The tight labor market is pushing some employers to hire outside the U.S., while other global companies have been doing it for years!
However, if you’re hiring globally, here’s one factor you must realize immediately: One size does not fit all when you’re creating global benefits.
As if HR doesn’t have enough on its plate, offering global benefits packages requires HR to become an HR expert in each country its company has employees. That’s a big undertaking, but one that is necessary!
Luckily, Remote created a Guide to global benefits employers can use to ensure they’re creating compliant and competitive benefits packages to attract top talent around the world.
“To create a truly equitable workplace, your goal should be to make sure all your workers have similar levels of comfort and security no matter where they live, not just aim to give everyone the same benefits,” said Bruce Gilbert, global director of benefits at Remote.
The key to doing this is to offer benefits that take care of employees’ physical, emotional and financial health no matter where they live. That means providing them with a total health and wellness package, income protection from things like disabilities and accidents, and retirement savings programs.
While the pandemic opened employers’ eyes to new opportunities for hiring out of state and the U.S., it’s also opened employees’ eyes as to what benefits are out there and what they want.
And it’s not all about the almighty dollar.
A great benefits package that helps employees deal with their day-to-day lives and helps take care of costs they would normally have to pay is a huge draw for talent.
This is great news for employers that don’t have the budget to match competitors when it comes to salary.
Creating a global benefits program
The first step is to realize that there is no one-size-fits-all global benefits package. There are parts of the package that are important globally like health care, maternity leave and retirement contributions. But companies that offer a universal benefits package will waste money on benefits people don’t use because they don’t need them and lose out on the talent race because people don’t value the benefits they’re offered.
For example, U.S. employees value benefits like identity theft protection and fertility assistance. However, if a company tries to offer these benefits in other countries, it may have difficulty finding vendors to supply them. If this is part of a universal package, then some employees will have more benefits than others.
There are also healthcare benefits in the U.S. that are must-haves. But in countries with socialized medicine, they aren’t necessary.
Another example is PTO. In the U.S. employers must offer a generous PTO package to compete for top talent. But in Panama, employers are required to offer at least 30 business days as PTO per year in addition to 10 paid public holidays. Offering a generous PTO package in Panama isn’t going to attract top talent, so employers will need to substitute something else to make up for it.
Benefits that aren’t needed aren’t a benefit. That’s the bottom line.
The goal is to provide all employees, no matter what country they work in, the same general experience and quality of life. One way to make that happen in countries where they don’t need certain benefits is to boost salary compensation.
Do your homework
One thing is vital when putting together global benefits packages and that’s to do your homework. Employers must do research on standard practices and benefits offerings in whatever country they’re trying to expand into. And one way to find out what foreign workers want and need is to ask them, just like with U.S. employees.
It’s also important to tailor benefits to the industry the employer is hiring for and the type of work that’ll be done.
Finally, employers need to make sure their benefits plans are compliant with the laws in each country. As the guide points out, “compliance is non-negotiable.” It’s the foundation of any program. There’s no sense in optimizing benefits if all legal requirements in each country where you employ people aren’t met. One missed compliance regulation could put the entire business at risk.
A global benefits package isn’t something that can be thrown together in a few weeks. It takes months of research and time to make sure everything is copasetic.