International employers must act or face a great resignation on global scale

The great resignation is not just an issue for the UK, it is a phenomenon happening around the world.

With more flexibility than ever in the way employees work, employers must keep pace in terms of the health and wellbeing support they offer if they are to retain talent on a global basis. This means meeting the demands of more frequent moves from country to country, supporting an increase in local employees, and plugging the gaps of struggling global healthcare systems.

Sarah Dennis, head of international at Towergate Health and Protection, said: “While the great global resignation is now a well-known phrase, it is not a fait accompli. Understanding the specific needs of overseas employees and having the support in place to meet these needs will go a long way to proving and securing loyalty on both sides. But change is happening now, and employers must act.”

Flexibility required on both sides

Overseas assignments have changed, and employers must respond to this. Global mobility now often means much shorter stays at a wider variety of destinations, with a greater tendency for employees to spend just a few weeks at a time in any one place. Employers need to move quickly to provide the appropriate cover for these new global movement trends.

Increased in-country employment

There is a growing move towards global companies employing people from within each relevant country, as opposed to posting staff abroad from the home country. This means that there is a greater need for employers to source local health and wellbeing support for local people. For employers based in a different country from their staff, for instance if they are UK-based and trying to arrange support abroad, this can be challenging. It is important to tap into local expertise as there are different health and wellbeing regulations in each country. Introducing the appropriate support is vital or employers will leave themselves open to issues.

Global healthcare systems under pressure

The UK has become very aware of the pressures on the NHS, but this is not confined locally. Healthcare systems around the world are struggling and costs have increased greatly. Employers must now reassess what options they really need to offer for health and wellbeing and what areas are most important to their staff. More emphasis may be needed on screening and diagnostics, to identify issues early. Employers may also want to look at putting more comprehensive support in place, for overseas staff in particular. Flexibility over benefit design will be important to ensure the support meets individual needs.

New demands from overseas employees

Employees working abroad are looking for their employers to support them in new ways. There is now a greater focus on health and wellbeing. With people working remotely, their needs have changed and so have attitudes and ways of accessing support. Digital healthcare is now in greater demand, with virtual GPs and wellbeing apps and hubs embraced. Employers must look to adopt new technologies for greater support if they are to retain their talent.

Sarah Dennis said: “The requirements for health and wellbeing support differ from employer to employer and from country to country. What one employee may not need whilst in one area, may be vital cover in their next location. The impact of the great resignation will differ by sector and by country. Retaining talent comes down to offering a flexible approach, tailored on an individual basis. With global employees, this support will also need to adapt according to the country they are working in at the time. Benefits in 2022 are about flexibility, flexibility, flexibility.”