How to Deliver Consistent Benefits Packages to a Globalised Workforce

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Atlas Team

Atlas helps innovative companies like yours to expand, onboard, manage and pay international teams in 160+ countries.

Published: 17 Nov 2023

Nobody said global expansion was easy—and hiring is one of the biggest hurdles. In fact, Atlas’ 2023 Global HR Study found that 52% of companies struggle to find the right talent in a new geographic market. At the same time, the normalisation of remote work has inspired companies to pull from the international talent pool. It’s competitive, but offering a consistent benefits package can help to attract the very best. 

Great benefits, whether it’s healthcare or education and career development, help attract and retain top talent. That’s not a secret, but it’s particularly challenging to keep these benefits consistent across a globalised workforce. Different regions have different employment regulations and different cultural expectations. So, how do you handle it?  

1. Assess Needs With Equity In Mind 

Before you enact a global benefits policy, conduct a thorough needs assessment using competitors and similar organisations as a benchmark. It’s important to keep a focus on equity as you evaluate the individual needs of each of your workers. For example, if some of your employees are parents and receive childcare reimbursement, what benefit of similar value can you offer workers who don’t have kids? Things like pet insurance or education and professional development opportunities can make your benefits packages more equitable. 

2. Consider Surveys 

Companies historically struggle to deliver the benefits that employees want—and that’s before you account for the nuances of a globalised workforce. According to a 2023 MetLife study, more than half of employees aren’t satisfied with their benefits. So, how do you fix it? 

It may seem like a simple concept, but if your organisation is wondering what benefits your global employees value, you can always ask them. A simple survey can speak volumes and clear up any gaps in local knowledge. In addition, open lines of communication help foster a positive work environment.  

3. Invest In Education 

Education benefits, like tuition reimbursement and in-house training programs, aren’t a new concept, but they’re more important than ever as workers prioritise their career development. According to SHRM’s latest Employee Benefit Survey, 67% of employees ranked professional and career development as a highly-valued benefit — a 17% increase since 2019.  

That said, the education benefits of 2023 look nothing like those of the past. It’s no longer something used solely to fund graduate degrees for white collar workers. More and more companies (think Amazon and Walmart) have expanded their educational offerings to include hourly employees like cashiers. This upskilling helps retain talent. In fact, according to research from Coursera, 77% of workers reported that online classes helped further their careers, and 95% of workers reported personal benefits like increased confidence in job-related skills. 

There are challenges with delivering education benefits to a global workforce, but digital options can help streamline the process. For example, Atlas has recently partnered with Coursera to launch Atlas Learning, an education and development module which offers worksite employees full access to more than 9,000 virtual courses and professional certifications from top institutions like Yale, John Hopkins University, Google, and AWS. High-quality education doesn’t have to be difficult, intimidating, or time-consuming.  

4. Make Training and Education Accessible 

Education benefits aren’t always as accessible as employers might think—especially when you’re dealing with a global workforce. For example, if an employer offers a tuition-assistance program, employees may still struggle to pay for the excess expenses. This is especially true among lower-level employees in areas with a high cost of living. Similarly, parents may struggle to meet in a classroom after hours, while foreign workers fall behind in virtual classes taught outside their native tongue. 

In order to create a consistent benefits package, education should be accessible for workers regardless of their location, income bracket, and general lifestyle. This type of equitable approach is essential for global companies prioritising good DEI policies. Virtual classes and training are often simple solutions, and Atlas has made them more accessible than ever. To combat language barriers, for example, Atlas Learning offers over 4,000 A.I. translated courses delivered in seven of the world’s most widely spoken languages such as Spanish, Arabic, and Thai.  

5. Demonstrate Cultural Sensitivity 

Cultural sensitivity helps foster a positive workplace environment, which is one of the leading ways to retain employees. Just how important is it? A Gallup poll found that 40% of employees left their job in 2022 because of issues regarding engagement and culture. Some of the most common complaints included a lack of respect, mismatched values, and poor workplace culture.  

These common issues are often exacerbated when companies hire a global workforce but don’t understand the cultural nuances in the regions where they operate. This extends to benefits. To stay consistent, organisations should cater their benefits packages to local requirements and preferences. For example, one region’s workers may expect Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), while another region’s workers commonly receive extended paternity leave.  

A great way to do this is through flexible benefits. This allows employees to choose—at least partially—the benefits they feel matter most. When preferences vary based on geography and life stage, this can make a huge difference in satisfaction (and according to a 2023 MetLife study, more than half of employees aren’t satisfied with their benefits).  

6. Invest In Technology 

Investing in HR technology isn’t always simple. Atlas’ Global HR Study found that 58% of companies struggle finding the right technology fit. Nonetheless, it’s a worthy investment for organisations managing a globalised workforce. 

HR tech helps organisations efficiently deliver benefits on a global scale, eliminating a lot of the administrative headaches regarding time zones and language barriers. For example, Atlas integrated Atlas Learning, their education module, right into their existing platform. It’s accessible to all worksite employees through a single sign-on.  

All in all, the right tech stack will streamline the on-boarding process, deliver benefits, and manage compliance across multiple jurisdictions. As it stands, 54% of companies already use HR tech for hiring and compliance. That figure is only likely to rise as technology advances. 

7. Consult With Experts 

When it comes to delivering consistent benefits to a global workforce, there are a lot of moving parts. Local laws, tax regulations, legal requirements, and cultural preferences all come into play. 

Working with an Employer of Record (EOR) means that they will manage HR functions for your global employees. An EOR understands the complexities of global employment, including compliance and cultural nuances, but they can also tailor benefits packages to local standards, and often have more resources than small companies just entering a global workforce for the first time. 

Atlas, for example, has entities in more than 160 countries and the capabilities to offer the benefits of a Fortune 500 company to the employees of companies of all sizes. This includes everything from healthcare and various insurances to education benefits and private pension plans.  

8. Regularly Review 

Once you enact a global benefits policy, consider it a work in progress. Your benefits should evolve with your business and your workforce. Regulations and employee preferences can change. Trends filter in and out. The state of your business isn’t always linear. It’s important to regularly review your benefits packages and make sure they remain effective and relevant.  

Atlas’ partnership with Coursera makes high quality educational benefits accessible to businesses of all sizes. If you want expert help creating an equitable and consistent benefits package for a global workforce, reach out to an Atlas representative today.