HomeOther Stuff4 inclusive health benefits that can help create an inclusive company culture

4 inclusive health benefits that can help create an inclusive company culture

Editor’s note: This post has been contributed by guest writer, Jenny Saft.

Increasingly,  job seekers are looking to work for companies that prioritise diversity and inclusion and genuinely care about their employees. So fostering an inclusive company culture, which accommodates a diverse range of needs, is more important than ever if you’re looking to attract and retain the best talent.

Building an inclusive company culture is not a simple task. It involves examining everything from how you hire, how you present your employer brand to the world and the support you offer to employees once they’re through the door. But you need to start somewhere. For startups looking to build a supportive and inclusive company culture, refreshing your company benefits offering to showcase inclusive and progressive attitudes to diverse health needs can help.

Below is a guide to five inclusive health benefits startups should consider offering to improve employee wellbeing, cultivate an inclusive workplace culture, and build an attractive employer brand.

1. Fertility and family-forming services 

Offering fertility and family-forming services can be a great way for startups to demonstrate an inclusive workplace culture. Over 186 million individuals struggle with infertility globally, and many will experience increased stress and financial difficulties as a result, which can impact how they show up at work. By explicitly supporting family-forming and fertility needs at work, employers tear down a number of barriers. They demonstrate that they recognise peoples’ family needs and ambitions outside of work, and legitimise the physical and emotional toll fertility struggles can take. This is huge for employee morale, as people can relax knowing that they’re working within a culture where their fertility struggles won’t be met with stigma, judgement or bias.

For companies looking to ensure their fertility benefits policy reflects inclusive values, it’s essential to provide access to multiple routes to fertility and parenthood. Programmes which include egg freezing and IVF, through to surrogacy and adoption, ensure all staff, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation and relationship status, can access the support they need to start a family.

2. Mental health support 

In recent years, conversations around employee burnout have prompted many employers to introduce a whole host of benefits in the name of wellbeing. But offering subscriptions to meditation apps or yoga classes is not a replacement for real mental health support. Nor will it help cultivate an inclusive workplace culture.

Over 60% of workers have experienced mental health issues, so for startups looking to

offer more meaningful support, providing access to a wide range of evidence-based mental health services to support a range of needs is essential. Plus, proper mental health support has been shown to increase business performance, too. Platforms like Oliva offer tailored, on-demand therapy. Other apps – like Headspace – can help employees with meditation and sleep.

3. Menopause support and menstrual leave 

Offering menopause support and menstrual leave should be a priority for startups looking to improve the gender diversity of their teams. 50% of the population menstruate and will go through menopause. And 58% of women will struggle with menopause-related stress at work.

By offering menopause support and menstrual leave, through platforms like Stella, companies can ensure these common health issues are properly understood and accommodated. It also showcases how the business’s commitment to gender equity is genuine and reflected in its practices.

For startups looking to follow Spain’s example (as the first country to introduce paid menstrual leave in Europe) it’s important to also foster inclusive workplace attitudes around health issues experienced by women and people with uteruses, so workers feel safe and encouraged to make use of the available support.

4. Strong private medical insurance 

To create inclusive and diverse workplaces it’s essential to provide a comprehensive range of physical health benefits, too, which can be provided through a strong private health insurance policy. Insurance can help people access healthcare services like physical therapy or specialist care for chronic conditions, which can make a tangible difference to employee health and wellbeing. These benefits can also ensure workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions feel fully supported at work.

Good insurance policies should also give staff access to health screening services which empower them to plan and look after their long-term health. This empowers employees to seek earlier intervention should they notice their health deteriorate: this can have a significant positive effect on individual health outcomes, as well as easing pressure on health services and preventing people from dropping out of the workforce early due to poor health.

It’s a good idea to supplement these benefits with clear, progressive flexible working guidelines to ensure employees with specific physical health needs are able to work comfortably and flexibly in a way which works for them.

It goes without saying that offering progressive health benefits cannot create an inclusive company culture on its own. These benefits must be accompanied by an honest audit of company culture, hiring and DE&I policies that drive authentic inclusion across the board. But offering health support can be a useful place to start, making workplaces more accessible and putting inclusive company values into practice by ensuring diverse health needs are accommodated, supported and understood.

Jenny Saft
Jenny Saft
Guest writer Jenny Saft is CEO and co-founder at Apryl: a Berlin-based fertility benefits platform helping companies across Europe offer staff access to inclusive fertility and family forming services - everything from egg freezing through to adoption and IVF. She was inspired to start Apryl following her own experience of freezing her eggs. In addition to founding Apryl, Jenny is an an Angel investor, investing in early-stage startups through the Atomico Angel Programme.

Most Popular