Withers reviews global benefits offering


Global benefits is currently a hot topic for law firm Withers, which has opened six new international offices in the past 18 months and hired many new employees.

Working with its benefits consultancy, Willis Towers Watson, it has looked at ways in which it can improve its global offering over the coming year.

Sharon Tebb, compensation and benefits manager at Withers, says: “There is a lot to think about and do when working with benefits in multiple locations, it can be a bit of a minefield to say the least, especially for a small compensation and benefits team, and valuable advice on the integration of a global plan can really help to nail down those all important factors.

“A good global plan can help define strategy to benefits, eligibility and a consistent approach to total reward, as well as streamlining HR processes, which is why Withers is currently reviewing the key points with Willis Towers Watson.”

These key points include ensuring that policies are fully compliant in local territories, for example for benefits such as group income protection, life assurance and private medical insurance (PMI).

The organisation also wants to ensure it offers attractive benefits in line with and, where possible, above and beyond, those of its competitors so that it can attract and retain key talent and, if there is a business need, encourage its employees to re-locate, temporarily or permanently, to its office locations is also key.

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Tebb adds: “Where possible, [it’s about] linking plans together to help to drive down premiums through greater insurer relationships and economies of scale. Time spent looking at the possibilities of linkage and the power of numbers can really help with that all-important benefits budget and spend.”

Withers recognises the difficulty that can be involved in setting up group schemes when a new office may not always initially have the minimum headcount that a benefits insurer requires. Linkage of plans can help reduce the need for expensive, temporary individual cover, which can also be messy from an administrative perspective, says Tebb.