Health equity has become a pressing topic for employers as organizations acknowledge gaps in well-being outcomes across diverse employee groups. But what exactly does health equity entail, and how can your business move towards it?
Defining Health Equity
A 2023 survey of 500 leaders monitoring health equity across 6 different industries found that 19% of organizations lack a common understanding or awareness of what health equity entails.
Health equity means closing preventable differences in health access, resources, and outcomes so that everyone has the full opportunity to realize their highest potential for health and well-being. It requires removing obstacles to care and coverage that are shaped by structural and social factors like discrimination, poverty, geography, disability status, and other demographics.
Steps for Employers
While addressing systemic barriers extends beyond one organization, employers make an impact through:
Equitable Healthcare Access: The well-being of employees is one of the most important aspects of any organization. Your business can reduce uneven utilization by covering out-of-pocket costs for care and transit support to appointments for disadvantaged groups and streamlining access points. By streamlining access points, your organization fosters a healthier workforce and cultivates a workplace where every employee can thrive, boosting overall productivity and engagement.
Inclusive Environments: Improving company culture is another tremendous plus of prioritizing health equity. Cultivate deeper belonging through non-biased talent practices, proportional leadership representation, accommodations, and removing the stigma around openly discussing challenges. An inclusive environment is critical and can be achieved by establishing a wellness or support program; see our tips here.
Community Collaboration: Identify and partner with nonprofit groups already embedded in marginalized neighborhoods to develop programs addressing localized needs jointly. This allows you to make an impact efficiently and raises brand visibility with community residents. Successful programs that enable underserved groups to access care can substantially expand your future talent and customer pools.
Data Tracking: Collect voluntary self-reported demographics and regularly audit health program outcomes to reveal uneven impacts by race, disability, age, and other factors. This allows for developing targeted solutions- demonstrating progress to important stakeholders like investors and prospective talent. Documenting advocacy and equitable practices is a strategic recruiting advantage for your business with top candidates prioritizing the alignment of organizational values.
The path to achieving health equity remains an ongoing process of continuous improvement, but the rewards are multi-dimensional. Employees stay healthier, boosting productivity and engagement across the board. It starts with awareness – where can your culture and benefits package evolve to provide ALL employees the best chance at well-being? Contact us to find out.