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When fostering an engaging work environment, paying employees well is important but not always enough.

Many workers have begun to expect enrichment within their personal lives in the form of comprehensive benefits schemes

In particular, for global employers or those looking to embark on an international expansion, ensuring an attractive benefits package in line with local custom and practice makes a huge difference in procuring and retaining the best talent.

However, when also operating internationally, you’re expected to not only understand the regional benefits differences, but you must balance them alongside the perks provided to those in your parent business and seek to be aligned with the current trends.

In this blog, we’ll delve into some of the shifts in the requested benefits, so you can optimise your international offering and minimise the impact of COVID-19 on budgets.

Private medical insurance

A benefit that is typically expected is private medical insurance since the access provided usually surpasses what is available under State provision in-country. 

From the employer’s perspective, private healthcare expedites employee access to healthcare facilities and provides the much-needed peace of mind that the workforce craves, whenever the need arises. 

In the current climate, demand for this level of support is starting to rise higher than ever.

Life insurance

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a huge shift in the employee perspective, and what was once considered a skippable perk by those entering the workforce, is now quickly becoming a sought-after benefit.

We’ve seen first-hand, the younger generation who typically wouldn’t show much interest in life insurance now actively seeking for this in their benefits package.

There’s a visible shift emerging within the demographics of the workforce and their expectations.

Wellness initiatives

Until very recently, the most obvious ‘wellness’ topic has been healthcare, but the need for both mental health support and financial advice has escalated significantly.

As an HR professional, you will already be aware that mental health has long been an area that has lacked the essential limelight in the workplace until the events of 2020 really brought it to the fore. 

Also, going hand-in-hand with the current economic downturn that we find ourselves in, is the need for support with financial advice. 

Whilst historically, employers would shy away from the notion of providing any form of financial wellness support to its team, this has now been turned on its head. 

Employers that embrace this topic by providing access to experts in this area, now find that employee loyalty and engagement is much higher than before, which in turn makes them an attractive employer.

Leave Policies

The European Union’s Working Time Directive states that full-time workers are entitled to a minimum of 20 vacation days per annum.

The UK provides a minimum of 28 days annually (this is made up of 20 vacation days, plus 8 public holidays), yet they still lag behind the majority of Europe.

For example, France provides a minimum of 5 weeks’ vacation each year (depending upon the employee work pattern).

So, before setting up in a new country, you must familiarise yourself with the legal annual leave entitlements when creating your benefits package.

And whilst annual vacation entitlement is one consideration, what also makes for an attractive proposition, is the enhancement of statutory family-friendly leave policies, such as maternity and paternity leave. 

These naturally vary from country-to-country and going above and beyond the statutory minimum in any jurisdiction, definitely helps to make a company the employer of choice. 

Work training opportunities

Offering workplace training provides a prime opportunity to upskill employees, and while it may not necessarily be required by law, providing this benefit acts as a fantastic incentive when recruiting and retaining talent.

Not only will this help make you a more attractive employer, but factors such as performance, satisfaction and engagement all also tend to improve as a result of additional training.

How can IRIS HR Consulting help?

Thanks to our knowledge of the intricacies of international benefits law and practice, IRIS HR Consulting is here to help you ensure your offering is the best it can be, no matter the country.

Using our vetted benchmarking, planning and implementation process, we provide you with a complete service that can meet the demands of a changing workplace demographic.

For more information on how we can optimise your employee benefits, click here.