Want to revamp employer branding? Establish a global benefits standard

Dive Brief:

  • About 7 in 10 multinational employers have established a “global minimum standard” for employee benefits, per WTW’s recently released Priorities for Employee Benefits report. For the survey, WTW tapped into 254 global employers across industries, polling respondents between September and October 2023.
  • On top of that, about half of employers have an established global benefits strategy — with nearly 4 in 10 employers considering following suit.
  • WTW emphasized in a statement that taking on a global benefits strategy can ensure that an employer’s goals align with current and prospective employee’s “wants and needs.”

Dive Insight:

As head count has fluctuated from 2021 to 2023 — and employers recalibrate business needs — benefits are set to change in 2024. WTW has reported that managing the cost of benefits is a “high priority,” with 68% saying it is the “top” or “high” priority over the next two years.

Still, over the next three years, 63% of employers are looking to leverage benefits for employer or company branding, per WTW. And as workers are only marginally more satisfied with their compensation, it tracks that benefits continue to hold a bigger stake in the total rewards conversation.

Workers have told labor researchers at Workhuman candidly that “good benefits” have retained them.

“Global minimum standards are one way to signal an ambition for employee benefits to be inclusive,” WTW Managing Director of Integrated and Global Solutions Rick Sherwood said in a statement.

“Employers are also focusing on how their benefits align with their purpose, convey their values and enhance how they are perceived as an employer,” he added.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, an emphasis on mental health emerged as a priority in the benefits sphere. Part of well-being — and even an extension of the mental health conversation — is also flexibility as a benefit.

In turn, RTO mandates continue to drive a wedge between workers and their employers, straining their loyalty. About 1 in 5 HR professionals told University of Chicago researchers that it was a “major problem” for retention, with at least 50% more saying RTO mandates are at least a “minor problem.”

For a successful benefits strategy, Sherwood said that employers will need “a fundamental shift” in how they operate their benefits programs.

“Employers will need to take a more employee-centric focus on which employee benefits are provided and how they are delivered,” Sherwood added. “Wellbeing will need to be viewed as an outcome to be achieved, rather than a set of programs to be added.”