Beyond Perks: How Inclusive Employee Benefits Shape Impactful D&I Culture

Beyond Perks: How Inclusive Employee Benefits Shape Impactful D&I Culture

Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever, making diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives essential for a healthy workplace. With 72% of job seekers considering leaving their current roles for more inclusive environments, HR teams face an unprecedented demand to foster spaces where everyone, irrespective of identity or role, feels valued in all areas of the workplace.

Most companies today view D&I as a business priority – recognizing its impact on boosting retention rates, enhancing resilience, and driving revenue growth. Despite this, only 27% of HR consider inclusive employee benefits as a key D&I strategy. This article discusses the significance of tailoring benefits to individualized needs and how to establish an impactful benefits plan that supports diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Defining Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Understanding diversity and inclusion’s distinct roles in the workforce is key to creating an inclusive benefits plan. A diverse workplace is comprised of employees from different races, ethnicities, abilities, genders, sexual orientations, neurodiversity, and more. On the other hand, an inclusive workplace ensures everyone is treated fairly, with equal access to opportunities and the ability to contribute fully.

Fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace reaps significant benefits for organizations. D&I not only drives better health outcomes and higher morale in productivity, but employee retention rates that are 5.4 times higher, showing a strong correlation with enhanced business performance.

In one Harvard Business Review survey, it’s stated that companies excelling in diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% higher EBIT margins. Another study found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

Diversity and inclusion initiatives are vital for fostering respect and belonging among employees. These strategies are also key in bolstering a company’s overall success.

How Inclusive Benefits Boost D&I Efforts

While employee benefits packages have traditionally been a key factor in successful talent recruitment, its potential to foster diversity and inclusion is often overlooked. Employers usually present benefits as a one-size-fits-all package, failing to meet the needs of a diverse workforce of unique individuals with unique needs.

For example, free gym membership can benefit employees who live near selected outlets or prioritize gym membership but excludes employees with different circumstances that need separate priorities fulfilled. Employers must recognize that fulfilment looks different for everyone and can honor this by offering benefits that cater to their people’s personal challenges, career goals, mental health, and hobbies. The result is a satisfied workforce eager to contribute value to the company.

Companies offering inclusive benefits are already reaping the rewards. Chipotle reported a retention rate three-and-a-half times higher among employees after implementing their comprehensive education assistance program. In The Everest Group’s report on Top Employers for Tech Talent, Alliance Bernstein topped the list, scoring high in metrics like employee satisfaction and compensation and benefits thanks to the organization’s long list of D&I programs.

Key Components of Inclusive Employee Benefits

There are different categories of employee benefits to consider when building an inclusive benefits plan. These are usually benefits related to work, health, financial security, and lifestyle. As the landscape of work evolves, employees’ needs will too – so it’s vital that employers regularly reassess benefit offerings across all categories to stay relevant and competitive.

Comprehensive mental health plans, tuition assistance, and flexible scheduling are all examples of in-demand benefits. To support new parents, Hewlett Packard Enterprise offers six months of parental leave and transition support, applicable for mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents. Gender-neutral benefits like this are worth considering when forming your benefits plan.

While benefits themselves are important, equal thought must be put into how your employees can best utilize them for the long-term success of your inclusive benefits plan. Implementing a flexible system is one way to ensure employees have access to a wide range of benefits that they can customize and reselect annually. This empowers your people to decide which benefits matter most to them at different stages of life. Flexible plans also fill a gap that traditional benefit offerings often don’t account for with the multigenerational makeup of today’s workforce.

Kickstarting an Inclusive Employee Benefits Plan

A strategic step-by-step process is required to create an impactful benefits plan.

Establish Your Objectives and Budget

Before deciding on your budget, clearly define the goals you want to achieve. What kind of benefits do you want to offer? How do those benefits align with the values and culture you want to cultivate? How will you measure the success of your program? Answering these questions will give you a solid foundation that adds to the long-term success and impact of your plan.

Identify What Your People Need

The easiest way to understand what your employees need is to ask them. Sending out comprehensive surveys or organizing focus groups can help eliminate guesswork, make employees feel heard, and provide insight into employees’ priorities surrounding benefits.

Build and Implement Your Plan

Bolstered by the knowledge of employees’ needs and budget limitations, you can now begin to compile a list of potential benefits. There should always be a balance between advocating for inclusive, flexible benefits while simultaneously continuously enhancing traditional offerings like healthcare.

Once you build and implement your plan, it’s vital that all employees are aware of the offered benefits and should regularly be reminded to utilize them fully. Consider orientation meetings for new hires and frequent refresher talks for veteran employees. Uploading a video of your latest benefits offerings to a shared platform is another option to ensure your employees have easy access to benefits information.

Encourage Continuous Employee Feedback

Keeping the lines of communication open so that employees can offer consistent feedback about their benefits is crucial to the long-term success of an inclusive employee benefits plan. Continue utilizing surveys and feedback forms to learn how to keep improving and adapting to your people’s changing needs.

Partner With Diverse Benefits Suppliers to Enhance Efforts

Working with diverse benefits suppliers and vendors can significantly enhance your employee benefits strategy. Often owned and operated by marginalized or underserved communities, diverse benefits suppliers have the expertise to curate inclusive employee benefits plans tailored to your workforce’s needs and help drive value to your business.

Leveraging e-procurement platforms that champion minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) or partnering with nonprofits like the National Veteran Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) are good starting points to grow your ecosystem of diverse suppliers.

Addressing Roadblocks When Executing an Inclusive Benefits Plan

Roadblocks are inevitable when trying to effectively execute an inclusive employee benefits plan. Here’s how you can overcome a few common ones.

Resistance to Change

A lack of understanding about the importance of D&I initiatives can result in resistance from employees – particularly majority groups who experience “status threats” when inclusion efforts are implemented. To address this, involve everyone in the planning and implementation of the intended benefits program. Clearly communicate its merits and impact on the business and workplace dynamic.

Lack of C-Suite Support

Getting C-suite support for an inclusive benefits program is one of the most crucial roadblocks to overcome. Some leaders may not view it as a priority or feel that existing D&I efforts are sufficient.

As the primary driver of D&I efforts, the HR function can overcome this challenge by presenting the business case for inclusive employee benefits. Collecting and showcasing data from successful D&I programs in other companies can also be an effective way of garnering C-suite attention.

Weak Training Strategies and “Checklist” D&I Plans

Before diving into comprehensive staff training on inclusive employee benefits, it’s crucial for company leadership to thoughtfully plan how to sustain diversity and inclusion within the organization. This step is vital in paving the way towards success.

The idea is that support from well-informed leadership is paramount in deterring “box-checking” initiatives that have no real impact in embedding a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. Your workforce should have sufficient training after leadership teams have put in the work to understand what it takes to sustain D&I efforts.

Key Metrics for Measuring Success

To track the success of your inclusive benefits efforts, it’s critical to leverage the right metrics to get holistic results. Employee engagement, turnover rates, retention rates, and employee satisfaction are a few key metrics to include when measuring success. If one of your goals is to drive business performance or growth, ROI metrics like innovation revenue, market share, and business revenue can be useful in understanding how your efforts have influenced your bottom line.

Remember, measuring success and data collection is just one aspect. HR teams and company leadership must strive to make their workforce’s voice heard by acting on feedback. By adapting to workforce needs and recognizing that benefits plans should evolve, not stagnate – employees will recognize your commitment to meaningful D&I impact.

Tap into the Potential of Inclusive Employee Benefits With Baldwin Risk Partners

In the ever-evolving business landscape, standing out as an employer requires innovative strategies. Integrating diversity and inclusion into employee benefits may be an untapped strategy that can significantly impact employee experiences and business growth. With Baldwin Risk Partners, you’ll get expert guidance on designing employee benefits packages that meet your team’s needs and boost business performance. Connect with us today to discover how to harness the power of employee benefits to drive diversity and inclusion in your workplace.

Essential Insurance Coverage NGOs Should Consider
As your organization works to advance its mission, the focus on safeguarding personnel is of paramount...
Employer’s Balancing Act: Part 3
The Role of an Experienced Advisor in Your Employee Benefits Lifecycle.   In Parts One and Two of...
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Solutions and Strategies to Help Equalize Cost While Offering In-Demand Benefits. In Part One of this...

Table of Contents

Essential Insurance Coverage NGOs Should Consider
As your organization works to advance its mission, the focus on safeguarding personnel is of paramount...
Employer’s Balancing Act: Part 3
The Role of an Experienced Advisor in Your Employee Benefits Lifecycle.   In Parts One and Two of...
Employer’s Balancing Act: Part 2
Solutions and Strategies to Help Equalize Cost While Offering In-Demand Benefits. In Part One of this...
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