#ChallengeTheProcess: Are your rewards overlooking black employees?

This Black History Month, we’re exploring what rewards and benefits can better support black employees.

Inclusive employee rewards and benefits ensure that everyone feels valued, and that their needs are being met. But without tracking which employees are utilising them, or considering specific ethnic groups, it’s likely you’ll overlook certain groups of people – especially black people.

A one-size-fits-all approach is simply not effective. Statistics show that there’s a disconnect between what black people need from their workplace, and what employers offer. Not only does this affect engagement levels, morale and behaviour, it contributes to employees resigning because they don’t feel valued.

An eye-opening 2023 Indeed survey found that workers ranked pay transparency and equity, flexible working and increased representation as the top diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) initiatives they’d like to see their employers prioritise. Furthermore, two-thirds believe there isn’t enough black representation on their companies’ senior leadership teams.

So, how can employers do better?

Pay transparency and recognition

New research by Glassdoor shows that almost half of black workers in Britain (43%) have personally experienced a pay gap because of their race, or think this inequality exists in their current workplace. And when it comes to promotions and recognition, black employees are 41% less likely to view promotions in their workplace as fair.

Companies are encouraged to adopt pay transparency and create fair pathways otherwise black and ethnic minorities will always remain at a disadvantage. This may include disclosing pay bands in job adverts or sharing market and benchmarking data.

Pay transparency can reduce resignations, promote fairer pay, and help you to become a responsible employer. Take a proactive approach and communicate your policies and practices upfront.

Inclusive healthcare providers

Racial discrimination is prevalent in the healthcare system, particularly in the UK and US. In 2022, Pew Research Center reported that 47% of respondents said hospitals and medical centres give lower priority to their well-being and is a major reason for differing health outcomes. The survey also revealed that 34% of black women believe their health concerns or symptoms are not taken seriously by doctors and other health care providers.

It’s crucial for employers to do their due diligence. Get feedback from your employees and research the best options available for them. When health plans are approaching renewal, prioritise things like access to diverse physicians and cover for a range of conditions or risk factors.

Prioritising mental health

For many people in the black community, it can be challenging to discuss the topic of mental health. There’s a fear of judgement, stigma and being perceived as weak. According to Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, black adults in the US are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness and feeling overwhelmed. Only one in three black adults with mental illness receive treatment.

There are ways employers can support black employees’ mental health at work. Ask yourself some questions: have you reviewed your employee assistance programme (EAP)? Do you offer inclusive mental health and wellbeing initiatives? Do black employees have access to black therapists and counsellors? Creating a safe space for your employees to have open discussions will encourage participation.

Ongoing efforts

Black History Month is more than an opportunity to remember the contributions black people have made and hardships they’ve faced in society. It’s an opportunity for employers to learn about their black employees, be held accountable for improving the black experience, and ensuring fair processes and policies are in place.

Need help with your communication strategy? Let us help you engage your employees.

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