6 employee benefits that support diversity, equity and inclusion

What’s important to today’s workers? According to a survey by CNBC, nearly 80% of workers say they want to work for a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI.1

What exactly does DEI mean? Diversity, equity and inclusion definitions are constantly evolving—and they can look different at every workplace—but in a general sense:

  • DIVERSITY is the presence of differences among employees. Examples of diversity may include age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, religious commitment, political perspective, neurodiversity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and more.
  • EQUITY refers to ensuring workplace policies and procedures are fair, impartial and provide equal possible outcomes for all individuals.
  • INCLUSION refers to ensuring all employees feel a sense of belonging, value and respect at work.

DEI should be considered in every facet of the workplace—including benefits. With so many of today’s workers valuing DEI, investing in inclusive employee benefits can help you attract and retain talent in a competitive hiring landscape. Check out these 6 employee benefits that can help DEI at your company.

1. Floating holidays

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but it’s a paid holiday at many companies. One way you can support people of varying cultural and religious backgrounds is by offering floating holidays. These are paid days off that each employee can decide when to take. While one employee may use their floating holiday to celebrate Ramadan, another may use it for Rosh Hashanah. Another employee may use their floating holiday on their birthday, while another uses it for Juneteenth. With only 48% of companies providing floating holidays,2 this is a great way to stand out to candidates.

2. Remote work

While work-from-home is an attractive benefit to many people, it’s a particularly useful benefit to some underrepresented groups. For example, some disabled, neurodivergent or older professionals may benefit from remote work because it eliminates a commute and reduces workplace challenges. Breastfeeding mothers can benefit from working remotely because it’s easier to establish and maintain a nursing schedule. And parents can benefit from remote work as it can ease childcare challenges and give them more time to spend with their children.

3. Flextime

Flextime allows employees to alter the start and/or end time of their workdays. Flextime is a benefit that attracts a wide range of workers—from parents and disabled professionals to older workers—because it can make it easier for people to work around school schedules, medical appointments and circadian rhythms.

4. Childcare support

According to Harvard Business Review, the cost of sending two children under age five to a childcare center is 42% of the median income for Hispanic families and 56% of the median for Black families; furthermore, “Black women are nearly twice as likely as white women to have to quit a job, refused a job offer or greatly change their job because of childcare problems.”3

Businesses can help support parents, particularly parents of color, through childcare support, such as:

  • Referral services: providing contact information for local childcare centers.
  • Childcare vouchers: offering employees vouchers that subsidize childcare.
  • Company childcare centers: providing a corporate daycare center.

5. Professional development

One way to support workers from different economic and educational backgrounds is through professional development, such as continuing education, skill-based training, boot camp classes, leadership courses, and more. Upskilling high-potential workers helps employees advance their careers—while it helps your organization retain employees.

6. Voluntary benefits

Voluntary benefits, such as critical illness insurance, hospital indemnity, disability income or accident insurance, allow employees to fill the gaps in core benefits they receive. Unlike major medical insurance, voluntary benefits are paid directly to employees, not doctors or hospitals. Employees can use the benefits to help cover the out-of-pocket costs left by major medical insurance, such as deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, noncovered treatments and everyday living expenses.

Voluntary benefits allow employees to curate a health care plan that caters to their diverse needs. While younger generations of employees may be drawn to accident insurance or hospital indemnity, older generations may gravitate more toward cancer or heart/stroke coverage. Employees may also consider their unique family medical history when deciding to opt in to coverage.

We’re here for you!

Washington National values diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplace—and at the worksites we serve. Our parent company, CNO Financial Group, was recognized by Forbes on its 2022 List of Best Employers for Diversity. If you have questions about how voluntary benefits can help support the DEI efforts at your workplace, please reach out to us here.

1CNBC, Majority of employees want to work for a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion, survey shows, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/30/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-are-important-to-workers-survey-shows.html, 2021.
2Zippia, Paid Holiday Statistics (2022), https://www.zippia.com/advice/paid-holiday-statistics/, 2022.
3Harvard Business Review, The Surprising Benefits of Work/Life Support, https://hbr.org/2022/09/the-surprising-benefits-of-work-life-support, 2022.Critical illness, hospital indemnity, disability income and accident insurance are limited-benefit policies, with limitations and exclusions. For costs and complete details of coverage, contact an agent.

Critical illness, hospital indemnity, disability income and accident insurance are limited-benefit policies, with limitations and exclusions. For costs and complete details of coverage, contact an agent.