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Incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) into Employee Benefits Programs

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Companies are increasingly focused on enhancing DE&I at their organizations. For some, this focus is driven by a business imperative: Diverse teams produce better results. For others, it’s driven by a moral imperative: Providing equal access to jobs, paying fair wages, and fostering an inclusive environment is the right thing to do. Many companies approach DE&I solutions with both perspectives in mind.

The primary concern of many corporate DE&I initiatives is to increase demographic representation and enable employees to bring their whole selves to work. These are important starting points. Taking the time to understand workforce demographics—and then identify and fill any potential gaps—is particularly important. But organizations have an incredible ability to increase DE&I in even more meaningful ways—and doing so doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.

Benefits Programs: The Gateway to an Effective DE&I Strategy

Employee benefits touch all aspects of employees’ lives, both at work and at home. Benefits are a core component of employees’ overall compensation and can be an effective tool in competing for top talent. Employers in the U.S. invest billions of dollars in these programs each year. However, benefits programs are typically difficult for employees to understand, and program designs have not meaningfully evolved in recent memory. Most benefits programs are designed to meet the needs of a head of household in a four-member nuclear family in which one spouse works and the other stays home.

We know that employees’ lives are more complicated than this and that traditional work and home roles have changed both significantly and rapidly in the last two decades. For example, women have made large gains in terms of overall representation in the workforce; they are increasingly delaying childbirth and/or are having fewer children; and they are more likely than men to have student loan debt and to have more of it. Different employee demographics—including women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community—have unique circumstances that affect their approach to using health and financial benefits. Understanding these differences, and the unique challenges employee cohorts face, can influence how employers design and communicate their programs.

Nelu’s Approach

Our consultants are both benefits and DE&I experts. Nelu is unique in its ability to meaningfully enhance program designs and outcomes through DE&I. Our team understands the challenges that many employees face and how to increase healthy behaviors while decreasing employers’ costs. Nelu's Partners formerly led retirement strategy and compliance at Boeing, where they implemented large-scale, first-of-their kind benefits solutions rooted in DE&I.

Nelu is women-and-minority-owned; by partnering with us, you not only improve your company's benefits and DE&I efforts, you also improve your supplier diversity.

We are not a traditional DE&I consulting firm. Unlike typical corporate diversity consultants that deliver unconscious bias and other trainings, Nelu focuses on making systemic enhancements that improve DE&I at-scale. We partner with employers to deliver and communicate affordable and effective employee benefits for today's diverse workforce.


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