Global Compensation & Benefits for Your Remote Teams — Top 5 Things to Get Right

 Global Compensation & Benefits for Your Remote Teams — Top 5 Things to Get Right

Companies running international operations need to tailor compensation and benefits plans for employees in different jurisdictions, which means that developing a robust global business strategy can be tricky. How can companies execute compliant and timely compensation for international employees? What can employers do to reduce the gender pay gap?

In this session, Stephanie Varner, Director of Global Compensation at G-P, joined Els Hanssens, Sales Director UKI & International Markets at SD Worx, and John Treacy, PAS Director, Ernst & Young, to discuss the top five practices to master global compensation.


Q: A large part of getting compensation and benefits right is having a global strategy. It helps you address compliance across markets, technologies, processes, effectiveness, and scalability. In addition to pay, what initiatives are your customers implementing to attract and retain top talent?

Monitoring employee morale is a crucial component of talent engagement and retention. 

“High on the list to watch out for is unhappiness with the workforce atmosphere. If the social or psychological environment isn’t as it should be, it is telling,” said Hanssens. “Work-life balance is a big thing — and has been for quite some time. In the last 24 months it has increased in importance in terms of dissatisfaction with working hours, and lack of flexible work arrangements. Recognizing this carries away a lot of tension.”

For companies to retain talent, Hanssens added that clarity around company culture and strategy is vital — she advocates taking action throughout the year rather than at the start of the fiscal year or the end of the year.

“The same applies to having a clear strategy — make sure that each individual has a clear view of their contribution to the strategy so that they feel the difference they make.”

Elaborating on the importance of culture, Hanssens said more is needed than asking for and receiving feedback when cultivating the right culture. Executing or working with that feedback in order to ensure improvement is the crucial next step and helps ensure employees remain connected.

Treacy concurred, expressing the belief that companies can demonstrate their commitment to their teams through regular feedback. “Take it seriously, build a charter around it, and make sure it is fit for purpose. If it pulls together, you get that retention level.”

Varner explained that the present workforce is looking for more than just a competitive salary. Factors like career growth opportunities and access to learning and development programs are currently tipping the scales. 

Q: The gender pay gap has been stubbornly hard to close. How can companies aim to achieve a zero gender pay gap?

According to Treacy, while it can be challenging depending on your industry and the job family you are looking at, there’s one essential activity that can make a difference in tackling the gender pay gap.

“There are various drivers of gender pay gaps, but if you only had to pick one, it would have to be tracking data and insights.” He recommended monitoring what the company has been doing and gaps in terms of length of service, seniority, quartiles, and job families. The data can help to resolve the problem and highlight where the opportunities are to improve. 

Once established, companies can focus on areas like inclusive leadership and training, pay and promotion transparency, and recruitment tactics. Meanwhile, Varner pointed out that gender pay gaps are about equal representation across all workforce levels.

“Companies need to take a holistic view and make sure pay equity is considered at all stages of the talent lifecycle on an ongoing basis, and that it isn’t seen as just a compliance exercise, either.”

Q: What are some employee benefits a small or early-stage startup can offer?

Treacy emphasized that there are certain things the typical startup can and can’t offer, and ways of improvising when resources are stretched.

Companies in the second growth phase may provide equity and stock options to attract the VPs they are trying to hire, but there are other means of engaging talent.

“A lot of non-cash items are hot, so things like having a direct impact on the strategy, prioritization, impact on planning — those things you can do around job content and career development,” he explained. “These are vital because cash can be hard to find in a startup situation.”

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