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Peter Turgeon February 27, 2018 5 min read

Companies with global employees need a global benefits website

You’re a rock star—killing it with your responsive, user-friendly benefits website. Built outside the firewall for easy access by all U.S. employees and their families, it’s a core communication strategy must-have. And a great first step toward full employee benefits engagement.

Only a first step? Yes—especially if your company is global. It takes more than a U.S. benefits site to reach all your global employees with the right content. That’s why a global benefits website is invaluable.

With a global benefits website, employees in any country or region can type a single web address into their browser, select their country or region, and easily find information about their benefits. It’s the simplest, quickest way to communicate benefits information to employees in other countries. And, by including deeper links within those pages, you can more easily send targeted messages to specific employees through email and other channels.

So, what’s keeping you from taking this next crucial employee benefits communications step?

The challenges of communicating with a global workforce

Ask any benefits communicator who’s attempted to establish a global website, and they’ll quickly rattle off a list of barriers that seem insurmountable:

  • We haven’t established a consistent global benefits/HR communication brand or voice.
  • We don’t have a consistent global communication framework for recruiting activities, managing program changes, M&A activity, onboarding new employees, and global expansion.
  • Creating global communication materials is an inefficient use of local resource time and money.
  • There’s insufficient communication expertise in some countries or regions.
  • The communication channels are different in other countries.

Yes, communicating with global audiences has a unique set of challenges. And one of the most formidable is making meaningful connections with multicultural audiences that have entirely different motivators, traditions, attitudes, communication styles, and tones than you’re accustomed to.

But all these challenges can be easily overcome by having a single point for global benefits information. This is why a global benefits site is so valuable. To establish a global communications presence, all you need is patience, a solid strategy, and an experienced partner, like Benz.

The benefits of a global benefits website

A global benefits website helps you conquer the challenge of communicating with your global workforce. With it, you can provide consistent, consumer-grade experiences across your global digital footprint. A global website allows you to deliver the messages, information, and valuable resources that are relevant to each country or region. And, like your domestic benefits site, it should be easily accessible by employees and their family members, recruiters, and recruits, as well as optimized for mobile and desktop viewing.

With a global benefits website, you can:

  • Align content with your global business objectives.
  • Target messages to individual countries to drive specific behaviors.
  • Tailor content and images to regional cultural norms.
  • Promote benefits that global employees may not be aware they have (or know how to use).
  • Compete on a level playing field for global talent.
  • Analyze data to measure engagement and outcomes, by country, and set benchmarks for improvement.
  • Create meaningful interactions with global employees that keep them connected to the company and more engaged with their benefits.
  • Decrease your reliance on local company resources.
  • Elevate communications with the additional infrastructure, tools, and resources a global website provides.

The payoff: Employees feel more connected to your company and are more engaged with their benefits. As we all know, when employees are more engaged, companies experience less turnover, reduced absenteeism, and higher productivity. And that drives business results!

How we help our clients

We often see companies that have a global employee base but don’t have a global communication strategy. They provide only limited or streamlined resources and communications to employees outside the U.S. These employers probably have good reasons for taking this approach. But when employees don’t have access to relevant or current information, they don’t feel like they’re being informed, and they aren’t engaged in company-provided plans and programs.

One of our clients in the technology industry had no global communication framework, yet they have operations in several countries. We worked together to help them achieve their strategic initiative to target and support key locations across the globe, and improve the customer (employee) experience. Today, for that client, we support benefits sites in 10 countries—some with as many as 6,000 employees, and in one, as few as 5.

The beauty of a website is that it can scale and grow as needed, and it’s flexible, so you can tailor it to meet the needs of individual countries. This means that you can choose how to launch your global site. You might opt to build all your individual country sites at the same time, and launch a site for every country. Or, you could decide to take a phased approach, building individual country sites over time. Perhaps you’ll start with the countries with the largest employee base, and then add others gradually.

In any case, you can provide different levels of support, depending on the needs of each country (for example, updating content weekly, monthly, yearly, etc.). As needs change, so will the support needed for those sites. Whatever choice you make, your employees will have a better benefits experience than they would without a site—and you’ll be on your way to achieving your business goals. 

Global website best practices

As much as many of us don’t like rules, there are right and wrong ways of doing most things. We believe that global websites should always follow these best practices:

  • Feature publicly accessible content outside the company firewall. This guarantees easy access to important benefits information when employees and their families need it to make important decisions, wherever they are. It also helps recruiters attract the best talent.
  • Be responsively designed to support all channels of communication, and provide a flawless, consistent user experience on all devices, including mobile and desktop.
  • Offer simple navigation and content organization to help users quickly and easily find the information they need. This will reduce calls and emails to the benefits center.
  • Be representative of local culture but maintain the corporate brand, tone, and style.
  • Be maintained through one central resource, which minimizes security risks and establishes governance, ensuring corporate standards are met when addressing local needs.

We're proud to work with large employers who recognize the business value of engaging employees in benefits. If you want to learn more, contact us.

Peter Turgeon

Peter Turgeon, Director, Innovation, is an advocate for using technology to affect real business change and blends his skills and extensive knowledge of benefits communications to drive engagement.