The face of the workforce is changing. Millennials and Gen Z are the most diverse generations in history—only 56% of millennials are white, compared to 75% of baby boomers. With this shift comes the increased imperative to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, as employees no longer want to work for companies that don’t foster a sense of community and belonging. A recent Glassdoor survey found that 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities. 

The retail and hospitality industry is not exempt from employees’ DEI expectations. HR leaders at retail and hospitality companies must have an impactful DEI program in place to increase employee loyalty and create a workplace culture that is welcoming for all. Here’s how to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace through benefits, policies, and initiatives. 

What is diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace?

DEI in the workplace refers to the programs, policies, and benefits offered by an organization to promote the fair and equal treatment of all employees, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other characteristic that may be used to discriminate against them. Companies that prioritize DEI strive to create an environment where every employee has the same opportunities for success and receives equitable support both in and out of the workplace.

The importance of DEI in the retail & hospitality industries

The retail and hospitality industries present unique challenges when it comes to DEI. Front-line retail and hospitality workers are one of the most diverse groups across industries: Close to three-quarters of front-line hospitality employees are women, and 55% are Black or Latine. However, this trend doesn’t reach the executive level. Women only hold 26% of board positions in the retail industry, while only 13% of people from historically marginalized communities hold executive positions. Retail and hospitality companies can’t claim a commitment to diversity without first ensuring that diverse talent is both represented and supported at all levels of the organization. 

For retail and hospitality companies, hiring diverse talent, ensuring equitable opportunities, and creating an inclusive culture can have powerful impacts on the business:

  • Increased profitability: According to McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity in their executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile.
  • Improved employee engagement: Research by Deloitte University found that 83% of millennials are actively engaged when they feel that they're working for a company that fosters an inclusive culture.
  • A better customer experience: A study commissioned by Sephora found that two in five shoppers have experienced discrimination based on their race or skin color. Hiring and supporting diverse front-line retail and hospitality workers can help retailers eliminate bias and identify new opportunities for inclusivity. 
  • More loyal customers: Diversity at every level creates a company that is more likely to appeal to a wide customer base.  A recent survey found that 75% of Gen Z consumers will end relationships with companies that run ad campaigns that they perceive as macho, racist, or homophobic. 
  • Improved employee attraction: Research shows that 40% of millennials have not pursued or turned down a job because they don’t believe their potential employer is inclusive. A true commitment to DEI shows potential employees that the company is dedicated to uplifting diverse voices. 

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Key aspects of DEI programs for retail and hospitality companies

Provide reproductive and family health support

Women and people of color are overrepresented among frontline retail and hospitality workers, and these groups often face inequitable treatment in and out of the workplace. The results of these inequities are clear in the health outcomes experienced by these groups during and after pregnancy. Pregnant people in the U.S. have the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country, and Black and Latine birthing parents have an even higher risk when compared to white parents. 

Companies that are committed to DEI need to start by ensuring all their employees have equitable access to care, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation. Providing reproductive and family health support can help fill in the gaps left by traditional healthcare, ensuring that all employees have equal opportunities to care. Benefits in this space could include:

  • Virtual, on-demand access to reproductive health specialists like OB-GYNs or doulas to fill existing gaps in traditional, in-person healthcare. These specialists can come from diverse backgrounds, so employees have the opportunity to meet with a provider who understands their lived experience and cultural background
  • Access to online classes, clinically-vetted content, and peer communities to teach employees how to advocate for themselves during their reproductive health journey.
  • The option to financially support employees’ reproductive health needs, including fertility treatments, fees associated with adoption and surrogacy, egg freezing costs, and more.

These reproductive health benefits can make a tangible impact both on your employees and on your business. Maven studies show that reproductive health benefits improve health outcomes and increase employee loyalty, productivity, and return-to-work rates. 

Ensure pay and benefits equity

For retail and hospitality companies, pay and benefits equity is a key component of creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture. The importance can’t be understated, as Black women’s average annual earnings are 67% of white men’s, and Latine women’s earnings are only 57%. Fortunately, companies are beginning to recognize these disparities and make moves to minimize pay gaps: A WorldatWork survey found that 70% of organizations took action on pay equity in 2022, a 10% increase since 2019. 

HR leaders can leverage analytics to identify which employees are underpaid for similar roles and responsibilities, highlighting patterns or trends that may be negatively impacting historically marginalized communities. A similar analysis can be done for benefits: do all full-time employees receive similar benefits, regardless of their position in the company? If not, managers should examine benefits gaps and ensure that all roles have access to the same benefits to avoid excluding certain populations from essential support. 

Facilitate employee resource groups

Employee resource groups (ERGs) help build a culture of community and connection among historically marginalized employees, including people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, women in leadership, parents, and more. ERGs provide a space for employees to connect with others who share the same background and lived experiences, creating a sense of belonging and encouraging retention. One example is AT&T’s Black ERG, The NETwork, which drives an 86% retention rate among Black employees.

These groups can also provide invaluable guidance to HR leaders as they continue to expand their DEI programs. By soliciting feedback from ERGs, leaders can better understand the resources and support that would make a tangible difference for employees of all backgrounds.  

How Maven supports retail and hospitality employees

As retail and hospitality employers look for better ways to support their diverse network of employees, Maven is here to help. As the leading women’s and family healthcare company, our 24/7 platform provides clinical, emotional, and financial support all in one place. We offer compassionate reproductive health care to retail and hospitality employees, providing them:

  • 24/7, on-demand support to a range of specialty providers, including OB-GYNs, doulas, sleep coaches, mental health therapists, and more. 
  • Access to providers that share employees’ same lived experiences and cultural backgrounds. 32% of Maven practitioners identify as Latine, Black/African American, Asian, Middle Eastern, or multi-racial, and 6% identify as LGBTQIA+.
  • A personalized care plan and the ongoing support of a Care Advocate to help them navigate their healthcare journey
  • Access to a library of clinically-vetted content and live classes to provide them with the information they need to become their own advocates. 

Want to learn more about how Maven can make a difference for your employees? Schedule a demo today to learn more. 

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