Enabling Technology

Missed Connections?

How cloud-based applications give HR more control.
By Chris Wakely
Global expansion is a significant investment for businesses, and that’s why it’s crucial that relocation and onboarding goes well. If either becomes disjointed, companies can end up with unhappy employees.
And there are disjointed programs out there: The National Foreign Trade Council’s Expatriate Trends Study 2013, which surveyed 1,511 expatriates in 140 countries, found that 59 percent of respondents were unaware of their employer’s repatriation assistance—and did not know whether their employer would track what happens to them after they return home. The survey also found that respondents under the age of 34 were less informed about the specifics of their health plans. Fortunately, there are new cloud-based technologies that offer solutions to help new employees and international assignees adjust and thrive in their new roles, and do so with a good grasp of the benefits available to them.
Streamlining Systems
Cloud-based software platforms simplify the complexity of managing different languages and benefit set-ups across multiple regions. With standardized processes that reduce paper waste, businesses can centralize completion of enrollment forms and modernize the relocation experience for their employees. One example is “onboarding-in-a-box,” in which a company conveniently offers a tailored experience at the hands of new hires or international assignees by providing them with USBs and/or tablets that contain all onboarding or relocation materials and self-service applications. Freshly relocated employees usually find this tool beneficial when adjusting to new time zones and adapting to different cultures, empowering them to complete onboarding on their own time with consistent messaging that provides familiarity.
Business growth challenges processes, and hiring additional resources is both costly and ineffective, as it unnecessarily creates multiple channels of communication. Cloud-based software platforms centralize shared services to put into action efficient administration that doesn’t double-up efforts. Centralized support systems allow for multi-location or multi- country support that can be delivered from a single solution.
Personalizing Employee Engagement
Maintaining communication strategies that utilize branded, automated, and personalized benefits enrollment messages based on employee demographics goes a long way in acclimatizing international assignees and keeping them happy. By demonstrating the value of their benefit investments to recently reassigned employees, businesses can increase employee engagement. Global benefits software with an intuitive employee-facing portal allows businesses to communicate the total value of benefits on an individual level. Additionally, companies can use automation technologies to identify employee status updates—address changes or job titles—and automatically generate personalized messages for required actions and benefits selection.
A global benefits administration platform offers the ability to control the global reward message and offer consistent experience for internationally located employees. Whether enrolling in 401(k) in the United States, or adding a new beneficiary to an employee’s benefit plans in India or auto- enrolling into a pension scheme in the U.K., the employee journey, branding, and messaging remains consistent. Local language and currency support doesn’t have to come with additional work for HR and benefits teams.
Managing Data Risk
For any global organization, risk management is a key concern, and the last thing relocated assignees need to worry about is personal security. By managing multiple data sources of employee information through a centralized cloud-platform solution, employers are given a single source of truth that ensures only necessary stakeholders have access to employee data. In turn, the right employees receive the right benefits information at the right time.
A clear and accessible audit trail of employee-benefit decisions and administer interactions is also made readily available through a centralized global-benefits management solution. Cloud-based software automatically records employee interactions, signatures and everything in between, providing a full record for HR and benefits teams and reassuring employees their information is correct.
Bottom line? Implementing a sound global mobility strategy can help expanding companies keep their reassigned employees engaged and productive from anywhere in the world.
Chris Wakely is head of Thomsons Online Benefits North America.

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