Let’s Get Real About Inclusive Benefits

Employers and employees alike are tackling topics of race and ethnicity more than ever before, but a broad Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy should include all facets of diversity and should value the contributions of people from different backgrounds and experiences. Yet, according to Mercer’s Let’s Get Real About Equality Report, 81% of US organizations are focused on DEI but only 38% have a multi-year DEI strategy.

By taking a holistic view of DEI and recognizing that driving inclusion requires cultural and behavioral change, organizations can reap extensive rewards. A diverse, equitable and inclusive environment can improve business performance and increase profits by bringing an organization:

  • Engaged and energized talent – Employees can be themselves and express their full potential
  • Connection – Organizations can better connect with customers, the business ecosystem, supply chain and communities
  • Innovation – Innovation that relies on different perspectives to solve problems, identify new opportunities, develop desirable products, and create improved solutions
  • Brand – A brand that is better aligned with the future workforce and critical skills needed for business success

One way organizations can foster this type of environment is to ensure its benefit offerings are inclusive, meaning employers should address the gaps and disparities in benefit plan offerings to optimize the health, productivity, well-being and financial protection for underrepresented groups. Mercer’s latest spot survey reveals that only 30% of US employers are expecting to make inclusive benefits a key area of focus in 2021.

Employer-provided benefits have failed to specifically focus on the needs of underrepresented groups, or have only provided partial coverage. Inclusive benefits are integral to an organization’s broader DEI strategy. Some examples of providing inclusive benefits are a provider network directory with demographics like race and gender, coverage of gender affirmation treatment, training providers on culturally and linguistically appropriate care, and solutions to identify and address social determinants of health.

For more information on how your organization can take a holistic view of diversity, equity and inclusion, visit Mercer’s latest POV on the topic here.

Michael Garrett
by Michael Garrett

Principal, Total Health Management, Mercer

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