COVID-19 and bonuses: taking care of employees and your bottom line The role of the global mobility practitioner continues to evolve throughout the current COVID-19 crisis. While traditional assignments may have slowed for the time being, in many ways, the global mobility team has been pulled into many new types of discussions, and mobility professionals are looking for data to support the business as these new questions arise. One thing Mercer has seen quite a bit of over the past months is the provision of new, targeted bonuses, designed to achieve various aims. In some areas, companies want to provide additional compensation or incentive bonuses as a token of gratitude for employees working through new, and newly challenging, conditions. Other organizations are trying to set up their employees for success in the new work from home environment, and are providing additional compensation to help them build out a fuller home office space. Regardless of the specific purpose, the provision of these new bonuses presents new challenges. Particularly, how do you provide these in a way that is sustainable and equitable? And in economically uncertain times, how do you make sure you’re taking care of your employees – potentially in multiple different countries, with vastly differing costs of goods and services – without breaking the bank? Mercer has been working closely with many organizations to apply the economic and cost of living data we collect throughout the world in a new way that addresses these needs. Traditionally, Mercer’s Cost of Living indices are used to calculate cost of living allowances, which serve to bridge the gap in costs from a local at home to an expat in a new city, but the underlying purpose has always revolved around protecting purchasing power. As organizations have been looking to provide new bonuses to address current challenges, Mercer has been able to take a version of our indices and apply them to bonus figures to calculate an “indexed bonus” amount. For example, we can determine what a $1,000 USD bonus should be in another country’s currency to ensure it could purchase the same basket of goods as in the US. This is both more accurate and equitable than just converting using current exchange rates. During each of the client projects we have conducted so far, we’ve found that it saves client’s money in the allowances they are delivering. Though each organization’s approach to compensating employees throughout the current situation is unique, know that Mercer already collects a vast amount of cost and economic data and we are happy to talk through how we may be able to repurpose that data to help you solve current challenges. Get in touch today to discuss your needs with the Mercer Mobility consultant in your area.