Promoting Financial Wellness: Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Keep your ears open in today’s professional world, and you’re likely to hear conversations around the idea of equity and inclusion. As discussions of this topic become more widespread, businesses across the country are asking themselves whether they’re doing enough to ensure equity and inclusion in their organizations.
There are many ways to address a multifaceted topic like this. However, one way that many businesses first look at equity is by analyzing their financial contributions to their employees. Here we will discuss financial equity and inclusion and offer four strategies you can use to establish and promote them in your company.
What is Financial Equity and Inclusion?
You may be familiar with the traditional definition of equity, which refers to a shareholder’s stake in a company. However, for this discussion, equity is more like the idea of equality. In a workplace setting, financial equity and inclusion refer to the idea that an employer ensures all employees have an equal opportunity to build wealth and maintain financial wellness.
Of course, this idea is more nuanced than by simply addressing fair compensation regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Many working adults don’t have the personal infrastructure to build and sustain financial wellness beyond the paycheck. For example, the World Bank estimates that approximately 1.7 billion adults worldwide don’t have access to a basic bank account. Facts like this suggest that simply improving financial education could be an effective way for companies to improve financial equity and inclusion within their organizations.
That said, there are a few simple steps businesses can take to set their employees up for financial success. Let’s talk more about that.
4 Strategies to Encourage Financial Equity in the Workplace
Financial equity doesn’t have to be some ambiguous term that businesses struggle to grapple with – there are some tangible steps that you can take to help your employees on the path to financial wellness.
Create an Inclusive Culture
Culture is a big deal — so big, in fact, that 46% of job seekers list it as one of their top considerations when applying for a job. Does your organization feel like a “good ol’ boys” club, or does it foster an environment that encourages employees of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to speak up and contribute? If it‘s the latter, continue finding creative ways to engage your employees. If it’s the former, now is the perfect time to take the steps necessary to make your company a place where every employee feels like a valued part of the team.
Pave the Way for Equal Opportunity
Dedicated employees should be able to see a path for growth. If they view their position as a “dead-end job,” it means they likely don’t see an opportunity for promotion, salary increases, or career advancement. Let your employees know that your business is a place where they can grow and improve their financial situation. Conduct surveys with them and ask for regular feedback to reinforce that you have their best interests in mind.
Review Your Company Benefits
Benefits can be crucial to financial equity and overall employee wellness. A comprehensive benefits package should improve the lives of those who contribute daily to the business. Basic benefits often include medical, vision, dental, and life insurance, but, if feasible, your employees will be better off if you go a step further and provide extra benefits such as a strong retirement plan, 529 college savings plan (to address generational equity), and expansive parental and adoption leave/assistance for employees that are growing their families.
Most of us have heard the old phrase, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for life.” Encouraging financial literacy is an effective way to give employees equal opportunity to build their own financial wellness. You can do this by hosting paid seminars where your team members can meet with financial experts that can guide them and show them the best use of their financial resources. You can also include financial coaching as part of your benefits package. This critical step can also help employees and their families break bad financial habits and create brighter financial futures.
Financial equity and inclusion is undoubtedly a lofty but worthwhile goal. By taking practical steps to establish financial equity for every employee, businesses can improve their performance and become a place where talented people from diverse backgrounds want to work.