Running Your Business

How to Create Employee Benefit Packages That Foster Equality and Inclusion

  • Offer inclusive benefits to help attract and retain top talent

  • Choose benefits that appeal to all types of families and domestic partnerships as well as align with local and federal laws

  • Foster a culture of inclusion, and consider financial and health benefits that appeal to different generations and lifestyles

Posted by September 15, 2020

Do your employee benefit packages promote diversity and equality? If not, they absolutely should. Promoting equality in the workplace is always key to retaining and attracting top talent, but its importance has been magnified by recent social justice movements following the murders of George Floyd and others in the Black community.

Often, designing benefits packages that promote inclusion and equality begins with tweaking your offerings, but you’ll also want to focus on building a work culture that welcomes and accepts everyone. Here’s how to get started.

Assess Your Family and Health Benefits

The health benefits package and fringe benefits you offer can go a long way in supporting diversity. To ensure you’re implementing the right kind of changes, consider each member of your workforce when tweaking family and health benefits.

To show support for both heterosexual couples and same-sex couples, offer benefits such as spousal health care, family leave and paternity leave, as well as parental leave for adoptions or new foster children—not just new births.

To show support for families, provide dependent care flexible spending accounts and traditional FSAs. These benefits make it easier for employees to pay for medical supplies and a diverse range of services, including child care and elderly care.

To show support for people of all backgrounds and situations, offer flextime and remote work opportunities. Being able to work from home can be a saving grace for parents, employees caring for elderly parents, and workers with special needs or mental illnesses. It’s also a benefit that helps keep operations afloat in times of inclement weather or peak illnesses.

Evaluate Your Financial Benefits

Pay is traditionally a touchy subject, but it doesn’t have to be. Demonstrate your commitment to diversity by being transparent about benefits and pay. This lets you show that there are no gender or race pay gaps. If you do find discrepancies, however, make a commitment to fixing them and relay these efforts to the whole company.

Also, ensure your financial benefits are inclusive for all generations. Older employees may not find retirement benefits very helpful if they only focus on long-term planning. Bring in a financial planner to discuss retirement saving strategies for different life stages. Your younger employees may be paying down significant college debt. So in addition to adopting student loan forgiveness programs, consider offering tuition benefits for pursuing advanced education.

Foster a Culture of Inclusion

Be mindful that your internal culture welcomes everyone, no matter their race, gender, religious background, health status or sexual orientation. Leadership must set the example for acceptable behavior, but your efforts can’t stop there.

Foster creativity and diverse thinking by hiring people of all backgrounds and encouraging them to share their unique perspectives. Offer professional development opportunities and ensure that employees both know about them and have equal access to them. And make it easier for workers to celebrate religious holidays or participate in activities that align with their culture or viewpoints. This can be achieved by offering floating holidays and volunteer time off in addition to annual paid time off.

Consider input from your employees as you make strides to promote inclusivity. They’re on the front lines of your operations and, as such, may see areas for improvement that are unbeknownst to you. Circulate surveys so employees can provide feedback anonymously, and implement an open-door policy so they can bring forward issues without fear of reprisal.

Your employee benefit packages and internal culture afford key opportunities to foster equality in the workplace. So take time to ensure your offerings consider the needs of your unique workforce and make it easier for them to succeed, both at work and in their personal lives. Your offerings also need to adhere to local, state and federal laws, so talk to an attorney before completing your benefits package.

Explore United Concordia Dental’s Employer Toolkit to learn more about benefits that can help promote inclusivity at your company.

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