Diversity, equity, and inclusion: a year in review

PRMA Consulting is part of Fishawack Health, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) sit at the heart of our business. In 2022, we continued to build a purposeful environment that values difference and ensures we treat everyone with empathy and humility.

In this update, Sheena Amin-Liebman, Diversity and Inclusion Director, shares some of the initiatives that were piloted within our global organization to drive a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture.

 

2022 saw us further embed DEI thinking and make a genuine, measurable impact within Fishawack Health. From implementing more inclusive policies, such as more generous paid time off and enhanced parental leave, to providing mental health resources that support our employees in remote working environments, here, we outline our key initiatives and successes from the past year.

Raising voices and building communities

To drive change and embed our DEI principles, we are empowering our team members at every level of the organization and across their career journeys to collaborate and play an active role in driving an inclusive culture.

In April 2022, we launched six employee network groups (ENGs) focused on gender equality, diverse ability, race/ethnicity, family, mental health, and LGBTQ+ colleagues, all of which have played a crucial role in spreading awareness and education while providing safe and confidential spaces for our team members.

Anyone can be an ally, regardless of their identity, and a focus on intersectionality can result in many of us being members of multiple groups. Each group is sponsored by a senior executive to provide advocacy, guidance, and support, illustrating that our commitment to diversity and inclusion runs from the grass roots to the most senior levels of leadership.

The ENGs were integral in the launch of our diversity dialogues in February, in which panels of internal employees regularly share their lived experiences. These dialogues often center around key awareness days such as Black History Month, LGBTQ+ History Month, International Day of People with Disabilities, and Mental Health Awareness Month.

Driving inclusivity at the most senior levels of leadership

Ensuring our DEI strategy and goals are supported and valued at the most senior levels of the organization is vital for building a company culture that is truly diverse, inclusive, and equitable. We are pleased to say that DEI is highly valued by Jon Koch, our CEO, who has joined more than 2,300 CEOs and company presidents in pledging to the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance DEI in the workplace.

Additionally, our Chair, Deborah Keller, has taken part in our DEI initiatives, including facilitating our Menopause Diversity Dialogue and speaking at our internal event for International Women’s Day, in which she revealed her career journey, barriers she has faced in the workforce, leadership advice, and her perspective on the importance of breaking down bias in the workplace and wider society.

Data to hold us accountable

If key performance indicators and benchmarks are not set, we risk DEI becoming a “tick-box” activity. In 2022, we focused on determining areas of priority and developing a robust strategy to ensure we continuously improve in our mission.

We regularly conduct anonymous surveys to gain an understanding of our employees’ experiences and to learn from their feedback on the diversity, inclusion, and sense of belonging at Fishawack Health. These surveys form the foundation of our Inclusion Index. We’re proud to say that this year, our employees’ Inclusion Index rating increased from 74% to 83%, setting a baseline for us to improve upon going forward.

Simultaneously, we are reporting on our gender pay gap. At Fishawack Health, 66% of our staff members are women, we have a female Chairperson, and five of our nine executive leadership team are also women. We are pleased to report our median gender pay gap of 7.4% is well below the UK-wide median of 15.5%; however, even if there is a small gap, there is still work to be done to drive equity.

Uncovering these opportunities to continuously improve proves why collecting, analyzing, and reporting on our data across our 22 locations is so crucial.

Breaking gender bias

To continue our efforts to reduce the gender pay gap, we have piloted several programs to empower women across Fishawack Health. This does not just mean developing leadership training – although that is a crucial part of ensuring women across the company excel to leadership positions – it also means developing an environment where women can thrive. To do this, we have reviewed our benefits and services to ensure our female colleagues are supported at the important moments in their lives as well as in their careers.

One initiative we’re proud of is our work to better support and educate our colleagues about menopause. Almost everyone born a woman will go through menopause, and while it can have a significant impact on their lives and wellbeing, it’s still a taboo subject in society. In 2022, we kicked off World Menopause Day with a Diversity Dialogue featuring a panel of women currently experiencing menopause. The session generated the largest number of questions we have ever received, demonstrating the strong desire to talk more openly about these topics.

Additionally, we have partnered with Over the Bloody Moon to drive awareness of menopause across our organization. We coupled this session with a webinar series that highlighted simple activities to support our mental, physical, and emotional health. Topics included resilience, financial wellbeing, finding a work-life balance, and connecting nature, self, and health. To cement these learnings, we are also working with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to deliver menopause training for managers, helping to support women, and develop an inclusive environment that breaks down barriers preventing women from progressing in the workforce.

Alongside our work to support our colleagues through menopause, we are encouraging open dialogues on fertility. For UK Fertility Week in November, we hosted “The F Word” alongside Fertility @ Work where four of our colleagues talked about their fertility journeys. The session kicked off with an open dialogue around other important conversations, including baby loss, adoption, and other options available to form families. In January 2023, we are also launching our new fertility assistance program, which will be globally available and designed to support our colleagues on their fertility journeys.

To support our female colleagues in their professional development, we piloted a Women’s Leadership Program, hosted by Unthink, which delivers a custom program centered on the value of shared experiences and supports female leaders to surpass their career goals.

We also continue to be proud partners of the Creative Equals’ Creative Comeback program, designed to help creatives rejoin the workforce after a career break for life events such as maternity leave. The free initiative gives women, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people with creative experience a route back into employment, arming them with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to gain a freelance or permanent role.

Supporting colleagues who are LGBTQ+

According to research by Stonewall, one in five people who are LGBTQ+ have been the target of negative comments or conduct in the workplace, more than one-third hide who they are at work, and one in five feel that being LGBTQ+ limits their job search.

At Fishawack Health, we know that for our team members to achieve their best work, they need to be their true authentic selves, and it is therefore imperative that we build an environment that is safe and supports them. To achieve this, we launched several initiatives in 2022, starting in January with our email signature generator, which includes an option for employees to display their pronouns. The tool ensures we normalize gender pronouns, outwardly display our commitment to inclusivity, and avoid misgendering anyone at the company.

We have also joined myGwork, a business community for the LGBTQ+ community that offers a safe space for members to connect with inclusive employers to find jobs, mentors, and learn about professional events and news.

In June, Fishawack Health celebrated LGBTQ+ Pride Month in the best way possible by creating myriad content and resources for everyone to enjoy. From “Pride Wordle” to “The Big Gay Quiz,” and education content and entertainment playlists, employees were able to learn about the influence people who are LGBTQ+ have across the world. We ended Pride Month with a Diversity Dialogue in which a married couple shared how they celebrate Pride as well as their wedding anniversary.

To celebrate Transgender Day of Remembrance, we hosted an open discussion around the enhanced understanding of the lived experience of being transgender and discussed the challenges that transgender people face in the community and in the workplace.

A focus on inclusivity for our diverse team members

Across the year, we have developed initiatives and programs designed to educate our team members on inclusivity.

In January, we launched our annual 21-Day Inclusion Challenge, designed to make inclusive thinking a habit for every employee.

In March we launched another inclusive tool to our email signatures, NameCoach, which is a recording and playback tool that enables employees to voice-record their names so people can hear how names are pronounced. Getting people’s names right promotes a sense of belonging and helps build stronger relationships between colleagues. It also ensures diverse prospective employees, and clients feel respected from their very first interactions with us.

As part of our work to ensure our employees are heard and their feedback is valued, in September we launched our Microaggression Reporting Tool. The tool is a support resource used to empower members of the Fishawack Health community who have experienced microaggressions by providing a forum to document their experiences.

It is important that we are prepared for the ever-changing world and how to successfully navigate this new environment in which we all operate. This tool allows us to have restorative conversations about how an intentional or unintentional interaction that communicates some sort of bias between employees can effectively be addressed. It is also supported by our companywide Unconscious Bias training, which covers microaggressions in the workplace.

Community outreach

As part of our commitment to DEI, we have strengthened our future talent through increasing the number of interns and graduates hired in 2021-22, including a program targeted at the BIPOC community.

We have also partnered with five global diversity and inclusion organizations, including myGwork, Inclusive Companies, Diversity.com, and Hispanic/Latino Professionals Association.

Most recently, in December 2022, we launched an outreach program in the UK with ReachOut, a mentoring charity that gives young people from disadvantaged backgrounds weekly one-on-one support from a volunteer mentor.

Building a healthier world for underserved patients

We have also made great strides in prioritizing a diverse, equal, and inclusive lens as we develop our direction and recommendations for healthcare strategies and solutions. One such example is the development of an advisory council to help our clients ensure campaigns are representative of the patient population, are culturally sensitive, and are void of any unconscious bias.

With Avalere Health having joined our organization in June, we have access to specific datasets such as the MORE² registry and a 100% sample of Medicare Fee-for-Service claims data, which are powerful sources for identifying patient groups at risk of poor outcomes due to the social determinants of health. By analyzing this data and developing rich insights, we’re partnering with our clients to address health disparities, risks, and outcomes for specific patient populations.

As part of its health equity work, Avalere Health and the Community Oncology Alliance recently published new findings in the American Journal of Managed Care highlighting the disparities in breast cancer screening rates during the COVID-19 pandemic among racial and ethnic minority groups.

Another highlight was the inclusion of the Global Malnutrition Composite Score, an electronic clinical quality measure developed by Avalere Health and stewarded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in Medicare’s Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, beginning in 2024. This resulted from nearly 10 years of work with hospitals across the USA, and once it is available for reporting to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, it will further expand the ability of hospitals to improve their malnutrition care.

Looking to 2023 and beyond

With the foundations for an empathetic and equitable culture set, we are so proud of every system, action, and individual at Fishawack Health for supporting our commitment as we look forward to a clear, purpose-driven year ahead.

Always striving for progress, we are excited to bring even more initiatives and insight that propel Fishawack Health to the forefront of the conversation around ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion remain a priority.

Visit our careers page to learn more about our culture, initiatives, and open opportunities.

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