One critical diversity, equity and inclusion discussion which may not get much visibility in the workplace is around assuring that employee benefit programs are equally accessible and valuable to the full range of diverse employees.
With the upcoming millennial workforce being 16% more diverse than the baby boomers’ generation, diversity, equity and inclusion is an important aspect that companies and businesses must embrace and continue to strive for. As the push for more diverse inclusive workplaces continues, the way that an HR department helps under-represented minorities access their employee benefits plays an important role. Consider a few of these tips on how to aid in communication with and support of minority employees.
Encourage open communication. An important aspect of helping minority employees better navigate and understand their employee benefits is to make sure that they feel supported by their human resources department, as well as their company as a whole. Making it known that open communication and discussions are not just tolerated but actually welcomed and encouraged can help diverse employees feel more comfortable opening up and asking any questions they may have about their benefits package.
While it is important to have open communication within a team environment, it can also be beneficial to adopt some of those same philosophies for an HR department. When a company has minority employees, they should actively accept feedback, stay open to suggestions, and pay attention to the issues that affect their minority employees directly.
Offer inclusive benefits. While every benefits package does not always look the same, if a company is looking to directly support their minority employees, they must consider inclusive employee benefits and perks that support diversity—as this shows a commitment to creating an all-embracing workplace where individuals’ beliefs, cultures, and orientations are supported.
From offering holiday time to various cultural or religious backgrounds or offering professional development courses and instruction for employees whose backgrounds may not have offered them the same opportunities, there are many ways that companies can begin to create a more welcoming culture.
Discuss where they can save money. Typically, employee benefits offer affordable, convenient options for employees to receive the types of coverage needed to secure their families and protect their financial well-being. As an HR department, taking this a step further can mean also discussing the areas where employees can save money by forgoing certain benefits and acquiring them on their own.
Life insurance coverage is an example of one of these benefits. Employee-provided life insurance is a great option for individuals that need basic coverage for their salary as an income replacement. But often, this plan isn’t enough coverage for individuals and they can actually find a more affordable and comprehensive plan through a life insurance broker. Because life insurance rates are dependent on many factors including age, health, hobbies, and more, some employees may qualify for lower rates than the set employer-provided plan. Taking time to have these discussions with employees shows that the company cares about more than just the work they do in the office.
Obtain the proper information. To better support minority employees with their benefits, it is helpful to be prepared with the correct information, research, or statistics. By prepping HR with adequate background knowledge, they are given the opportunity to provide better suggestions on how to navigate their benefits. Similarly, learning to adopt different perspectives is a form of having more information.
For some companies, this might include diversity training programs. These various types of training can be especially useful for human resources employees with hiring and promotion processes while also aiding them with the right language and best practices to support all the diverse populations within their organization.
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As employee benefits are a great incentive for all employees, specifically aiding HR departments with the correct tools to help minority employees get the best use of them is a great way to start creating a more welcoming workspace for all.