How to support employee wellness in an international team

Whether you’re managing a team of remote workers, or employees who are permanently situated in offices around the globe, it’s important to ensure that everyone’s well-being is equally supported. Keeping an eye on colleagues who work in the same building can be straightforward, but making sure that team members on the other side of the world feel just as looked-after is another thing entirely.

Rather than taking a passive approach, and hoping that employees will come to you in the event that they have an issue, it’s crucial that HR teams and senior staff are proactive in offering support. If you’re unsure of the most effective ways to invest time and budget in international employee wellness, here are some simple strategies that are not to be overlooked.

Have a well-being champion within the team. Though it’s important that all senior team members have an awareness of issues that may arise around employee well-being, and tactics for solving these problems, having a dedicated Mental Health First Aider or other well being practitioner in your team is advisable.

Any job role that is left to a group, without anyone having sole responsibility, can fall by the wayside. With wellness, there is a risk that those who might most need support are unsure who to go to, particularly when your team is working in multiple locations.

Choose someone to act as the well being champion, who can become a point of contact for those in need of support and who will actively reach out to teammates abroad to check in on their wellness.

PREMIUM CONTENT: The Talent Crunch: Recruiting and Retention Strategies in a Tight Labor Market

Offer supportive employee benefits. It’s sometimes said that simply having the option of free healthcare can reduce people’s stress levels, and make them less likely to need it in the first place. Whatever you believe, arranging supportive benefits such as global health cover and Employee Assistance Programs is undoubtedly wise when you’re managing a team that works internationally.

Sometimes businesses will create health plans for in-country team members, which won’t necessarily suit the scope of cover or regulatory requirements of employees working abroad. As needs, demands, requirements and regulations could differ according to situations and countries, scalable employee benefits across geographies might not be achievable or appropriate on a like-for-like basis. It might be more appropriate to talk about analysing the needs of employees no matter where they’re based to ensure they have access to appropriate quality care and support.

Offering comprehensive health coverage as a benefit will not only encourage staff to stick around, it can also ensure that there are no major barriers to feeling well, whether physically or mentally. As well as covering the cost of things like health checks and counselling, this type of employee benefit can also ensure that colleagues have access to the same standards of healthcare no matter where they are in the world.

Stay in touch. One very simple, but very important, act is to simply stay in touch with your employees. Remote workers and international teams are at higher risk of feeling isolated or forgotten about when compared to head office or ‘main location’ colleagues. Do your best to ensure that this is not the case, by encouraging a company culture where managers working in separate locations schedule regular check-ins with teams abroad, ideally via video chat so that there is an element of face-to-face meeting.

Though not all colleagues will feel confident opening up to managers about their everyday struggles and concerns, it’s important that the option be there, and that international teams are reminded that they are not being forgotten or overlooked.

Tabby Farrar

Tabby Farrar
Tabby Farrar is a researcher and copywriter specializing in workplace mental health and wellness. She currently works alongside a number of international organizations, including Aetna International.

Tabby Farrar

Share This Post


Related Articles

Powered by ·