What metrics are you looking at to measure Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at your company? How do you define equity in your workplace? Is your employees’ physical and mental health a key indicator?
As you think about your employees’ engagement, productivity, and ability to bring their whole authentic selves to work—as well as your goals around attracting and retaining diverse talent—you should begin with health equity.
Health equity is a widely used term in healthcare spaces, but relatively new in the workplace. So, for this year’s Conference Board Diversity, Equity & Inclusion virtual event—which brings together D&I officers, HR and people leaders, and managers of organizational development and leadership training annually—we turned to digital health leaders who are driving progress and innovation around health equity to start the conversation with companies and share their learnings.
OB-GYN and Maven’s Medical Director Dr. Jane van Dis was joined on the virtual stage by Ashlee Wisdom, Founder and CEO of Health In Her HUE; Ivelyse Andino, Founder and CEO of Radical Health; and Adimika Arthur, Founder and CEO of Health Tech for Medicaid (HT4M). They explored how companies can play a role in adopting innovative solutions that address key topics like care provider matching, cultural competence, health and digital literacy, and more.
What do all of these things mean, and how should you be thinking about health equity at your company?
Watch the recording of their full conversation, and check out our key takeaways from their conversation below for how to consider and elevate health equity in your workplace.
1. Use data and gather qualitative insights to uncover employee needs.
“Your workforce is intergenerational, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and cross-cultural. The more data and information that you have about your workforce, the more that you are able to meet them where they are. Be honest about where you’re at and ask your employees what they’re experiencing as they navigate their physical and mental health. What benefits programs are helping to fill gaps for them, and what are they not using because they’re not meeting their needs right now? Make sure you’re not spending money on programs that aren’t going to close gaps in coverage or make a real impact for your employees.” - Adimika Arthur
As Adimika points out, “be honest about where you’re at”. A good start is to turn to existing data from your benefits providers and partners and employee engagement surveys to understand what your employees are looking for. Then, identify gaps, consider what types of questions you need to ask, and engage with your employees by going on a listening tour or holding open office hours. Turn to your ERGs or bring in external experts to foster more organic dialogue about equity and experiences in the healthcare system. Engaging your employees and opening spaces to discuss healthcare and what support they need will not only help you identify solutions and priorities, but also foster a more inclusive and open workplace culture.
“In our jobs, we really value coming together. But the one area that we don’t come together to talk about at work or to share the experiences or best practices that we have, is around health. It doesn’t happen, but it should...especially in communities that are under-represented.” - Ivelyse Andino
And the listening shouldn’t stop with you and your employees. It’s important to continually assess whether the healthcare benefits and digital programs you’re providing to your employees are truly patient-centered. Evaluate the ways they design digital programs to truly listen to, assess, and meet the unique needs of their members. As a virtual clinic for women and families, Maven believes the future of healthcare is human and should center the unique needs of individuals and families, which is why whole-person care is at the heart of our personalized care delivery model: we believe in healthcare that takes your whole life, identity, and experience into account.
2. Consider health and tech literacy, which can be barriers to care.
You know all too well the ways that barriers to understanding common health terms and the healthcare system really impact how much value your employees get out of your programs and benefits. Studies have shown that an employee with low health literacy would cost the health plan $13,000 compared to $3,000 for someone with higher literacy. As the speakers highlighted in this conversation, there’s a lot of promising innovation happening in digital health to close these gaps in understanding and improve outcomes. Health equity means ensuring that anyone has the ability to use the technology and tools necessary to unlock the full benefits of healthcare.
“We have to meet folks where they are. And our language is changing--we use emojis now and different ways to communicate. So for employers, it’s important to look at tools that solve for all of these factors. It doesn’t make sense to set a standard or offer a benefit that isn’t attainable or accessible for everyone.” - Ivelyse Andino
“There’s health literacy and tech literacy, and employers can help to bridge these gaps.” - Adimika Arthur
3. Unleash authenticity by providing care that allows employees to bring their whole selves to work.
As a virtual clinic for women and families, Maven believes the future of healthcare is human and should center the unique needs of individuals and families, which is why whole-person care is at the heart of our personalized care delivery model: we believe in healthcare that takes your whole life, identity, and experience into account.
“The ability to show up as your whole self at work is really critical to feel like you’re in a safe space. You’re able to be more productive and creative. For employers, this approach allows you to bring more innovation into your workplace, which we know helps drive revenue.” - Ashlee Wisdom
To learn more about how Maven can help you drive health equity for your employees, get in touch.
“Make sure you’re not spending money on programs that aren’t going to close gaps in coverage or make a real impact for your employees.” - Adimika Arthur
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