In recent years, companies have been incorporating fertility benefits into their employee benefits packages to better support those who are looking to start a family. While this is a step in the right direction, there is still a crucial element missing in many of these benefit offerings: diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In order for fertility benefits to truly meet the needs of today’s workforce, it is critical that employers consider the unique challenges faced by diverse populations and make their offerings as inclusive as possible. It’s important to understand that family-building benefits require more than just fertility benefits to be fully inclusive.
Let’s explore the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion when it comes to fertility and family-building benefits and the steps employers can take to ensure that their offerings meet the needs of all their employees.
What is DEI?
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a framework for creating an equitable and inclusive workplace culture. It focuses on valuing the differences between individuals and cultures, recognizing biases and power dynamics, and creating policies and practices that promote fairness, respect, and collaboration. DEI is about recognizing the ways that social identities—such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, age, and religion—have an impact on our day-to-day experiences.
In a business context, DEI looks at how an organization can attract and retain diverse talent, foster a culture of inclusion, and ensure that all people in the workplace have access to opportunities for growth and advancement. DEI initiatives include activities such as creating diversity-focused hiring practices, supporting employee resource groups, developing anti-discrimination policies, and providing educational training.
“More than 3 out of 4 job seekers and employees (76%) report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.” — Glassdoor
At its core, DEI is about creating a workplace where everyone feels respected, valued, and included. When implemented properly, research shows that it can lead to more engaged employees, improved morale, increased productivity, and ultimately better business results.
A 2020 McKinsey survey, conducted over the course of six years, revealed that organizations that embrace a DEI mindset enjoy 36% greater profits than those without.
How can DEI help create more equitable workplaces?
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are essential components of creating a workplace environment that is truly equitable and inclusive. When employers commit to fostering a culture of DEI in the workplace, they are investing in the well-being of their workforce and creating an environment where everyone can feel valued and respected.
The first step to creating an equitable workplace is to have an open and honest dialogue about diversity and inclusion. Employers should assess their current policies and practices to determine where changes can be made to create a more equitable environment. This includes evaluating existing recruitment and hiring practices, as well as considering how to create more diverse job descriptions, internal promotions, and pay scales.
Once changes have been identified, employers should create an action plan to implement them. This could involve providing additional training and mentorship opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds and implementing policies that ensure fairness across the board. Additionally, employers should ensure that DEI is incorporated into all aspects of the workplace, including workplace benefits such as fertility and family-building benefits.
Incorporating DEI into workplace benefits can create an environment of equity and inclusion for employees who want to start or expand their families. Employers can do this by offering fertility benefits that cover different family-building options such as IVF, surrogacy, egg freezing, embryo adoption, and more. These benefits should be designed with input from diverse perspectives to ensure that all employees can access the care they need to pursue their family-building goals.
When employers incorporate DEI into their fertility benefits offering, they are not only creating more equitable workplaces but also demonstrating a commitment to their employees’ overall well-being. Fertility benefits that are inclusive and accessible can help reduce stress and create a positive work-life balance for employees who are on their family-building journeys.
By investing in DEI in the workplace, employers can create a culture of respect and openness that promotes equity and inclusion. Through these efforts, employers can foster an environment where everyone feels valued and supported in pursuit of their family-building goals.
Why is DEI important when it comes to fertility and family-building benefits?
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are essential components when it comes to creating an equitable workplace. When it comes to fertility benefits, DEI is important to ensure that all employees have access to the same resources and support, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, or any other protected characteristic. By making sure that all employees feel supported, employers can create an environment where employees are comfortable bringing their full selves to work.
“More employers are supporting employees as they grow their families because they recognize that providing these benefits helps nurture overall happiness and well-being.” — Julie Stich, vice president of content at IFEBP
Fertility benefits should also reflect the diversity of the workforce. For example, transgender individuals may have different needs when it comes to fertility treatments than cisgender individuals. Additionally, if an employer only offers benefits for couples but not for single parents or LGBTQ+ individuals, then those employees may be excluded from taking advantage of the fertility benefits that are offered. In order for fertility benefits to be truly inclusive, they must consider the needs of all employees.
When employers offer DEI-conscious fertility and family-building benefits, they send a strong message to their employees that they are committed to creating an inclusive and equitable workplace. By taking into account the unique circumstances of all employees, employers can create a culture of acceptance and understanding within their organization. Ultimately, this helps to build trust and loyalty among employees, leading to increased productivity and morale.
What are some ways to make DEI a part of fertility and family-building benefits offerings?
When it comes to making DEI a part of fertility benefits offerings, there are several ways to go about it. The first step is to identify any potential disparities in access to fertility benefits that could be addressed by introducing more inclusive policies. This could include things like providing gender-neutral language in benefit plans or increasing financial coverage for egg freezing and fertility preservation for people who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.
Additionally, employers should ensure that any family-building benefit offerings are accessible to all employees regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or family structure. For example, same-sex male couples will not have a diagnosis of infertility and may be excluded from taking advantage of any fertility benefits that their employer offers. To be fully inclusive, employers should consider offering support for employees who are choosing to build their families through surrogacy, egg donation, adoption, or foster care.
“Only 1 in 5 companies that offer fertility coverage also offer coverage for adoption or foster assistance. What’s more, the average levels of coverage amounted to around $8,000 per employee versus the $36,000 level allocated for fertility.” – Fertility IQ
Once potential disparities have been identified, employers can begin to design policies that are more inclusive of the diverse range of individuals that make up their workforce. This could involve introducing flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to help cover the costs of fertility treatments, expanding coverage to include options like egg freezing, surrogacy, and adoption, or allowing employees to take paid time off to attend medical appointments or travel for treatments. Employers can also create programs to increase education and awareness around fertility and reproductive health in order to ensure that employees have access to the information and resources they need.
Finally, employers should actively promote their fertility and family-building benefits offerings to ensure that all employees are aware of their options. This could include providing regular communications about available benefits, including them in employee onboarding materials, hosting workshops or webinars on fertility topics, or offering financial assistance for fertility treatments. Taking the time to proactively make sure employees know about available fertility and family-building benefits will help create an environment of support and understanding.
By taking the steps outlined above, employers can make sure their fertility and family-building benefit offerings reflect the diversity of their workforce and promote a culture of equity and inclusion in the workplace.
How can Vesta help your company become more inclusive when it comes to fertility benefits?
At Vesta, we understand the need for employers to create inclusive fertility and family-building benefit offerings. We provide comprehensive solutions that help make the journey toward parenthood easier, more affordable, and more equitable. Our experienced coaches are dedicated to providing personalized support to those building their families through adoption, foster care, egg donor, or surrogacy. They have a deep understanding of the challenges faced by individuals and couples on their family-building journeys.
“Balancing the emotional and financial stressors of my journey caused me to feel so overwhelmed. Being connected with a professional who fully understood my third-party fertility journey would have been wonderful.” – Denise Steele, Vesta Program Director
We provide tailored plans for employers to make sure their fertility and family-building benefits offerings fit their goals for DEI. Our benefit solutions are designed to offer a range of coverage options, so employers can choose the best fit for their unique needs. Plus, our partners have access to a dedicated coach to ensure their employees are getting the most out of their family-building benefits.
Vesta’s online portal also includes a suite of educational resources and tools to help employers and employees develop a better understanding of complex subjects that may arise throughout their family-building journey. This includes access to on-demand videos, one-on-one coaching, and an extensive network of over 1,000 full-vetted providers to assist employees in navigating their journey.
We recognize that all employees have different family-building needs, and our mission is to ensure all employees have access to meaningful benefits that provide clarity and understanding throughout their path to parenthood. By partnering with Vesta, employers can rest assured that they are providing an equitable, comprehensive, and inclusive benefit offering for all their employees.
To learn more about how Vesta for Families can help your organization provide your employees with more equitable family-building benefit options, contact us today!