Employers are increasingly including diversity and inclusion objectives in their benefits, compensation, workplace culture and well-being initiatives, according to new research by Willis Towers Watson.

The survey, which polled 535 U.S. employers, found 55 per cent of employers have promoted diversity and inclusion initiatives relating to workplace policies and culture to their employees in the last three years, while 51 per cent have communicated programs relating to benefits during that time. The majority also said they expect to continue promoting those initiatives over the next three years.

Read: How to use benefits to support diversity and inclusion

The two biggest reasons for communicating diversity and inclusion programming included attracting and retaining talent and improving employee engagement.

“The need to recruit, retain and engage diverse talent in a highly competitive labour market will only accelerate activity over the coming years,” said Rachael McCann, Willis Towers Watson’s senior director of health and benefits, in a release. “Inclusion and diversity has become a top focus for the C-suite, given the clear link between diverse talent and improved business results.”

McCann noted the organization expects employers’ interest in diversity and inclusion programs will be furthered by other factors, such as better environmental, social and governance metrics, improved brand recognition and increased corporate sustainability.

Read: Gen Z expects fast promotions, diversity and inclusion initiatives: study

Three-quarters of employers that responded to the survey said they’ve taken action on leave of absence programs or planned to do so in the next two years, as a way to allow employees to better manage their work-life balances.

According to the survey, the biggest diversity and inclusion priorities over the next three years will be financial planning, medical and pharmacy benefits, maternity, family planning and infertility benefits, as well as mental health and substance abuse treatments.

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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