Workforce diversity can lead to happier plan members

By maintaining a diverse workforce, insurers can help guarantee their members have good experiences and high satisfaction with interactions, reported Business Insurance.

A diverse set of employees is critical now that so many new members have entered the insurance system, including people from low-income, Hispanic and previously uninsured populations.

There's a business case to maintaining a diverse workforce--companies must look and act like its customers and members, according to Tricia Keith, senior vice president of corporate secretary and services for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Highmark's Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Ray Carson echoed those sentiments. "We know customers today expect a more differentiated customer experience. Our ability to understand those diverse expectations and then develop solutions for them is very dependent on our ability to develop a workforce that reflects our member community," he told Business Insurance.

Prioritizing gender equality, in particular, can be a profitable strategy. However, to make it a reality, the CEO must support initiatives to boost diversity among the insurance company's workforce. "He walks it, he talks it, he holds people accountable," Betsy Myers, founding director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University, told WBUR.

A diverse workforce also helps Highmark and other insurers address various healthcare needs, develop and market new products, and remain competitive in the changing market, Carson said.

Other healthcare organizations have begun supporting diverse workers, particularly female executives. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care both have female board chairs. And women hold five of the 14 seats on the Blue Cross board and five of 12 for Harvard Pilgrim, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. Diverse women comprise 25 percent of WellPoint's workforce, with six holding vice president positions.

To learn more:
- read the Business Insurance article
- see the WBUR article