Inclusive Benefits: The Next Step for DEI AlignmentA podcast interview with
Addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges is a priority throughout the business world, but it is particularly important — and difficult — to get right in the health care industry. Having a well-defined strategy with concrete steps is critical and keeps DEI efforts from losing direction or becoming mere box-checking exercises.
In this discussion on Marsh McLennan’s Healthy Societies podcast, John Rudoy, health care director at Marsh McLennan, talks with Michael Garrett, who leads Mercer’s work on inclusive benefits in the United States, about one of these concrete steps: adapting benefits to welcome and support a more diverse workforce.
On why private-sector employers have such difficulty meeting their DEI goals:
“There has to be a shift in power. Power dynamics change as a result so the boardroom looks different, the senior leadership looks different … and so the board and senior leadership have to be willing and actually embrace different perspectives on various business aspects. Carrying out diversity equity and inclusion is … more than issuing statements, which happened a couple of years ago. Employers have to do more … it involves committing resources. … and reporting out transparently, and all that can be very scary to an organization because they may be finding things that are embarrassing or huge gaps and opportunities for improvement.”
On inclusive benefits:
“Benefit leaders within organizations are realizing that DEI is important, and they need to figure out how to incorporate DEI into health and benefits. … There are a number of domains I look at when I do my inclusive benefits work. One is what is covered … to provide equitable inclusive family benefits for single people and same-sex couples. … Looking at gender affirmation treatment … looking at applied behavior analysis for individuals [with] autism spectrum disorder. … also looking at the language that’s used in a benefit booklet. We talk about having gender-neutral language and people-first language.”
On the push for DEI and attracting labor:
“The push to focus on DEI has really resulted two years ago from finally the realization of the ongoing murders of black and brown individuals in this country, but in the last nine months, the impetus appears to be the whole great resignation phenomenon.”