A recent report by our parent company Zellis, highlights the critical role that DEI will play within talent management and acquisition strategies, with two thirds (66%) of employees stating that their employer’s approach to DEI now has a significant impact on how they feel about staying in their current role. The report highlighted considerable progress, but also found that 46% of employees who identify as being a member of a minority group have experienced feelings of alienation or of not being welcome in the workplace. One of the most interesting findings was that many employees feel their employers are talking about DEI more than they are taking action 

There’s growing urgency to move the needle on DEI; how can your benefits strategy support your DEI objectives? 

Employee benefits leaders can start by assessing their benefits through two lenses: 

  1. Accessibility (who is the benefit available to) and  

  2. Flexibility (how can it be applied?) 

At a top level, this means ensuring your benefits are open to all, and that selection processes, eligibility criteria and communications don’t inadvertently exclude anyone. There’s already been a shift away from a one-size-fits-all approach to benefits and communications; many organisations are instead opting for a more personalised approach. Here are five questions to ask when reviewing the inclusivity of your benefits. 

5 questions to ask when reviewing your benefits strategy 

1. Does your benefit scheme support people across all life stages?  

For example, have you considered offering menopause support? Earlier this year, a UK survey of 2,000 women aged 45 to 67 revealed that a quarter of women are unhappy at work due to a lack of menopause support, with over 60% stating that their workplace does not have a menopause policy in place. Employee benefits like Syrona’s let employees track menopause symptoms and access menopause specialists who they might otherwise not have access to through the NHS. Specialists can offer support when it comes to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and alternative treatments. Providing access to specialised care is a small step for employers that can make a huge difference for their workforces, while also keeping them secure within the legal framework.  

2. Do your insurance benefits inadvertently discriminate against minority groups by being based on seniority?  

Traditionally, a higher level of core benefits has been reserved for higher-paid earners (who are more likely to be white males), and not offered to more junior employees – therefore minority groups often ended up being excluded. However, more employers are starting to offer the same benefits to all employees, regardless of seniority – which helps to reduce financial inequality and improve the financial wellbeing of employees.  

How can you help address this gap? Health cash plans help employees by reimbursing them for everyday health costs such as dental, optical care, private health screenings and physiotherapy. Making this level of care available to all employees goes some way to providing more equal access to all.  

3. Do you have financial wellbeing benefits that address disparities in pay and pensions?  

An often-overlooked area of diversity and inclusion when it comes to employee benefits is retirement and financial planning. Ethnic minority pensioners are on average 24% worse off than white pensioners. Things like lower average earnings drive this ethnicity gap. But evidence also highlights very different financial wellbeing experiences between employees.  

4. How physically accessible is healthcare for your employees? 

A virtual GP benefit is rapidly becoming a must-have for employers wanting to offer flexibility and address difficulties with access to healthcare for those less physically abled employees or those that find it hard to travel. Digital healthcare gives employees access to phone and video GP consultations, plus prescription deliveries too.  

5. Does your benefit scheme reflect all types of modern families?  

Benefit schemes have developed cover for all kinds of life partnerships and family structures. Caring responsibilities can have a huge impact on employees, with some employees balancing care for parents and care for their children. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can sometimes include elder care providers, mental health support (to assist the employee), financial planning or legal services.  

Download our Inclusive benefits report to read expert insights, see the top seven benefits to include in an inclusive benefits scheme and see what actions organisations can take to increase inclusion.