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17 Aug 2022

Why global benefits packages should be ready for the unexpected

Large multinational companies with complicated hybrid/remote structures should focus on implementing common benefits employees wants and needs first

Why global businesses’ benefits packages should be ready for the unexpected.jpg 1


It’s been a testing time for the 213 million global businesses, with the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the climate crisis and rising inflation.

When the cost of living goes up, people start to worry about their financial situation, and this can lead to mental health problems. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2022 report found some scary figures for global business to digest: 40% of the global workforce were worried, with 44% feeling stressed and only 22% were living comfortably on their income.

The report breaks these figures down country by country, but perhaps doesn’t give the full picture about what global businesses have to consider when thinking about their employees.

Don't ignore the deskless

Many multinational global companies have a complicated workforce, further exacerbated by the side-effect of hybrid/remote work caused by the pandemic.

Large multinational companies should be organised enough to cater for its workforce no matter where they find themselves, but this isn’t the case for some.

Business magazine Forbes published an article called Don’t Ignore The Deskless Workforce in 2020 that claimed “84% of deskless workers say they don’t get enough direct communication from top management” to name but one problem area, and that “four-fifths of businesses say they’re planning to increase their deskless-tech investments, with an average spending increase of 31%”. That’s quite a hike.

Of course, this just concerns deskless workers, but it actually covers those who hybrid or remotely work as well, which are on the rise.

So, how do businesses keep themselves prepared for the unpredictable? Well, they should look at Finland’s handling of the pandemic. After the Cold War ended it continued to stockpile medical supplies and was well prepared when Covid-19 hit.

Gauging employee needs

This example should serve as an example to global businesses as they think about their benefits strategy. Depending on how spread out a workforce is, the type of work, and how statutory benefits work, businesses who use HR tech to gauge their employees’ needs should be more prepared for unforeseen circumstances than those that don’t.

There will be common benefits that all employees will want, and this could range from anything from gym memberships to pensions to insurances. However, there will be employees in different countries, immersed in different cultures, that may want benefits that are specific to them. HR technology has advanced so much in recent times that it’s easier for businesses to roll out bespoke benefits for the minority of employees that want them.

What is the bottom line when it comes to benefit strategy in ever-changing world conditions?

In short, large multinational companies with global workforces that have complicated structures of deskless vs desk jobs should focus on implementing common benefits employees want and need first before anything else.

Benefits that are always needed

The Society for Human Resource Management says the three benefits that matter most are generous paid holiday, flexible work and paid family leave (excluding insurance-related benefits). Take these three benefits as an example, and then apply a catastrophic event (eg another pandemic), these benefits will still be accessible no matter what happens or where an employee finds themselves on the planet.

If we factor in other benefits, like medical insurances or treatments, dental treatments and pensions, we’re able to see Finland’s model for stockpiling for an emergency. If your benefits package is seeing some benefits go unclaimed, it’s time to cut them loose and focus on the commonly claimed ones.

Original article: How do global businesses prepare for changing conditions when considering their benefits?

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