International reward managers should not impose a global benefits strategy

International benefits managers need to avoid reward imperialism, warned Chris Wilson, managing director of Rewarding People.

Speaking at the International Employee Benefits Senate on 13 May Wilson said: “Local culture and what local employees want is very powerful. You can have this global view and want to impose it, but employee engagement is more important.”

He recommended that benefits managers set core benefits centrally, and leave all other benefits decisions to local offices.

Wilson, who was until recently EMEA benefits director at the Oracle Corporation, explained that even if benefits managers did try to manage benefits globally they would struggle to find global providers or benefits.

“The reality is that you won’t get one set of rules globally,” he said.

Wilson found that at Oracle many staff reported to line managers in other countries, while multinational managers managed people in roughly five different countries.

In contrast HR was still trying to manage contracts on a contract basis.

He pointed out this is a common situation for many multinational organisations and HR needed to learn to manage multinational teams differently.