Employee benefits, alongside other elements of the employee experience, have an important role to play in supporting an organisation’s DEI goals.  

As Zaheer Ahmad, Global Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at Heleon explains, employers need to take a holistic approach to improving DEI: “Inclusion encompasses so many things. It is about fair pay and rewards. It’s about respect and trust, being treated respectfully and being valued within the workplace. And it’s about access to opportunities as well. Inclusion needs to be overlayed with equity, recognising that some people and some groups within the workforce have greater needs.” 

Our latest report shares key findings from recent Zellis research, and asks the question: how can you create a more inclusive benefits package? Our experts share seven top benefits to consider for an inclusive flexible benefit scheme. 

7 flexible benefits to add to your benefits package

1. Private Medical Insurance

Private Medical Insurance (PMI) provides access to private medical treatment paths and helps cover costs from diagnoses through to consultations and treatment. PMI providers are reviewing their provisions and looking to introduce options to modernise their offering, providing personalised support for a variety of health needs, including gender identity and neurodiversity.  

2. Healthcare Cash Plan 

A Healthcare Cash Plan allows employees to claim back the costs of everyday healthcare throughout the year. Healthcare Cash Plans often give access to dental and optical check-ups, physiotherapy, inoculations, and private health screenings. With the increases to the cost of living it helps employees when paying for everyday healthcare costs that they might not otherwise be able to afford. 

3. Dashly 

Dashly is a free financial wellbeing solution that searches every day to ensure homeowners have the best mortgage deal for their unique circumstances. It monitors individual mortgages against the entire market 24/7 to find better deals. When it does, it puts the employee in touch with their adviser to work out whether it's right for them.  

4. Critical illness insurance 

Critical Illness Cover offers a lump-sum pay-out in the event that employees are diagnosed with a serious illness that’s defined by the scheme – providing financial support to affected families and individuals to people can focus on getting better rather than worrying about medical or household bills.  


5. Life-stage support 

Syrona Health and Bupa Menopause products can both support employees throughout various stages of health they will experience during work. SORA is a life-stage digital health tool that provides clinical and holistic support through evidence-based research for women, men, trans and non-binary individuals on health issues such as Fertility, Sexual Health, Endometriosis, PCOS, Uterine Fibroids, Parenthood, Cardiovascular, Menopause/Andropause, Cancer and Mental Health Support.  

6. Cycle-to-work 

A cycle-to-work benefit lets physically abled employees afford higher-quality (and thus longer-lasting) cycling equipment. Electric bikes are also available on the scheme so people with certain physical disabilities could potentially benefit from this. For many employees who have limited means to transport or leisure activities, a bike can be invaluable, as well as supporting environmentally conscious employees. 

7. EAP 

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is considered a fundamental basic in workplaces, but it’s also a fantastic resource to make your benefits scheme more accessible and inclusive. Being able to access guidance, advice and even counselling via the EAP can be a lifeline for employees who can’t afford to wait for NHS support or pay for private counselling. What’s more, with phone and online help, the service becomes far more accessible to those employees unable to leave home, or who  may be hesitant to ask for help in-person.  

Time for action 

To ensure your benefits package is really meeting the needs of individuals, surveying your employees is an important first steps. Indeed, the research showed that employees recognise the role that they themselves need to play to deliver tangible improvements. 80% of employees agree that organisations cannot make positive change around diversity and inclusion without input from their employees. 

Channel 4 recently saw the impact of using employee-led networks to review benefits, with their 4Womeon network having identified the need for a menopause policy, which was designed to support and educate employees around menopause. Charlotte Mounsey, Pensions and Benefits Manager at Channel 4 explains that "as a result, Channel 4 was the first media company to have a menopause policy which made global news.” 

Read the report 

Download our inclusive benefits report to explore the key findings from the latest Zellis research, uncover actionable steps to improve DEI, and explore our considerations for creating a more inclusive benefits package.