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Opportunities and objectives

Build the foundation

Workplace benefits are an important part of your organization’s DE&I efforts, but they can’t exist in isolation. It’s important to foster DE&I across all areas of workplace culture to create a meaningful impact. Before modifying your coverage, it’s important to have a clear vision of your diversity goals. Creating a Human Resources DE&I strategy is a critical starting point.

Many companies publicly release their strategies. You can check out Sun Life’s 2025 DE&I Strategy, which includes senior leadership commitments, measurable goals, and ongoing reports.

Data, research, and measurable objectives can help ensure the benefits you select best support plan members.

 

1. Identify the demographics of your organization. Start off by understanding the demographics of your plan member population. Review your representation by:

  • gender
  • age/generation
  • race/ethnicity
  • sexual orientation
  • persons with a disability

This can help inform which changes to your benefits coverage you may want to consider. Remember, it’s critical to protect the privacy of your plan members. Using aggregate data can ensure confidentiality.

2. Understand how your current coverage meets plan member needs. Pulling your benefits usage rates will help you understand which benefits are most used. This information can help assess which areas of the plan may be lacking. Use your organization’s Employee Engagement Survey to understand if your total compensation package meets plan members’ needs. Conduct your own internal survey to gauge more details. It’s critical to ask plan members, rather than assume you know what they need or want because they belong to a specific community.

3. Align your benefits plan strategy with your organization's overall DE&I strategy. While understanding current demographics is important, don’t forget to consider the needs of future plan members. If you don’t have representation from a certain diverse group, consider what benefits coverage may attract that demographic. Leverage your benefits plan to support and complement your organization’s Human Resources DE&I strategy.

4. Identify your budget. Plan sustainability and cost containment are often a priority. It can seem overwhelming to consider adding niche coverage for specific demographics that may reflect a small portion of your overall plan member population. However, many of the targeted products will have low uptake (and therefore cost) compared to broader solutions. Regardless, it’s important to understand your budget when it comes to updating your benefits plans. This will help you prioritize which targeted products you implement or may help you decide to focus on broader solutions. You can work with your group benefits team (consultant, advisor and/or Sun Life representative) to identify the most cost-effective enhancements.

If your budget doesn’t leave room for the addition of new benefits – that’s okay. Your plan likely already covers a wide variety of needs. Instead of modifying, focus on how you can highlight existing coverage to plan members. Learn more in the Communication section.

5. Set targeted, measurable, and realistic objectives. When setting objectives, first think about the resources available. You’ll want to ensure you can meet these objectives, as this matters to your plan members. Start with a small number of objectives that can help you build engagement. Some examples are:

  • Help your plan members better understand the coverage they already have.
  • Discuss how implementing new and inclusive benefits will not take away from their other benefits.
  • Educate your plan members about the advantages of offering more inclusive coverage.