Research from Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm, reveals that over half of UK organisations (52 percent) are planning to, or are already, reviewing their compensation and benefits programmes to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives.

Aon’s 7th Pulse Survey also found that three in four organisations say driving DE&I in the workplace is at the top of their mind when planning for the future of work.

However, Aon has advised that more organisations need to consider DE&I when planning benefits and initiatives, considering the value the benefits package brings and whether it meets the needs of all of employees.

Aon’s recent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace whitepaper highlighted the needs of different individuals when planning benefits and initiatives. These examples include:

  • Under the Shariah laws for individuals following the Islamic faith, earning interest from and investing in funds which derive a profit from the sale of alcohol, tobacco and gambling is prohibited. This makes pension investment in most investment funds out of reach for individuals of the Islamic faith.
  • In Aon’s 2021 DC and Financial Wellbeing research, a worrying disparity was found among women’s and men’s financial health. Women are less likely to be high earners, less likely to have money for savings after outgoings and are over 60 percent more likely than men to expect to never be able to afford to retire.
  • For the disabled, pre-existing conditions can often be an exclusion to health plans and can limit their ability to make full use of health benefits.

Avneet Kaur, principal, Health Solutions EMEA, Aon, said: “One of the initial steps on the journey to inclusive health and wellbeing benefit design is to take stock of the current situation, and ask questions like: What is the composition of your current workforce? How does DE&I align with your business vision and purpose?

“It’s important to review your health and wellbeing benefits to provide clarity and confidence to make better decisions ensuring the diverse needs of your employees are supported while creating a consistent employee experience. Also, review recruitment, mobility and career progression policies and procedures. For instance, do they display any systemic biases or inhibitory processes? By establishing and maintaining good diversity and inclusion practices, companies will be better able to build a resilient workforce, with DE&I crucial in both attracting and retaining talent and key stakeholders.”

Matthew Lawrence, chief broking officer, Health Solutions EMEAAon, added: “DE&I should be a key component of an organisation’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda; we fully anticipate factors such as employee welfare and mental wellbeing to become as important to investors as other areas such as board diversity and pay equity.

“As ever in an increasingly interconnected world, what happens in the HR and benefits world impacts risk managers and certain general insurances. Thinking about these issues and the impact they can have in the broadest possible way will lay the foundation for a positive long-term impact.

The Aon Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace whitepaper can be viewed here. Aon conducted its seventh Pulse survey from April 20-28, 2021, with 400 human resources leaders and professionals responding within the UK and 1,451 responding globally. Complete study results, across multiple geographies and industries, are available here.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) exists to shape decisions for the better — to protect and enrich the lives of people around the world. Our colleagues provide our clients in over 120 countries with advice and solutions that give them the clarity and confidence to make better decisions to protect and grow their business.

Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

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