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231: Optimizing Benefits for Inclusivity with Rachael McCann, Senior Director at Willis Towers Watson

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The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the shortcomings of many benefits programs at the same time as 2020 prompted a closer look at diversity and inclusion within organizations. The marriage of these two occurrences has resulted in interesting considerations regarding inclusion in benefits. 

Today’s guest, Rachael McCann, Senior Director and North American Health & Benefits Inclusion & Diversity practice leader at Willis Towers Watson, is helping businesses understand how to optimize their benefits offerings based on the diverse characteristics of their current and future workforce. Rachael has 20 years of experience supporting employers inclusion and diversity and exploring the role benefits can play. 

In this episode, Rachael explores some of the benefits trends she saw in response to COVID, highlighting mental health offerings and caregiving solutions. She shares a few guidelines for considering inclusion in benefits programs and the importance of understanding social determinants of health in relation to benefits inclusivity. 

Lastly, Rachael offers tangible tips for both wellness professionals and organizations on considering inclusion and diversity in benefits offerings.

Interview Highlights (with timestamps):
  • [4:41] Benefit trends in response to COVID
  • [6:43] Implementation of mental health offerings
  • [11:15] Caregiving solutions brought about by COVID
  • [18:21] The discussion on inclusion in benefits
  • [30:34] Guidelines for considering inclusion in benefits programs
  • [37:23] Social determinants of health and the relation to inclusion in benefits
  • [43:26] Rachael’s tangible tip for wellness professionals
  • [45:03] Rachael’s tangible tip for organizations
Mentioned in this episode:
Full Bio:

Rachael is a Senior Director and North American Health & Benefits Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) practice leader. She also leads the workplace support intellectual capital pillar for the practice. She is affiliated with the Willis Towers Watson (WTW) Philadelphia office and has over 20 years of experience.

Her work in recent years has been primarily focused on supporting employers I&D, talent and sustainability strategies and commitments and the role that benefits can play. This includes wellbeing, equity, the influence of Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), caregiving needs and how future ways of working will play a role in how employers manage total rewards that enable their employees and business to thrive.

Professional expertise includes

  • Unlocking how employers understand the SDoH of their workforce, meaningful impact they can have and the role of data analytics and communications/education
  • Illustrating unintended biases or equity gaps in benefit offerings and how to create a roadmap of change
  • Interplay of I&D with talent and total rewards, and how employers can optimize their benefit offerings based on the diverse characteristics of their current and future workforce
  • Linking benefit and people strategies to sustainability and ESG commitments and related external metrics, reporting and measurement, and investor and regulator expectations
  • Health and welfare strategy, benchmarking, design, vendor management, compliance, due diligence and implementation
  • Developed and led the Health & Benefits Compliance practice (prior to I&D)

Wellness Professionals

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