The rollout of global benefit platforms is treading a similar path to those in the payroll and human resources information system (HRIS) industries, where global providers have become established in recent years.
The rollout of global benefit platforms is treading a similar path to those in the payroll and human resources information system (HRIS) industries, where global providers have become established in recent years. However, while payroll in particular, and sometimes HRIS, remain a back-office tool, rolling out a benefits platform globally is likely to involve a level of employee self-service and choice.
The complexity of a global benefits platform starts in the benefit plans themselves. Some employers might think benefits do not vary, but interaction with social security, complex eligibility, intricate funding rules and the potential for large numbers of benefits across a global system can present challenges.
When constructing a rules-based system to cater for this variety, there is inevitably a balancing act of incorporating every conceivable complexity with having a system that is simple to administer and maintain.
The next challenge for employers can be presenting information to employees in a meaningful and intuitive manner, and in a language that is relevant with cultural norms that are familiar. To do this, employers require a platform developed specifically with global deployments at the heart of their design.
And although flexible benefits are commonplace in the UK as well as other specific territories, employee choice can be an unfamiliar concept in many countries, so employee interaction with a system might be limited to communicating and reinforcing the value of benefits and reward.
However, the importance of a global benefits platform is not just in employee interaction. In an age that requires the immediate availability of data, this extends to the consolidation of information in one place, being able to quickly report on costs and liabilities across a global organisation, which can then shape better and more informed decision-making.
Terry Gostelow is an account director at Staffcare