Aon: Incorporating Diversity into Benefits Programs a Key Challenge – and Opportunity – for Canadian Employers
TORONTO, Dec. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The rise of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) as an organizational and employee priority demands that employers rethink and redefine their group benefits programs, according to a new white paper by Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm. The white paper, "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A New Approach to Employee Benefits," argues that aligning benefits packages with DE&I goals is not just a challenge: it is also a key opportunity for organizations to attract and retain high-performing employees in a competitive and increasingly diverse labour environment.
"Competition for talent is greater than ever, and employers have to draw from employee pools that are different from those that have traditionally dominated the workforce," says Joey Raheb, chief broking officer and national leader, Growth and Client Engagement, Health Solutions, Aon in Canada. "Applying DE&I principles to employee benefits plans can not only help attract, retain and engage workers from diverse groups, but also serve as an investment in an organization's most important asset: its people."
According to Aon research, employers increasingly recognize the importance of DE&I as they seek to attract and retain talent from many community types – women and visible minorities, differently abled and neurodiverse persons, historically marginalized groups and others. Many organizations are also embracing DE&I as part of their environment, social and governance (ESG) goals. As a result, recognition and accommodation of diversity has become a high priority for most employers, who agree that benefits packages should reflect their DE&I commitments. However, the research also shows that many HR leaders are unclear about how to begin the process of ensuring benefits strategies further their organization DE&I objectives.
The Aon white paper suggests that the key first step is for HR leaders to understand their organizational DE&I goals and review benefits packages – as part of a total rewards strategy that integrates social and cultural determinants of health like gender, race, income, access to services and other factors. Then, a plan designed for diversity would accommodate employees from different backgrounds and with different social and health needs. It would provide options that recognize a diversity of preferences and offers flexibility for employees to personalize their benefits experience. Finally, the plan would be communicated and administered in ways that acknowledge the diverse groups it supports and their lifestyle preferences.
"Every organization needs to recognize that their existing or future workplace will be unique in terms of social and cultural makeup, compensation structure and health and wellbeing goals, which means that any benefits package designed for diversity will be unique, too," says Raheb. "Incorporating DE&I into benefits is a process of incremental change, requiring ongoing attention and analysis to make more-informed, better decisions. But given the stakes, employers need to accept the challenge to build a more resilient workforce."
To view the full white paper, click here.
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