The power of health equity and how to achieve it – Rolling Stone

I speak often on the importance of building for equity, but equity is not just about pay or promotional cycles. Equity must be built not only in the foundations of your business, but also in your suppliers and processes. Too often fairness is all about how we hire but not how our employees exist, how they thrive and how they live outside the walls of our office.

Equity must exist in every corner of your organization. Equity is not divided like a pie; there is room for all of us. The demand for equity is not at the expense of others.

Equity is more than pay: our survival depends on it.

Your path to diversity, equity and inclusion doesn’t stop with being able to hire and retain people. Your efforts and strategy must extend beyond your ability to recruit; it must live within every strand of your organization, including your benefits. Too often we advertise our benefits in our job descriptions, offer letters, and career sites, but do we ever explain what these benefits mean? Do we explain why our benefits are beneficial or do we focus on the perception we give to others by having our benefits?

The work on diversity, equity and inclusion must be intentional and we must be intentional about our processes, policies and benefits. It is not just about bringing different people to the table, but also about giving them the tools they need to survive, the tools they need to understand our policies, processes and benefits.

In 2021, Forbes conducted a study on how safe people felt while browsing health insurance, and 56% of people felt “completely lost”. Another 61% of people wrongly defined what a health insurance premium was. We haven’t properly educated people on the ins and outs of health insurance, and the landscape is far from fair.

You might ask yourself, “Why is it important?” This is important because to achieve fairness, we need to shrink and examine the impact of all our systems on our people. Historically and currently, the neglected communities are the ones most affected by gaps in health care and insurance. A McKinsey report found that black, Hispanic and Latino, Asian and LGBTQ + employees, even those with high salaries, are less likely to receive the care they need. She also said that historically ignored employees will be more likely to switch employers for better benefit options.

Is health care really an advantage if your population avoids using it? Is it really an advantage if it causes more stress than health?

These misunderstandings and gaps in health insurance literacy are costly. Not only do they cost our people and our organizations money, but they also cost people their health. According to a study in Healthee’s white paper, 73% of employees don’t fully understand how to manage their health benefits. People also reported postponing filling in the necessary prescriptions for fear of the financial burden and consequences.

If we are to support equity and inclusion within our organizations, we must be willing to take a more holistic approach. We can’t just focus on the ways we hire and promote. We must have a vested interest in the health of our employees.

According to the CDC, “health equity is achieved when everyone has the opportunity to” reach their full health potential “and no one is” disadvantaged from achieving this potential due to social standing or other socially determined circumstances. ‘”

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We’re not there yet.

Access to health care is a fundamental right, but so is an understanding of the system. Too often we give people an overview of the benefits and read them as if everyone understands what we are saying. How often do we consider whether we are answering the questions that matter?

As the leader of the people, it is our responsibility to not only make healthcare accessible but also easy to navigate. As an executive, I often find myself guessing about my coverage and doctor’s appointments. Even experts sometimes don’t feel like experts.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, employers paid an average premium of $ 7,188 for individual coverage and $ 20,576 for family coverage in 2019. The benefits are expensive, a valuable part of the packages we offer to new candidates, and invaluable tools in our recruiters’ pockets. If we are paying so much for these benefits, shouldn’t we understand the exact offers we are promising our candidates?

Being good to people isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good for business.

In a world where candidate experience is vital and the Great Resignation happens all around us, we have no room for error in our package offers. Our ability to deliver fair, transparent, and humane experiences that keep people healthy is the one thing that sets us apart. At the end of the day, people don’t care about our happy hours, endless hummus, or office perks – they care about how we enable them to live better, how we empower them to take control of their health and future.

As a leader of the people, I know how the phrase “subscription to benefits” can make us want to run for the hills, but it’s a crucial piece of fairness. Having health care does not necessarily mean having access to health care and this fuels unequal health outcomes.

Equity must be like access.

We must enable our people to take full advantage of their health benefits and take control of their health. So how can we do it?

• Invest in tools and resources to educate and empower people to make the best decisions for themselves.

• Create benefit programs that encompass everyone, not just dominant identities.

• Be intentional with your benefits and know that doing the right thing often costs more.

• Identify the missteps and damage that has been done by your current benefit offerings and acknowledge them aloud.

• Know that benefits are only beneficial if people can actually use them.

Tap into the power of health equity and prepare your team for success when it comes to benefits.

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