Business & Economy
Gender wellbeing risks challenge employers’ diversity, equity and inclusion progress
September 11, 2023
According to new research from Aon and Vitality, companies’ diversity, equity and inclusion practices risk being undermined by gender disparities. Here, Dr Jeanette Cook, Aon principal strategic consultant for health solutions in the UK, and Christine Wood, Aon head of office in the North East, highlight the value of diversity in the workplace and why strong wellbeing frameworks are critical to future success.
Analysis of new employee data from Vitality, in collaboration with Aon, shows key imbalances between genders at work in the UK, which, if left unchecked, can challenge firms’ diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) progress.
The findings come from a survey of more than 8500 employees in organisations across the UK to determine Britain’s Healthiest Workplace*.
According to the figures, men reported they were less likely to share the values of their employer (76.5 per cent versus 81.9 per cent for women) and felt more dissatisfied with their job than women (31 per cent to women’s 28.4 per cent).
There was a wide variance too between men (50.8 per cent) and women (33.6 per cent) when reflecting on whether their employer provides them with volunteering opportunities and supports them financially to do so.
Dr Jeanette Cook, Aon principal strategic consultant for health solutions in the UK, says: “There is a clear imbalance between genders across most metrics in this survey, with the data suggesting a lot of employers are not yet in the right place to manage the differences.
“Many studies have shown the benefits of having a diverse workforce, not least gains in productivity, performance, innovation and reputation.
“Companies cannot afford to be wrong-footed regarding gender variations in health and wellbeing needs.
“From a prospective candidate’s perspective, a future employer having a meaningful employee value proposition is an essential consideration when choosing their next job.
“The balance for employers, then, is to ensure that DE&I and health and wellbeing programmes support retention and recruitment.”
Christine Wood, Aon head of office in the North East, pictured, above, is a firm believer in the power of a diverse workforce.
She says: “I think it’s easy to look for people with similarities to yourself when recruiting new talent, but I actively challenge myself to look for people who are nothing like me.
“The North East team is deliberately diverse; we’re cultivating a culture where everyone’s views and experiences are valued, and where everybody has an opportunity to grow.
“Some of the best ideas and innovations have come as a direct result of the diverse nature of our colleagues, and I will continue to be passionate about creating an environment where everyone feels empowered to bring their own unique perspective.
“As I see it, DE&I strategies are directly related to the success of the business and the success of our teams in our North East offices.”
Dr Cook adds: “A one-size-fits-all approach does not work with health and wellbeing.
“Employers need to look at their own data in context with industry insights to gain greater understanding of the issues that are present within their workforce and to build resilience.
“While there are some basic and common wellbeing needs, to be most effective, organisations will need to develop flexible wellbeing programmes specifically tailored to their unique business sector and workforce.”
*Aon is the consulting partner to Vitality’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey, which you can find at www.aon.com/unitedkingdom/employee-benefits/britains-healthiest-workplace
To find out how Aon could help you build a resilient workforce, visit www.aon.com/en/about/building-a-resilient-workforce