In April, the Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA) held their first Global Reward Directors Forum, and Benefex were there sponsoring the event and helping attendees with their global benefit needs. Director of Ecosystems, Gethin Nadin shares his thoughts on the day.
The day kicked off at the lovely Merchant Taylors Hall in Central London with speakers from Cisco, Aker Solutions, Unilever, PwC, Benefex and HSBC. Highlighted very early on were some of the main obstacles employers face when looking at global benefits:
1. Lack of understanding of benefits
2. Lack of ability to report benefit spend
3. High admin and overhead costs
4. Data accuracy and analytics
It was said by many attendees that technology will help solve most of these problems. Employers should embrace Technology. The Global Head of Reward at Unilever said “technology will drive change in your business”. If an employee can use their mobile to order a product online, have it delivered the next day and have that same company recommend other products based on who I am, why can’t they get that same technology in the workplace?
Benefex highlighted our ability to deliver global reward schemes and passed to PwC to talk about building the business case for global benefits. Benefex will be issuing a series of global benefit whitepapers over the coming months, so keep an eye out for this brand new content, including what was discussed by us at REBA.
Some of the speakers shared their best practice on Global Benefits with us and below are a few of the highlights:
- Pay should be market-based, fair and competitive.
- Exceptional individuals should be recognised.
- All elements of reward should be open, fair, consistent and explainable.
- Remember that the employer can use Total Reward Statement data to understand your global pay and benefits, too.
- You will only move as fast as the slowest country in your organisation, so bear that in mind and accommodate countries and cultures that aren’t as advanced as others.
- Consider using Total Reward Statements to allow employees to feedback their attitudes to their pay package. Employees want this two-way feedback.
- Be mindful that not all employees like numbers. Try to be as visual as you can.
- Total Reward should be at the centre of your Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
- Try to accommodate employee lifestyle changes in your strategies. This will help retain staff.
- Give employees what they want – let them tell you what benefits you should offer and let them choose what they want through a flexible benefits scheme.
- Communicate, communicate and communicate. Philip Smith from PwC stated that it’s often the last thing employers think about, but it should be the first.
Peter Newhouse from Unilever ended his talk with a very poignant comment about being open with employees and their compensation; He said “you can’t control information anymore”. If you’re not open and honest about your pay and benefits, someone else (like Glassdoor) will be.
Tools Not Rules
Lastly we were introduced to Ken Charman to share his thoughts of working with a benefits technology provider and how that project should be managed. Ken explained that you should always work closely with your provider. Instill complete trust in each other and treat the two teams as one. Build contingency into your project plan and prepare for unforeseen events. Be prepared to break convention. Ken also suggested that both teams should be social together. In the same way you would encourage your teams internally to get to know eachother as people, so should you with your providers team.
A lot was discussed on the day and there were some really interesting organisations with very differing challenges. I’ve summarised the main take-aways from the day:
1. Align your business drivers with your reward strategy.
2. Standardise where possible – try to have the same approach across the world.
3. Simplify things – use fewer resources and try to be lean and effective in your approach.
You want to try and be ‘multi-local’. Have a global approach but be mindful of local nuances – we call this ‘Glocal’. Create a global strategy, global branding etc. and be global where possible (like shares and bonus schemes) but remember that benefits should be local and pay should be localised.
Thanks to speakers from PwC, Unilever, Cisco and HSBC for their valuable insight! We are very much looking forward to the next REBA event and encourage all of our clients and prospects to attend!