-only option is an efficient and effective first step towards global rollout, which we’ve seen used to great effect with a number of our customers. It can be especially successful if many of your locations are greenfield sites with limited tech in place, so may already be relying on an intranet site and/or physical handbooks. When looking at a large scale rollout, this can be part of a multi-stage global strategy which allows a year two review to focus on a smaller number of locations for a fully-transactional site.
When starting a global expansion project, our customers have often been surprised by how much of the work has already been done once the first location has gone live. Not only are your chosen locations likely to be further on the simple end of the scale, but you and your team will be familiar with the benefits technology, the implementation journey, and the information required for design. What’s more, you’ll have a payroll provider in place and the incoming feeds will have a template that can be plugged in from the previous launches. To complement this, all the work that you have done with branding and communications can be carried over too.
Speak to an expert
If you are considering expanding your benefits platform overseas, why not have a chat with our global experts to understand the considerable advantages – and how easy it can be!
Paul joined Benefex from Mercer in 2019 with a wealth of international benefits experience, having worked with a large number of high-profile, multinational clients to review their approach to global talent and reward. He leads Benefex’s global benefits delivery team and he’s doing an excellent job of it, if we may say so ourselves. He is skilled in international risk assessment and management, legislative compliance, trend research, cross-border claims, and customer relationship management. AND, he can speak fluent French, mais oui!