Diversity and inclusion have become increasingly important across a wide range of initiatives for more and more employers, according to Willis Towers Watson’s 2019 Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey.
By 2021, the vast majority of the more than 500 employers surveyed will have assessed how well their diversity and inclusion objectives have been incorporated within their workplace culture and policies (85 percent of respondents are planning to have done that by 2021); benefit programs (81 percent); employee pay (78 percent); and well-being programs (77 percent).
Top inclusion and diversity priorities over the next three years include incorporating those objectives into financial planning initiatives around enhancing health, emergency savings and retirement (37 percent); core medical and/or pharmacy benefits (30 percent); maternity and family planning/infertility benefits (27 percent); and mental health and substance abuse treatment (27 percent).
“Employers today understand the importance of inclusion and diversity for their talent and business performance more than any previous point in history,” says Rachael McCann, Willis Towers Watson’s senior director of health and benefits, Willis Towers Watson.
“They also recognize that inclusion and diversity cannot exist in a vacuum,” McCann says. “It needs to be built for each organization’s unique and diverse workforce and woven into the fabric of their culture, benefits, pay and workplace policies.”
The most important factor behind the increased focus on promoting diversity and inclusion is to attract and retain talent, cited by 82 percent of respondents, followed by to drive employee engagement (62 percent); address goals of senior leadership (34 percent); support brand and talent value proposition (31 percent); modernize workforce, pay and benefits (27 percent); enable talent expansion (20 percent); improve environmental, social and governance metrics (8 percent); address goals of the company’s board of (6 percent); and manage/reduce litigation risks (6 percent).
“The need to recruit, retain and engage diverse talent in a highly competitive labor market will only accelerate activity over the coming years,” McCann says. “Yet, it isn’t the only reason. We also expect other advantages, such as broader perspectives, better environmental, social and governance metrics, stronger brand recognition and improved corporate sustainability to deepen organizations’ commitment to inclusion and diversity.”
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