As the modern workforce grapples with shifting socioeconomic dynamics and a complex legal environment, the demand for legal services is surging. Among the many benefits offered in the modern workplace, legal insurance stands out as one of the fastest growing – emphasizing its key role in enhancing employee well-being and advancing workplace equity. The significance of these benefits cannot go unnoticed.
In collaboration with a leading insurance provider, Big Village Insights was tasked with uncovering the impact of legal plans on employee well-being, productivity, and perceptions of workplace equity. The mission was clear: understand the contours of this evolving landscape and shed light on how legal benefits can drive positive change. The comprehensive study involved three distinct phases and leveraged the insight of four Expert by Big Village advisors – an EVP of HR & DEI, a Lecturer of Business Law and ethics, a Civil Attorney and Consultant, and an Adjunct Professor and Consultant in the Department of Social Justice & Social Change.
Big Village Insights kicked off the exploration with a three-day online community, engaging in conversations with 28 full-time employees from diverse backgrounds. These conversations delved into the state of legal access and, more importantly, the participants’ understanding of legal plans.
To gain a broader perspective, this insurance provider partnered with Expert by Big Village to interview four DEI and legal thought leaders. The team utilized its internal network, containing thousands of opinion leaders spanning all industries, as well as custom recruitment to find the ideal experts on these key topics. These luminaries shared insights into the legal landscape and the intricacies between diversity, equity, and inclusion within organizations. Their invaluable input provided context for understanding the role of legal plans in addressing these vital concerns.
The final phase was the quantitative study—a survey of 5,023 employees. This survey sought to uncover the prevalence of legal issues, the influence of legal benefits on employee financial and mental health, the correlation with workforce productivity, and employees’ perceptions of workplace equity. The results were nothing short of remarkable.
Legal issues are more prevalent than one might imagine. Over two-thirds of employees have faced legal situations in the past five years, but only a mere 7% sought legal representation. Moreover, certain marginalized and low-income groups, including those with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and racial minorities, reported higher occurrences of legal issues. These marginalized groups were disproportionately affected by the “Justice Gap,” with many actively avoiding the legal system due to a lack of trust. The experts affirmed the most important aspect to consider when offering legal plans is catering to specific employee needs within the organization.
Beyond access to legal support, our experts stated that over-confidence and under-competence in handling legal situations correlate with the lack of availability of resources. To maximize the benefits, it isn’t enough for employers to offer them —they need to prioritize educating their workforce. The access to resources offered through these plans has the potential to provide lasting impact, especially among marginalized employee groups. They can effectively support DEI efforts and close the Justice Gap by offering access to fundamental and meaningful resources and services. Similar to employer-offered healthcare benefits, individuals who use their employer’s legal plans feel significantly more cared for and report substantial improvements in both their financial and mental health.
In conclusion, our study proves that legal plans aren’t just a safety net; they are a comfort to the mind and a catalyst for better lives and more equitable workplaces. For organizations seeking to enhance employee well-being, productivity, and DEI efforts, this case study serves as a compelling testament to the potential of legal benefits. It’s time to unlock their full potential and bridge the “Justice Gap” for all.
Meet our panel:
Vanessa (#739017), EVP of HR & DEI
A visionary, trailblazer, innovator, and change agent. Facilitates organizational change in workplace cultures. Leadership experience includes change management, diversity, equity, and inclusion programming (DEI), strategic planning, learning and development, training, leadership coaching, talent acquisition, career development, employee relations and engagement, performance management, succession planning, team building, and project management.
Eric (#736334), Lecturer of Business Law & Ethics
Expert has served as Associate Faculty to a very prestigious University’s School of Social Work since Fall 2017. Beyond his academic position, Expert serves as Assistant Director of the City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Department, Commissioner for a County Human Rights Commission, and Past President of NASW Indiana.
Maja (#738959), Attorney & Consultant
Accomplished Attorney with 16+ years conducting case management and discovery of complex personal injury and negligence claims, administering dispositions, and negotiating settlements. Attorney with extensive experience reviewing and analyzing documents, representing clients in civil matters, and attending substantive hearings. She has worked on a wide variety of cases.
Johnanna (#738937), Consultant & Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Social Justice and Change
Expert was the SCP Manager at the Sexual Violence Center, where she led a 27-member, multidisciplinary team to evaluate organizational efficacy and implement evidence-driven change. She has served as liaison to 20 policy jurisdictions, among other duties. She’s established a countywide protocol for sexual assault professionals in non-profits, government, and for-profit agencies, among many other accomplishments, and she’s taught courses that focus on disseminating concepts and theories to students.