International Schools: Do You Care Enough About Your Teachers?

To stay competitive in the talent market, international schools are pressured to provide superior medical benefits packages for teachers. How can they select the right benefits partner to help them do this?

International Schools: Do You Care Enough About Your Teachers?

19 Oct 2018 by  Erik Gyllenhammer

As organisations around the world look to retain their best talent with attractive opportunities for career development, mobility has become a key factor in sustaining high business performance. However, moving employees from one country to another involves more than just the employees themselves—it also involves moving their spouses and children.

As a result, this evolution in talent management has also brought rise to the internationalisation of education. Across Asia, the continent with the greatest market potential, international schools are opening or expanding campuses to enrol children of the booming expatriate population.

This brings about the need to attract teachers for these schools—and not just any teachers, but the highest-quality ones.

But, what are the challenges?

Teachers at international schools are a diverse group of employees, coming from Australia, the USA, all across Europe, the UK, and many parts of Asia. In many of these countries, they are accustomed to enjoying comprehensive benefits packages—which they expect to be matched, or even topped, when they come to Asia.

To stay competitive in the talent market, international schools are pressured to provide superior medical benefits packages. At the same time, they face the challenges of keeping costs efficient, reducing the amount of administration to be managed by the lean HR teams, and selecting the right advisory partner that can ensure seamlessness in the claims and payment processes for their most important employees.

What should your medical benefits partner look like?

Creating a medical benefits package is not something that HR leaders can, or should, do on their own. The help of professional advisers is critical—even mandatory, in some markets—so as to ensure that regulations are met. When designing and managing benefits for their teachers, school administrators must take into account the following considerations:

1. Industry benchmarking

To effectively compete for top talent, it’s crucial to understand what other international schools are doing when it comes to medical benefits. This means having access to data that can provide a benchmark of industry trends and best practices, so that you are empowered to make the best decisions.

2. Minimising ‘paperwork’, for both administrators and users

In the international education industry, HR teams tend to be very lean—sometimes, even comprising just a one-person department managing employees in more than one campus across a large country such as China, Indonesia, or Malaysia.

A medical benefits platform that requires minimal administrator intervention, relying instead on intuitive user-managed processes, will help reduce your administrative burden. It should also be able to offer a positive experience for teachers as they submit claims, check on the status of their claims, update their personal details, and more. In developed markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and China, smartphone-enabled technology (either through apps or mobile-enabled websites) as well as advanced features such as cashless claims and direct settlement capabilities are essential.

3. Data and analytics

Today, health concerns such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes are prevalent across different age groups, and international schools are compelled to ensure both adequate and continuity of cover as teachers transition from their home countries to Asia. And the only way to understand the effectiveness of your medical benefits plan is to study the data.

Applications like Aon Pulse enables administrators like you to review user and claims data, and restructure your benefit offerings along the way—saving you both time and money. This data can also be used to support your budgeting processes, and plan employment contracts for future hires.

4. Customised plans

Many international schools are limited by off-the-shelf plans offered by their existing insurers or advisers, yet each talent pool in each school is unique—and their medical benefits plans should be too.

This is why your partner should work collaboratively with not just one or a few insurers, but a broad selection of them in order to customise a plan that meets each school’s unique requirements. This enables international schools to look after their teachers’ real needs, and in real time.

While the challenges in attracting and retaining the top teachers in international education may be wide-ranging, comprehensive medical benefits packages have a significant part to play in encouraging teachers to choose your international school over a competitor. Ultimately, what teachers seek is an employer that provides meaningful ways to improve their lives—just as they are doing for their students.

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Need advice on your medical benefits package for teachers? Get in touch with us.

Erik Gyllenhammer

Erik has a university degree in Accounting along with 30 years health and benefits experience working in both the US and Australia. During his 12 years at Aon, Erik has led Health & Benefits broking and placement teams in addition to providing strategic account management to a number of Aon’s multinational clients. In his current role, within Aon’s Asia region Expatriate Medical Centre of Excellence, Erik develops and delivers innovative and commercial expatriate medical insurance solutions for our clients.

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Erik Gyllenhammer