Are the employee benefits you offer accessible to all staff regardless of identity or background?
This is a major question that businesses ask themselves as they take conscious strides to build and nurture a diverse and inclusive workplace. Strides that go beyond what they need to do as set out in employment law. So, we thought it would be helpful to explore some of the steps you can take towards creating an inclusive employee benefits plan that better supports your D&I initiatives.
Before we get on to this, it’s important to note that diversity and inclusivity come as an inseparable pair. Businesses with a diverse workforce should also make sure that no-one feels left out. When it comes to employee benefits, they need to be accessible to everyone not just a select few.
The benefits of a diverse workforce are summed up in a nutshell by Inclusive Employer: ‘the greater the mix of people in your business, the greater the mix of skills, experiences, perspectives and ideas you can draw on’. Diverse teams simply perform better – they are also more creative and innovative. Investing in your D&I strategy means you are investing in the people that grow your business.
4 action points to consider when developing an inclusive employee benefits package
- Ensure there is a shared understanding of what inclusion means
As a business you’ll need to work out what inclusion means. There’s some really helpful research on this by Deloitte Insights. The study revealed that a holistic definition comprises of four interlinked yet separate elements:
- Fairness & respect – this is the starting point for inclusion where employees are treated ‘equitably and with respect’ and they participate without favouritism
- Feeling valued & belonging – where people believe that their unique and authentic self is valued by others while they also feel connected to a group
- Safe and open – people feel confident to speak out
- Empowerment & growing – employees are inspired to be the best they can be
A shared understanding can give HR professionals a framework to assess the benefits and perks already on offer and evolve the offering to create an inclusive benefits package that is accessible by all.
- Ask the question
It’s important to be open with staff and ask about the benefits that are most valued and best support the needs of a diverse group of employees. It’s also crucial that employees feel confident to speak up to make sure their needs are being met.
- Rethink company cultures
Research by Glassdoor found that 66% of employees feel their company culture is ambivalent, discouraging or sends mixed messages about taking time off. Employers may need to rethink company cultures to make sure all staff, regardless of identity or background, are able to take time off when they need to. A clear policy and open communication on employee benefits that offer staff flexibility in the time they take off will also better support diversity.
- Think about how you recruit and retain the future
Millennials and Generation Z place a premium on working for a business that takes active steps to build an inclusive, diverse culture. This is what the latest research tells us. Take the 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey for example. It found that when Millennials are looking for work, they put a ‘great deal’ or ‘fair amount’ of importance on the gender, ethnicity, age and general range of backgrounds of an employer’s workforce. An inclusive employee benefits package shows these prospective employees that you actively champion diversity in the company.
The research also found a strong link between those that planned to stay where they are and those that said their employer had the best financial performance, community impact, talent development and diversity and inclusion.
These are just two of the generations in the workforce though. Don’t forget about the needs of baby boomers and Generation X when you are assessing your benefit plan. It needs to reflect the needs of multi-generational teams.
In our next post we’ll be taking a look at the types of inclusive employee benefits that underpin forward-thinking diversity and inclusion programmes so be sure to check back.
Rethinking your plan? Let’s talk to see how we can help.