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Creating Greater Support for Diversity and Inclusion with Group Insurance

Posted on the 03 July 2018 by Pacificprime @ThePacificPrime

Modern work environments shouldn't just be about having kitsch, funky work spaces. It's also about creating a non-physical environment that supports the changing face of the people who work within your office. Diversity and inclusion goals are becoming more and more common in today's workplaces for the benefits they bring - but have you considered whether your employee benefits or group insurance works with those goals?

In this week's article, Pacific Prime highlights the key things you need to know when it comes to understanding how a well designed employee benefits strategy can help your company meet its diversity and inclusion goals.

Creating greater support for diversity and inclusion with group insurance

What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity at work is the use of any dimension to differentiate groups and people from one another, done so in a way to empower people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different. It goes beyond the simple act of tolerance by learning to truly value differences for the various benefits they can offer; whether it's on a personal colleague-to-colleague level, or on a wider company scale.

Inclusion in the workplace relates to efforts and practices within an organization to not only accept but welcome and treat equally different groups or individuals of different backgrounds. When done correctly, every staff member should feel a sense of belonging within a company - not just as a worker with a role to perform, but as a person whose experiences and perspectives might be different from the majority, but are still relevant in their own right.

The benefits of diversity and inclusion

The unequal performance of companies in the same industry and country implied that diversity is a competitive differentiator that moves market share away from less diverse companies. The reason more diverse companies were said to do better was because of these key advantages:

  • Increasing talent pools for all levels of recruiting
  • Orienting their business with a wider consumer/customer base
  • Improving staff satisfaction and culture
  • Fostering innovation and creativity through multiple, differing perspectives
  • Enhancing the company's reputation and meeting local equity legislation

Consider, for example , global giant Johnson & Johnson who have invested a lot of resources into creating a Global Diversity and Inclusion vision, including various rewards and recognitions that have seen the company lauded by the U.S. Veterans Magazine and placed on the Working Mother 100 Best list for the past 28 years. The first quarter of this year has seen J&J's revenue increase by 13% this year to USD 20 billion.

Kaiser Permanente, similarly, has a staff of more than 177,500 worldwide - and nearly 60% of those employees are people of color. The staffing statistics also boast an even 50/50 gender split on their executive team and around one-third of their physicians are female. It has ranked in the Top 5 of DiversityInc's best list for the past six years, and recently received the Women's Choice Award for top insurance and hospital in California.

Why consider group insurance as part of a diversity and inclusion strategy?

According to a study by Employee Benefits/Xerox HR Services Benefits , only 24% of businesses in 2016 considered diversity and inclusion as a key issue shaping their employe benefits strategy. Goals such as improving employee engagement and being seen as the employer of choice ranked much higher (between 60-70% for the year), indicating that some businesses didn't yet see the related link between all three.

Here, Pacific Prime outlines some key consideration points for businesses and HR staff that might be reviewing how their group insurance and employee benefits platform interacts with their diversity and inclusion goals:

Benefits for different life stages

Whilst Millennials are growing in numbers at many workplaces around the world, it's worth remembering that there are many Baby Boomers still employed in senior positions. Gen X are also an important group to consider as many of them are now reaching the peak managerial positions of their careers, and all three groups will value specific types of benefits differently.

Features such as health coverage for dependents might be more valued by older managerial staff with children - particularly if you have employees that move their entire families around the world to take up global assignments. Younger staff may prefer more flexible benefit types, or be interested in wellness options but may also benefit from company guidance in terms of securing preventative health measures as well.

Covering non-Western medicine practices

Recognizing gender differences in benefits

If creating a greater gender balance is part of your company's goals, then ensuring the benefits match your hiring and talent management strategies is important. Women and men have many medical needs in common, however there are a number of gender-specific medical concerns that are not. Taking into account the sorts of health needs of both can be a good way to not only attract top performers of both genders, but also to foster loyalty and commitment.

Maternity insurance can be a good benefit for both men and women, but especially for female workers. Men's health initiatives include awareness for things like prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. A diversity and inclusion aware employee benefits plan doesn't necessarily mean having specific targeted benefits per gender. It might just be tailoring an inpatient and outpatient plan to include decent coverage levels for particular health issues.

Support for physical and mental disabilities

Companies with staff that are differently-abled physically can sometimes find it hard to secure coverage for them depending on the circumstances. For group insurance plans that have Medical History Disregarded, this may not be an issue as the employee may still be entitled to most, if not all, benefits that fully-abled bodied staff enjoy. Those plans that underwrite individual employees may exclude or outright deny coverage to those with physical disabilities.

Getting support for all types of diversity and inclusion goals with your group insurance

Creating greater support for diversity and inclusion with group insurance

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