The Importance of Having a Diverse & Inclusive Benefits Offering

Diversity and inclusion are good for business—if you’re into profitability, growth and innovation, that is.

“Organizations with inclusive cultures are two times as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, three times as likely to be high-performing, six times more likely to be innovative and agile, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes,” according to a recent article published by Inc.

Indeed, the correlation between positive business outcomes and diversity and inclusion (D&I) has been substantiated again and again by researchers such as McKinsey & Company (check out its Delivering through diversity study) and Deloitte (see its Global Human Capital Trends report). Even so, as the Inc. piece observed, while 71% of organizations aspire to have an inclusive culture, many struggle to achieve this goal.

One major stumbling block tripping them up: failure to align employee benefits with their commitment to D&I.

Inclusivity Extends Beyond Gender and Race

Your company’s hiring practices, employee development/promotion policies, and leadership principles are all crucial elements of your commitment to D&I. But they can be seriously undermined by poorly conceived and curated benefits.

“Good work on diversity and inclusion can be undone by benefits that do not align with diversity,” declares PricewaterhouseCoopers in Inclusion and Diversity – how employee benefits can show you mean what you say. “If we only give employees leave when their child is born, but not when they adopt a child, what message does this send? Getting (benefits) design wrong may turn our messages upside down.”

Inclusivity Extends Beyond Gender and Race

That’s a message worth heeding, especially when updating or enhancing your employee benefits (something you should be doing on a regular basis to bolster your talent attraction and retention initiatives). When rethinking benefits, employers often consider adding programs that enhance gender and racial inclusiveness. Of course, this is absolutely essential. However, they frequently overlook programs that are inclusive of another important group: their employees’ family members—children, elder loved ones, even their pets.

By implementing programs that address the needs of all family members, you’re showing workers in no uncertain terms that you care about and respect them as people, not just as “workers.” You’re acknowledging the significant responsibilities and concerns they have beyond their work life. And you’re showing respect for their “families” no matter how they define that term—whether they’re caring for children, older family members or friends, or pets.

All of this speaks volumes about you as a respectful and inclusive employer, and it can have a powerful, positive impact on how your employment brand is perceived in the marketplace.

Inclusive Benefits Worth Investing In

Here are five benefit programs that will help employees take better care of their families and better align your company with D&I:

1. Senior Care Management ProgramsMore than 1 in 6 working Americans are assisting with the care of an elderly or disabled family member, relative or friend. Full-time workers who act as caregivers miss an average of 6 workdays per year, amounting to 126 million missed workdays each year. Giving your employees access to a senior care management program helps them understand their aging loved ones’ unique needs, identify professional caregiving resources, and assist employees in implementing care recommendations—all of which can help slash those lost workdays and the stress that comes with caregiving.

Senior Care Management

2. Backup Care Programs—These programs give employees access to reliable caregiving alternatives when their regular arrangements break down. The best backup care resources: are available 24/7/365; give employees access to live care representatives, not just an online database of caregivers; are highly flexible, allowing employees to use (and pay) trusted family members and friends as backup caregivers; and provide caregiving resources for children, older loved ones, pets, and employees themselves. The demand for backup care programs continues to escalate; in 2017, utilization of LifeCare’s Backup Care Connection program increased more than 40%, and in 2018, LifeCare’s client organizations accounted for more than 70,000 visits to alternate care providers.

3. Wellness Programs—Wellness is another area where you can be inclusive and address a wide range of issues and needs. For example, you might focus on educating employees about specific health risks. Or you could provide preventative services such as biometric screenings. Or you could concentrate on specific problems such as diabetes, nutrition, smoking cessation or financial wellness. In fact, financial wellness is such a pervasive concern these days that LifeCare saw a 74% increase in requests for financial hardship counseling in 2018. Whatever you choose to focus on, giving employees access to wellness programs will pay dividends in improved employee health and your company’s alignment to D&I.

4. Pet Care Support Programs— For many of your employees, pets are family. Pets are also good for their health, happiness and productivity. So supporting pet care for your employees—particularly those who travel frequently for business—is a smart move. Pet care support can include telephonic access to specialists who can help locate veterinarians and other professional resources; pet backup care for times when employees travel or when their regular vets aren’t available; and discounts on pet supplies and services. If you think of pet care as a “niche” issue, think again: LifeCare saw a 72% increase in requests for assistance with pet care in 2018.

Pet Care Support Programs

5. Career Development & Educational Support Programs—We’re not suggesting you pick up the educational tab for everyone in employees’ families! Your inclusiveness only needs to extend to your workers, but the career/educational programs you launch should help employees no matter what stage they’re at in their careers, what functions they work in, or whatever their professional goals are. These programs can include tuition reimbursement, student loan repayment assistance, internal coaching and mentoring programs, training workshops, and a host of other options. As research shows, career and educational support not only enhances your commitment to D&I but it also improves employee retention and the growth of your business.

Clearly, you should factor diversity and inclusion into your employee benefits. Otherwise you risk creating a serious disconnect in your messaging to win new talent, not to mention undermining the performance of your employees and your company.

As it turns out, your c-suite most likely wants greater alignment with D&I as well. A study by The Economist found that the majority of global business leaders it surveyed believe D&I promote better talent management (71%), employee satisfaction (64%), and corporate reputation (57%).

If you’d like to discuss implementing these and other work-life programs at your organization, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.