Diversity and Inclusion: A Focus For Employee Benefits

Understanding diversity and inclusion within the workplace is essential for employers.

They need to adhere to the Equalities Act 2010. They also need to make sure their benefits package doesn’t bring hardship to any of its employees.

In the latest survey from Aon, 84% of UK organisations are taking heed of this and have created or are planning to create Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) metrics or goals.

Over half (52 percent) of its respondents are planning to or are already, reviewing their compensation and benefits programmes. This is to strengthen DE&I initiatives.

Moreover, Aon’s research also shows that three-in-four organisations believe that DE&I is top of mind when planning for the future of work.

What Are Inclusive Employee Benefits?

Avneet Kaur, principal, Health Solutions EMEA, Aon, says: “One of the initial steps on the journey to inclusive health and wellbeing benefit design is to take stock of the current situation…

“…Ask questions like: What is the composition of your current workforce? How does DE&I align with your business vision and purpose?”

Aon has advised that more organisations need to consider DE&I when planning benefits and initiatives.

Further, they need to consider the value the benefits package brings. As well as this, they need to ascertain whether it meets the needs of all of employees.

What Are Non-Inclusive Employee Benefits?

In its recent whitepaper, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace, different needs for employees were shown. These examples include:

  • Shariah laws prohibit people from investing in funds that derive a profit from the sale of alcohol, tobacco and gambling. This also includes earning interest from such sales. This makes pension investment in most investment funds out of reach for individuals of the Islamic faith.
  • In Aon’s 2021 DC and Financial Wellbeing research, a worrying disparity was found among women’s and men’s financial health.
    • In addition, women are less likely to be high earners.
    • They are less likely to have money for savings after outgoings.
    • Over 60% more likely than men to expect to never be able to afford to retire.
  • For disabled workers, health plans exclude pre-existing conditions. This can limit their ability to make full use of health benefits.

“It’s important to review your health and wellbeing benefits to provide clarity and confidence to make better decisions ensuring the diverse needs of your employees are supported while creating a consistent employee experience,” advises Kaur.

“Review recruitment, mobility and career progression policies and procedures,” he continues.

“For instance, do they display any systemic biases or inhibitory processes? By establishing and maintaining good diversity and inclusion practices, companies will be better able to build a resilient workforce, with DE&I crucial in both attracting and retaining talent and key stakeholders.”

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Diversity and Inclusion Need To Be Top Priority For Employers

Matthew Lawrence, chief broking officer, health solutions EMEA, Aon, adds: “DE&I should be a key component of an organisation’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda.

“We fully anticipate factors such as employee welfare and mental wellbeing to become as important to investors as other areas such as board diversity and pay equity.

“As ever in an increasingly interconnected world, what happens in the HR and benefits world impacts risk managers and certain general insurances.

“Thinking about these issues and the impact they can have in the broadest possible way will lay the foundation for a positive long-term impact.”

Aon conducted its seventh Pulse survey from 20 to 28 April 2021. It has answers from 400 human resources leaders and professionals within the UK. Across the globe, 1,451 responded.

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