The Most and Least Generous Worker Benefits in the World

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With a growing recognition that employees are a company’s greatest asset, it is also increasingly important to consider how to keep staff in different countries happy and engaged.

According to some studies, happy, comfortable employees are 12 percent more productive, while others show that for every US$1 spent on employee health and wellness, employers can expect a US$3-US$6 return on their investment. Further studies suggest that benefits like health insurance can reduce employee turnover by up to 25 percent. There is also increasing evidence that ensuring employees get enough time off and don’t work too many hours can boost productivity – as well as your workforce’s long-term health.

A recent Aon survey of multinational companies found that 56 percent don’t have a global benefits database, despite global benefit reviews being a top priority. For companies operating in more than one country, setting benefits centrally can cut administrative costs, while simplifying reporting, and reducing resentment between cross-border teams who may perceive the perks their colleagues receive to be unfair.

Understanding what is normal in different countries is the best starting point to work out how to develop appropriate packages, from local working cultures – such as working hours, vacation time, salaries, levels of tax on earnings – to indirect benefits like the availability of state healthcare, statutory sick days and age of retirement.

But when considering a working location, remember that simple top-level overviews like those below are never sufficient to make a decision – the devil is in the details, so seek out expert advice.

In Depth

Most in-demand employee benefits

Universal health care

Paid sick day entitlement

Retirement and savings planning

State retirement ages

Leave benefits

Flexible schedules

Average wages

Other benefits that employees love

Talking Points

“There is a clear trend of centralization at multinationals, yet it isn’t flowing through to the way that employee benefits are managed… the vast majority of decisions are still being taken by local stakeholders. [Effectiveness of global planning] is generally being restricted by a lack of up-to-date information and administration activities.” – Carl Redondo, Aon Global Benefits

“When considering the impact of local laws, care should be taken to note cultural differences and issues of discrimination. Employers should question whether or not a particular benefit will integrate with cultural norms.” – Personnel Today

“You need to understand what impact [benefit schemes] are having on behavior… a big alarm bell should be ringing if they perceive it to be unfair” – Jonny Gifford, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Further Reading