The study found that nearly a third are using social media website Facebook to connect with their expat workers. However there is still a tribe of traditionalists as two-fifths of businesses use post as the primary way to engage with their staff.
Despite Facebook rising in popularity, newer social media platforms have had little impact on the way businesses communicate. Only a tenth use Twitter and 4% said that they use picture sharing website, Instagram. In terms of the effectiveness of contacting staff by these means businesses said that email was top, followed by post and then Facebook.
The research found that nearly a third of employees are posted overseas for three to six months, with regular return trips to the UK, while a further third said that they place staff overseas for six months to a year.
For those employees living overseas for long periods, the most requested benefits package is private health insurance, with a quarter of staff asking for this from their employers. Private health cover for dependents was also popular, along with nearly a fifth asking for critical illness cover, and nearly one in ten requested a relocation allowance. The research findings reflect the need to provide employees with a flexible benefits package.
Employers were also asked how they think their employees would like to submit private medical insurance claims. Over two-fifths suggested doing this via email and only one in ten would request a postal form, indicating that employees do prefer virtual communication thanks to its speed and efficiency.