A new survey from Willis Towers Watson points to some diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) impacts that can be driven by something many organizations may not have considered: their benefit packages.
The Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey, which is based on input from 446 employers and was conducted between February 23 and March 12 of this year, offers some insights that are particularly relevant in the current environment as definitions of “workplace” are becoming more fluid and DEI issues are top of mind.
A Shifting Focus
According to the survey, an increasing number of employers will be promoting DEI in their benefit programs over the next 3 years. In fact, four-fifths of respondents say they’ll “take steps to promote DEI in their workplace culture and policies over the next three years.” That compares with just 55% that did so over the past 3 years.
In addition, 72% of employers said they would be promoting the DEI-related elements of their benefit programs, and 69% would be promoting DEI elements of their wellness programs.
In a news release, Rachael McCann, Senior Director of Health and Benefits at Willis Towers Watson, said, “Employers recognize the need for greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace and are taking steps to address equity and access in their benefit programs.” By shifting their focus from inclusivity to equitable health and wealth outcomes, she says that “employers will be able to identify specific areas for improvement—and that often leads to a focus on access, affordability and quality.”
The Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)
Employers are also becoming more mindful of SDoH, according to the survey. They’re increasingly implementing programs to support LGBTQ+ employees, care gaps, and both physical and emotional well-being.
Survey results indicate that:
- “Nearly four in 10 respondents (37%) have conducted an assessment to examine access to virtual care among various employee groups; another 31% are either planning or considering doing so by 2023.
- “Over one-third (34%) have evaluated the quality of the SDoH factors within their preventive care and screening visits; another 32% are planning or considering doing so in the next few years.
- “Nearly one-third (32%) have examined health care utilization by key conditions; another 37% are planning or considering doing so in the next few years.
- “More than a quarter (27%) have evaluated the affordability of benefits (relative to salary); another 29% are planning or considering doing so in the next few years.”
While disparities have always existed, the pandemic has brought them to the forefront, and employers are taking note.