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26 Nov 2021
by Noreen O’Prey

How to create a reward strategy that supports all genders

Though there has certainly been some progress made in working towards embracing gender-equality in the workplace within the past years, there is still much more we can do as businesses to support inclusivity. Reward strategies in particular can help to play a large part in promoting gender inclusivity within the workplace.




A case in point has been the recently-publicised accommodations made for conditions like menopause. And whilst many organisations are starting to see the advantage in providing a comprehensive benefit package for all genders, making a more inclusive offering a reality is challenging. A truly inclusive strategy must cater for the diverse needs of your workforce and provide equitable benefits to all genders. Knowing where to start is key.

Becoming a more gender inclusive organisation benefits your entire organisation; from promoting a positive working environment for existing employees to attracting engaged talent. Organisations can start to create an inclusive strategy by considering the following approach.

Find a working arrangement that works for your employees

We’re starting to see a shift in working patterns; some employees are starting to return to their workplaces, with some finding a remote way of working more useful and effective. It’s important therefore to find a working arrangement that can be applied for all individuals that make up your teams. It’s clear that remote working can no longer be offered as an ‘extra’ anymore – it has become an expectation for candidates to see this offering as part of their reward package. Flexibility, both in regards to location and schedule can make juggling work and everything else more accessible to all.

Employers must now find a balance. Implementing a remote-only approach will surely provide workers with more flexibility, though if this is the only option presented by a company, it could negatively affect employee mental wellbeing. And as individuals have varying learning styles, a successful working solution should also address these needs.

We hold varying responsibilities in our personal and professional lives which need to be recognised for a truly inclusive working environment. Often employees prefer to go into the office at least a few days a week to reinforce the work-life separation that is currently still so blurred for many, while others find it easier to balance their professional and personal responsibilities while working from home. What’s important is finding an approach that works best for you and your teams, with solutions being provided to all regardless of gender.

Make mental health support accessible (yet discreet)

Confronting mental health issues isn’t as simple as pointing your employees towards the relevant support. Because of the stigma that surrounds the topic, accessing mental health support can be a source of shame for some people. Unfortunately, that sad reality means your employees may not be getting the help they need, even if it’s available to them.

Men have traditionally found it harder to discuss mental health needs – in fact, even today they only make up about 36% of NHS talking therapy referrals. Therefore when introducing mental health solutions, think about how you can offer mental health support that is both accessible and discreet. Remove any barriers to mental health support by making it easy to access anonymously and without judgment. This can mean offering more digital and distance options.

Think about gender-based preferences

People of different genders may have different priorities when it comes to employee benefits. For example, studies have shown women have a stronger preference for childcare benefits than men. As an employer, providing benefit solutions that are tailored to your team will ensure any package provided is relevant and useful. To do this, continually review the effectiveness of the benefits you offer to ensure they are still valid for your demographics. A significant amount of change can happen in a year and providing a proactive response to ever changing employee needs puts an organisation at the forefront of benefit design.

It’s also important to ensure that the team in charge of your company’s rewards strategy is gender-balanced. With a diverse gender-base, they’re more likely to be able to help identify these pain points early on in the process.

Make gender inclusivity a company-wide strategy

Although you can take steps to make your rewards and benefits offering useful to all genders, to achieve true gender inclusivity, your strategy will have to extend company-wide. For example, at Koa Health, we encourage staff to add their preferred pronouns to their email signatures and messaging profiles. We’ve also adopted a policy of using gender neutral language whenever possible, for example, instead of “guys”, we use “everyone” or “folks”.

And while some of these actions seem relatively minor in scope, small improvements like these can help people of all genders thrive at your organisation. When your people thrive, your business does too.

The author is Noreen O’Prey, global people & culture lead at Koa Health.

This article is provided by Koa Health.

In partnership with Koa Health

At Koa Health, we believe digital mental health solutions are the answer to mental health issues.

Contact us today

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