Employee Benefits Awards 2011: Most effective reward or benefits strategy for staff based outside the UK


Quintiles, EMEA total reward statements entered by Edenred

The pharmaceutical firm bravely took on the challenge of delivering international total reward statements cost-effectively and in a short timeframe.

A three-tiered approach enabled Quintiles to deliver the appropriate statements in various countries. Unusually, the analogy used to convey messages around reward was milk. Whole milk was used to represent online total reward statements distributed to employees in countries, who have access to more developed and/or complex reward packages.

Semi-skimmed milk represented total reward statements in countries with smaller populations and/or who had less complex reward packages. Meanwhile, skimmed milk was used for simple paper-based statements sent to employees in smaller countries.

By showing employees exactly how their financial and non-financial rewards added up, Quintiles hoped to increase understanding and appreciation of reward, while also retaining staff. This was especially critical in countries where it offered benefits that were not common, such as wellness and recognition schemes.

Quintiles had successfully rolled out online total reward statements in the US, Germany, UK, Ireland and Spain, but the process was time-consuming, resource-heavy and expensive.

So, in November 2009, it piloted its first TRS in Slovakia using the semi-skimmed approach. The pilot was a huge success, and so Quintiles developed an aggressive and strategic implementation plan. The plan was to roll out TRS in 2010 in six eastern European countries – three in July and three in November.

This plan was aggressive, but Quintiles felt it was manageable – until it received pleas from other countries to jump on the TRS bandwagon. The company’s response involved the skimmed milk approach, which allowed it to support five more countries quickly and cheaply. By the end of 2010, Quintiles had launched TRS in no fewer than 10 countries.


Towers Watson, My Cafe
This entrant provides staff in Asia Pacific with an international benefits scheme called My Cafe, which offers flexibility around core benefits. Employees have the chance to buy or sell annual leave, and choose different levels of life assurance and private medical insurance cover. But it is its use of flexible spending accounts that really gives My Cafe its ‘wow’ factor. Here, benefits credits (leftover allowances) can be used against a variety of cafe-themed benefits options.

Universal Music Group, Universal Music Global Consolidation and Benefits Review entered by Bluefin
As its workforce became increasingly more global, Universal Music Group found that employee transfers from one country to another were becoming more and more complex because of benefits disparities across borders. After an audit was conducted, the firm set about rationalising its benefits programmes, wherever possible, into a single worldwide strategy, as well as minimising the number of providers used and maximise the purchasing leverage of its global business.

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