I really enjoy attending various industry conferences, not only because it inspires my role as Field Marketing Lead, but also because I am able to hear incredible speakers utilize real-life examples to bring their subject matter to life. Earlier this month, I attended the DMEC Compliance Conference in Orlando, which brings together employers, insurers and industry experts to talk about a wide range of employment matters such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).
Hearing how companies do or don’t apply DEI principles that result in the day-to-day impact on employment matters really caught my attention. That “do or don’t” application of DEI really bears fruit in a mostly remote work environment that so many companies are learning to espouse. It can be a struggle for many.
Even before the pandemic, FINEOS operated as remote company, which provides each of us with inherent flexibility and work-life balance. For other employers and their employees, the Great Realignment demonstrates that meaningful DEI can make all the difference in opportunity and understanding, resulting in a better, stronger workplace for everyone. I’m fortunate that at FINEOS, we have a vibrant DEI program underpinned by an award-winning employee-led initiative called Embrace. At its center is the goal that all employees feel included and valued for their unique, authentic selves and that one size does not fit all.
Advancing opportunity with DEI
As panelists at the compliance conference describe it, the past three years have brought challenges but also opportunities that have advanced equity and strengthened their employee base. All of us have become more aware of and understanding of each other’s home, family and personal issues than perhaps we were in the days of strict office hours.
It may be a stretch, but I see the family leave laws and disability accommodations that are now available to employees to be a sort of genesis of one level of DEI. It’s a manifestation of understanding that one size does not fit all and that adjustments need to be made for employees so they can do their best work and support their families.
To keep valued employees and attract new ones, committed employers need to look beyond the requirements of leave laws, for example, offering paid parental leave to men and women before governmental requirements occur. Others offer benefits that support DEI like floating holidays, remote work, and stay-at-work programs to support equity. In the current labor market, employees have come to value – and even to expect — the flexibility that was a side effect of working through the pandemic.
Real-life equity through applied DEI
Melissa Kirkland talked about the fundamental mindset shift for a national restaurant chain to consider allowing some employees to work from home on some days. It took some thought adjustment to recognize that not everyone working in restaurants has to be physically present in the restaurant space every day. This shift in perspective led her organization, Darden, to examine other opportunities for scheduling flexibility and how they could modify in-house programs to support equity beyond traditional leave management for their more than 180,000 employees.
Supporting employers on a DEI journey
Integrated disability and absence management is only one path on the DEI journey, but it is one of the most complex as well. Changing attendance policies require monitoring of leave laws at the local, state and federal levels which are in rapid flux. Regulatory changes reach into HR departments who manage the day-to-day impact on a workforce that can be regional or global.
Having a turnkey absence management system like FINEOS Absence that helps maintain compliance with leave laws removes an impediment from the creative thinking employers need to accommodate, foster and support an inclusive and diverse workforce.
Employees want to know they can have flexibility and balance as well as benefits that will protect them. Employers seek a stable workforce that can bring innovation and advance their goals. A meaningful DEI program helps expand the pool of individuals who seek such opportunities, benefiting both.
How FINEOS helps employers support DEI
FINEOS can help employers manage sick leave, parental leave, jury duty, or disability to simplify processes, disability claims, and accommodations using our absence management software. FINEOS Absence helps ensure compliance with legislation, giving you peace of mind. Contact us today to find out how FINEOS can help you support enhanced DEI initiatives.