Consumer / Employer

What 3 Employers Have Done To Ensure a Healthier, More Inclusive Workplace

Caregiver services and benefits specific to LGBTQ+ populations are some ways employers can support their employees. Executives shared these ideas on a panel at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas.

Employers have a responsibility to create an equitable, inclusive and healthy workplace. But what are some of the best ways to achieve that? During a panel last week at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas, several executives shared what their companies have done. 

For Accenture, a Chicago-based business management consulting firm, employee feedback, employee resource groups and focus groups have made a major difference.

“It’s easy to look at best practices to see great offerings out there that sound cool and as a team, we can get together and say ‘Have you heard of this? Have you seen this? This is really unique,’” said Julie Wilkes, North American wellbeing, resilience and disability lead for Accenture. “But if our employees don’t align with it, it’s not that cool … A lot of the programs [we’ve implemented] came directly from employee feedback, employee resource groups and those focus groups.”

One program Accenture has added is through Included Health, which has been able to provide LGBTQ+ care concierge services.

“One of our employees was going through transgender surgery and was calling the regular benefits line,” Wilkes said. “The person who was skilled to understand benefits just didn’t understand all the different questions that could be answered. We brought in this offering and here’s a compassionate and empathetic benefits line that is really detailed to be an advocate for that individual. That individual called me and told me that it changed their life as they were going through a very difficult time.”

Another program Accenture has implemented is with Wellthy, which provides support for caregivers. 

“Caregivers have had a very difficult time during the pandemic, from being parents to taking care of others and just trying to take care of themselves,” Wilkes said.

Tax preparation company H&R Block, meanwhile, has piloted six programs for its employees, one of which was also a caregiver service that garnered a lot of interest, said Lindsey Lanzisero, vice president of total rewards and HR systems.

“We had a pilot of 100 people,” Lanzisero said. “The pilot was full within two weeks and we had 150 people on the waitlist.”

Used car company CarMax did not have as much success with its pilot caregiver program.

“We had caregiver support and it failed epically no matter how many resources we threw at it over the course of the 12-month pilot. We just couldn’t get any traction,” said Meredith Touchstone, director of benefits for CarMax.

However, looking ahead, CarMax will be focusing on mental health and medical affordability.

“There’s a range from ‘I’m not okay today’ to crisis mode and we need to figure out, how do we get resources in the hands of the people … as quickly as possible in a really organized and simplified manner?” Touchstone said. “Medical affordability is a big topic for us, that is one of the most significant needs. So we are doubling down right now, working to figure out how to make a difference for folks. They’ve given us this feedback, it’s time to take action.”

Picture: fizkes, Getty Images