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26 Jan 2024
by Samantha Barrett

Gemma Stokes of Avanade on shifting from regional benefit provision to a global strategy  

Adopting a global benefits model can bring an employee value proposition to life and significant financial benefits, as Gemma Stokes of Avanade explained during a recent REBA webinar

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Shifting from a regional benefits model to a global one can unlock economies of scale, according to Gemma Stokes, Head of Global Benefits at IT consultancy Avanade.

Speaking on the Building a realistic and achievable multinational benefits strategy REBA webinar on 8 November 2023, Stokes said: “It’s a lot easier to negotiate with a potential provider when you’re looking at 18,000 heads rather than as few as 26.”

Avande has 59,000 employees worldwide. Stokes is responsible for 18,000 of these, across 56 locations, with regional headcount ranging from as few as 26 employees in the UAE to more than 3,000 in the US. “There’s nothing wrong with our regional model, but it was time to look at how we could align all of our global benefits to our EVP and our people strategy,” she said. 

The first step in the shift from regional to global was understanding what was in place in each country. “We had to spend a good six months drilling into the data and speaking to our brokers and providers to understand costs and what benefits were in place,” she said. “This exercise enabled us to define our people priorities and our goals.” 

Rather than set out a long-term strategy, Stokes is working to a 12-month programme. “We want to see where we go each year. It all depends on budgets but it also means we can pivot if employee expectations change,” she told attendees.