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08 Feb 2022
by James Whelan

How technology and home working are enabling greater benefits alignment across regions

Reward and benefit platforms have been evolving for a while, with incremental improvements being forced by various factors.

But for global workforces these systems have typically been run in their country-specific silos, with each business unit looking after itself and little centralised control or unified benefits strategy. Firms still operating in this manner are missing a huge chance to improve both their internal culture and their bottom line.

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One worldwide step-change triggered by Covid-19 was the need to adapt rapidly to the sudden requirement of working from home. Online collaborative tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams scaled up to meet the sudden surge in demand. For multinationals, this meant that cross-border business units began working in a more consistent manner, resulting in closer relationships with their overseas counterparts, creating significantly more cultural and technical harmony across the organisations.

Taking the new working model further

As the new working model soon turned into what we now accept as normal, the opportunity presented itself for firms to take it further and achieve other gains in their businesses beyond departmental roles, such as employee engagement and staff retention. 

It follows that multinational workers now have a more consistent working culture, so HR and reward partners are discovering ways to rationalise their strategies. For example, instead of deploying one internal communications platform per region, centralised content and administration functions are being driven through a newer breed of workplace engagement technology. These consist of a single hub, with multi-tenanted capability allowing each territory to add its own specific information. In this scenario, all staff in all regions can be part of an aligned culture, with single-source content, but with the ability for local customisation to ensure that region-specific content and nuances are also included.

Delivering a full experience

With the adoption of cloud hosting, personal data can be hosted locally to meet information security regulations, then combined using a web app and micro-services to deliver a full experience. With this technology, other region-specifics can be more seamlessly included, such as varying benefit rules, currency and language.

A globally aligned communications strategy enables ever more opportunities to unfold, such as delivering consistent ESG messages covering climate change and mental wellness. These approaches can help to unify thought leadership across regions, creating an ethically virtuous culture for greater employee engagement and retention.

Millennial expectations

The better educated and informed workforce can ensure that their protection and investment benefits are suitably aligned with the ESG focus of each firm’s corporate responsibility policies. This is a powerful change being led by the vision and expectations of the millennial generation, with values that are truly forcing improvement not just in their organisations, but through their lifestyles and interconnectedly around the world.

Being able to source providers that align with your firm’s core values can empower staff in many ways, such as improved inter-departmental relationships and emotional engagement with their employer’s brand.

Reward technology

Further consistency is being introduced by providing access to one of the newer reward technology hubs. These include retail shopping discounts, special offers and vouchers, which, due to the increasing buying-power of volume employees across the software provider’s client base, offers meaningful daily bargains for the cost-conscious worker. These schemes are available at relatively low cost per member, with employees enjoying an instant win of reduced spending on daily household and lifestyle items. There is an increasing choice in the number of these providers going global, so your regional employees are always presented with deals that are relevant to their location.

Overall, the recent ability to converge different technology platforms with API integration and multi-tenancy, enables staff in multinational organisations to work for a common good with greater consistency and alignment in message, culture and values, resulting in stronger bonds and improved productivity.

The author is James Whelan, managing director, Avantus.

Article provided by Avantus.

In partnership with Avantus

We provide online platforms to life insurance companies, employee benefits consultancies & providers.

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