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How to improve talent retention and productivity by focusing on DEI and unique needs

Does your workplace promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)? Find out how a strategic approach to DEI can improve talent retention and productivity.

Portrait shot of Asian lovely mother sitting on floor and young chubby down syndrome autistic autism little daughter lay down on cozy sofa smiling look at camera watching cartoon from laptop computer.

According to the Health on Demand report 2023 by Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB), 64% of employees in Asia indicated diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as an important issue they want their employers to support.

Commitment to DEI means addressing the unique needs of individuals, including those with cognitive conditions such as dyslexia, autism, or dyspraxia. These individuals can provide different abilities and contribute to positive interactions and dynamics that add value to the workplace. In fact, according to our study, 46% and 42% of respondents from Singapore placed importance on providing support for differently-abled and neurodivergent individuals respectively.1

For companies, one of the key challenges in meeting these unique needs is the lack of understanding, especially when some of these needs are not easily observable, such as when they impact employees’ dependents:

Driving positive outcomes by addressing unique needs via employee benefits

Prioritising the diverse and individual needs of employees can yield numerous positive outcomes. For instance, by providing mental health support, employers can help remove the stigma associated with anxiety or depression for their employees.

By improving well-being in the workplace, employers also cultivate an environment characterised by equity and respect for each employee’s individuality, which can result in improved productivity, engagement and morale as employees with unique needs feel cared for and become more focused and engaged at work.

This case study shows how MMB collaborated with a client to uncover and cater to the unique needs of their employees:

A benefits review for a major IT and consulting professional services company 

MMB focused on incorporating benefits for employees with disabilities as part of ongoing support for the client. First, we assessed the client’s existing benefits plan design and utilisation, and identified gaps in the existing policy where health devices — such as hearing aids, mobility aids and orthotic devices — were not covered.

To change this, the MMB team revisited policy clauses with the client’s insurer and obtained a quote to cover these benefits, eliminating the need for employee self-funding. As some benefits that cater to unique needs are not yet a prevalent industry practice, to be one of the first companies in their sector to do so significantly improved the client’s ability to retain and attract talent.

The key to tailoring your benefits to cater for unique needs is to find the equilibrium between providing accessibility to these benefits and financial feasibility for your company. Companies can work with a benefits consultant to ensure that their employee value proposition (EVP) is relevant to different needs and committed to promoting fair and equitable career development, while providing financial incentives for employee performance and promoting a safe and accessible environment for employees with unique physical and emotional needs. 

Aligning DEI to your organisational purpose

MMB helps companies effectively align DEI with their corporate practices and cater to unique needs with these five solutions, which can be customised according to the company’s size, geography, industry, and employee profiles:

DEI strategies alignment

Harmonising health and benefits programs with DEI strategies, considering all employees’ unique needs.

Benefits for under-served communities

Identifying a wide array of benefits that cater to under-served communities, including Employee Assistance Programs.

Employee Resource Groups collaboration

Supporting companies in collaborating with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to effectively address specific needs and foster a sense of belonging.

Holistic evaluation and strategy

Evaluate coverage, communication strategies, and vendor support through a DEI lens, as well as provide guidance to ensure inclusivity.

Strategic solutions development

Designing both long-term and short-term solutions to bridge access gaps and promote ongoing health and productivity of your diverse workforce.

With a long-standing track record in guiding the development of health management strategies for over 15,000 companies in Asia, including vendor selection, impact analyses, and governance structure design, MMB can help your organisation maximise the positive outcomes of pursuing DEI and meeting unique needs.

1Mercer Marsh Benefits. (2023). Health on Demand Report – Singapore.

For more information on how your organisation can foster a DEI culture and build a robust workforce that drives business growth through inclusivity, get in touch with us.

Our author

Julia Radchenko

Julia Radchenko

Health Consulting Leader, Singapore, Mercer Marsh Benefits

  • Singapore