Debbie Lovewell-Tuck: Furthering diversity and inclusion

As our Diversity and Inclusion Week, in association with Benenden Health, draws to a close,  it is time to reflect on some of the trends and issues currently shaping this area of the benefits market.

Over the past couple of years, few can have missed the increasing focus on diversity and inclusion in nearly all areas of society. Now, more than ever, fostering an inclusive workplace culture is firmly on employers’ agendas, with organisations increasingly recognising the importance of demonstrating their commitment to the cause.

For many, this focus on diversity and inclusion goes far beyond legal requirements, such as gender pay gap reporting. Myriad initiatives are now offered by employers to support organisational diversity and inclusion policies, ranging from voluntary reporting of ethnicity or disability pay data, equalising parental and family-friendly benefits, and enhancing flexible or agile working arrangements, to diversity networks, mentoring programmes and unconscious bias training for managers.

A published commitment to achieving specified representation among ethnic backgrounds or gender ratios at varying levels within an organisation also remains a key business objective for many.

However, while efforts to increase diversity remain important, employers should not overlook inclusion and engagement, at the risk of playing a numbers game without making key cultural changes. Ensuring an organisation offers sufficient flexibility is vital if it is to accommodate all employees, regardless of circumstance, and enable them to tailor working life to suit their own experiences.

It is those organisations that position inclusion as a central component of business strategy that will, ultimately, reap rewards.

One way of achieving this is to ensure an open talent pipeline that enables the business to benefit from greater diversity at all levels; benefits play an increasingly key role in this, as an integral tool through which to offer flexibility and support, regardless of an individual’s circumstances.

When considering their approach to diversity and inclusion, employers will inevitably find that conversations arise around sensitive subjects. This is particularly true when it comes to health and wellbeing; a truly inclusive employer will look to discuss issues such as menopausal health, gender dysphoria treatment and mental health issues, such as post-natal depression and suicide rates, which are notably higher among men.

So wherever you are with diversity and inclusion in your organisation, Diversity and Inclusion Week was designed to help you take this to the next level through exclusive insights and opinions uncovering best practice in this area. These included:

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
Tweet: @DebbieLovewell