5 Ways Changing Employee Expectations Are Influencing Global Benefits Strategy

How Employee Expectations Are Impacting Global Benefits Strategy

The global benefits landscape is shifting due to various socioeconomic factors and fast-advancing technologies. If you're a multinational organisation or your company is expanding into new countries or recruiting overseas or remote workers, you need to adapt to changing employee expectations or risk high staff turnover and losing out on top talent. FlexGenius explores the key factors influencing global benefits strategy and how companies can refresh their approach.

Factors that are influencing the global benefits landscape

Employee behaviours and expectations have shifted in response to new technologies, cross-border solutions and remote working capabilities. Global benefits strategy is adapting as a result.

Increased reliance on digital communication tools has heightened expectations around the ease and speed of receiving, understanding and managing employee benefits schemes. HR teams demand more flexibility, and employees want to easily digest and choose from a range of useful benefits and rewards.

As the cost of living crisis lingers, there’s a greater emphasis on mental, physical and financial wellbeing. People are looking to their employers for more guidance, support and benefits to ease the burden.

How employee expectations are changing approaches to global benefits strategy

1. Remote working and the need for inclusive and relevant employee benefits

The rise of remote work has reshaped employee expectations. Companies are responding by offering flexible work options and technology support for those working from home. Plus, when hiring talent globally, there are tax implications and legal requirements to consider.

As the boundaries between work and personal life blur, employees seek a healthier work-life balance, demanding benefits like flexible working hours and initiatives like four-day working weeks. Some companies also offer generous paid time off, sabbatical programs and other family-friendly policies.

2. Accommodating cultural differences in a global and multigenerational workforce 

Employees expect benefits packages that cater to a diverse workforce, and global organisations must accommodate cultural differences between workers from different regions, backgrounds and demographics.

There are also regulatory considerations and labour laws, which vary from country to country, which can impact global benefits strategy and requirements. So, it’s vital to understand the differences and adjust benefits offerings to stay compliant and keep employees motivated.

When it comes to supporting a multigenerational workforce, from Boomers to Generation Z, it's important to understand and cater to the varying priorities and needs of those across the age spectrum. For example, financial considerations should span from pensions and will writing to health insurance to student loan contributions, etc.

3. Appealing to a new generation of talent

With Gen Z set to make up 30% of the workforce by 2025, it's crucial to have a plan to accommodate their needs and drivers. Their unique preferences and priorities are reshaping how companies design and offer benefits to attract, engage and retain talent from this generation.

Here are some top things that Gen Z values concerning employee engagement and when assessing new companies:

  • Digital-first engagement and tech innovation: Gen Z has grown up in the digital age and expects seamless digital experiences. Investing in user-friendly benefits platforms, apps and innovations, such as AI-driven healthcare guidance, wearable fitness trackers and digital rewards, will help you cater to this tech-savvy generation.
  • Flexible work arrangements: Remote working options and flexible hours are key for attracting Gen Z talent.
    Transparency over health and wellbeing support: Gen Z strongly advocates mental health and wellbeing, expecting employers to provide mental health support, including access to counselling, stress management programs and wellness initiatives. Be transparent about your policies, benefits and healthcare plan costs.
  • Social/environmental responsibility: Businesses operating green policies and eco-friendly initiatives will be in Gen Z’s good books. Consider public transportation subsidies, electric car salary sacrifice and cycle-to-work schemes, and align benefits strategies with CSR initiatives.
  • Clear paths for learning, development and progression: Gen Z values continuous learning and professional development, being attracted to benefits like tuition reimbursement, online courses, mentorship programs and skill development opportunities that empower career progression.

4. Increased global benefits strategy focus on employee health and financial wellbeing

Employees are increasingly concerned about their physical and mental wellbeing. Avantus’ 2024 State of Employee Benefits report found that “nearly half of the UK workers surveyed (46%) felt close to burnout." As a result, companies are expanding their benefits packages to include mental health services, wellness programs and flexible working.

Economic uncertainty and rising living costs mean employees are prioritising financial stability. Respond by offering financial wellness programs, better healthcare benefits and retirement planning support.

5. Heightened scrutiny over DEI and ESG considerations

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a hot topic and a key trend influencing global benefits strategy. Organisations should provide benefits that support underrepresented groups, such as parental leave, gender-neutral policies, embracing and supporting LGBTQ+ employees and anti-discrimination measures. Meeting these expectations is critical for talent attraction and retention.

As employees are increasingly concerned about their employers' environmental and social impact, you must show commitment to sustainable practices, eco-friendly commuting options and CSR initiatives.

Summary: Provide flexible benefits to meet heightened employee expectations

Heightened employee expectations are reshaping global benefits strategy. Employers are placing greater emphasis on health and financial wellbeing, diversity, flexibility and sustainability. You need to adapt your benefits programs to align with these expectations or risk getting left behind and losing out on top talent.

FlexGenius, powered by Avantus, is an all-in-one flexible benefits platform that enables organisations to transform their employee benefits offering and manage programs effectively. In a competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is essential.

Explore our range of flexible and tailored benefits solutions and see how FlexGenius can help boost your talent recruitment and retention and transform your employee experience

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*Avantus does not provide tax or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax and accounting advisors before engaging in any scheme.