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Medavie releases results of DEI survey at Benefits Together:

Employers and employees place a high premium on inclusive benefits

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on May 31, 2023

Medavie releases results of DEI survey at Benefits Together:

Employers and employees place a high premium on inclusive benefits

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on May 31, 2023

Working Canadians prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, especially younger employees under 40 who identify with 2SLGBTQI+ or are visible minorities. Most (80%) suggest that inclusive benefits drive loyalty toward their current employer. A majority (57%) would consider leaving their jobs for another that had more inclusive benefits.

These were among the key findings of a survey Medavie Blue Cross commissioned on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace and unveiled at MBC's recent Benefits Together Conference series in Halifax, Toronto and Montreal. The survey results were released during the employer panel portion of the Benefits Together program.

The panel titled "Empowering Inclusion at Work" brought together leaders who are driving change in this area.

“The DEI strategy is intended to be a lens through which to see the actions of UdeM. It sends an important message to our entire community: Everyone has a role to play in the discussions, identified actions, and contributions in the community (employees, students, managers, external stakeholders of the organization)." Dimitri Girier, Senior Advisor, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, University of Montreal

Leading up to the event, we took a pulse check on employees and employers to understand better their DEI strategies and how health benefits can support the diverse needs of today's workforces.*

"In DEI, it's really about intentionality and allowing room for your organization's culture to evolve over time. It starts with awareness and ensuring we make DEI part of how we live, work and think." Steven Brown, VP of Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI), Molson Coors Beverage Company

We found a wide gap between the number of employers with a DEI strategy (75%), 97% of whom felt their approach was effective. Yet, only 36% of employees knew their employer had a DEI strategy ― highlighting employee engagement's importance in making workplaces more inclusive.

“In business, there are so many systems and languages that touch an employee experience. By sharing progress at each stage in your organization’s DEI journey, you can help to ensure you are bringing your employees along with you.” Kate Beckett, Vice President, Total Rewards & HR Technology, Indigo Books & Music, Toronto

When we asked employers what the purpose of their organization’s strategy was, the top three responses were:

  1. It’s an essential organizational strategy to create competitive advantage and organizational excellence.
  2. It’s just the right thing to do.
  3. It increases employee engagement and a sense of belonging.

“Language is fluid and evolves. It is important to keep up to date with inclusive communication practices so that everyone recognizes themselves in our message.” Sophie Valade, Director, Organizational Development, Medavie, Montreal

The vast majority of employers (95%) recognize the importance of inclusive health and wellness benefits. Many (59%) have added them to their group plans as part of their DEI and business strategies. An equally high percentage of employers (90%) believe their approach toward DEI impacts their recruitment and retention.

“Applying a diversity and inclusion lens to benefit plans supports collaboration and innovation and leads to products that support the diverse needs of more Canadians.” Tara Anstey, Director of Business Development, Client Value, Medavie Blue Cross and Benefits Together employer panel host, Halifax and Toronto

When employees were asked to identify the most important health and wellness benefits their employer could provide to meet their individual needs, 55% ranked mental health, including managing loss or grief and stress management, in their top 3.

“We have so much recognition and support for the barriers that it reduces.” Victoria MacLeod, Director of Human Resources, Phoenix Youth Programs, Halifax, on why her organization is expanding mental health supports

Number two on the list was health spending or personal wellness accounts, which can help employers support the diverse needs of more employees by offering flexibility and choice at no added cost.

“I frame it (the Personal Wellness Account) as a way to bring joy to that preventative care.” Charlotte Donaldson-Allan, People Services Governance Manager, Admiral Canada, Halifax

Employees also identified prevention and wellness, fitness/active lifestyle support, sleep support, access to care, chronic disease management and family-building support as important benefits.

“You have to be open and change to the times, be mindful of the next generation, know your employee base and to serve their diverse needs. Look at your offering and how it can enhance mental health. Be committed to using inclusive language in your business. Above all, be committed to evolving and enhancing all parts of your systems.” Jennifer Taylor, Director of DEI, Medavie

Read more about our conference in this Talent Canada article, and visit Medavie’s website for further information on our DEI strategy.

*The survey was conducted by research firm Abacus Data between February and March 2023. Respondents included a representative sample of 1,500 employers and employees with health benefits from Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

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