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    For some time now, Espyr has been adding its voice to the social and business conversation about systemic discrimination in the US. As a behavioral health care company this is an especially important issue to our employees and managers. This is because we understand that societal discrimination contributes to the health and mental health disparities experienced by Black, Hispanic and other minority communities.  The Covid-19 pandemic and its economic disruption have only made these disparities worse.  This is an important health issue to the Espyr team, starting with its leadership.

    Espyr has an active Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) employee committee called Moving Beyond Diversity that sponsors a variety of awareness events and dialogues within our diverse team.  One driver of that effort has been our President and CEO of Espyr, Rick Taweel. I recently visited with him concerning his thoughts on the strategic value of DEI efforts for Espyr and all employers.  He shared his views that there are many benefits for employers and highlighted three.

    • Higher employee engagement. Taweel started, “This is pretty straightforward actually.”  “When people feel included and respected, they are more engaged with their employer’s mission.  Our employees are highly engaged with our mission of enabling people and organizations to achieve their full potential.  I’m sure our Moving Beyond Diversity efforts help communicate our commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion.” His comments echoed research about employee engagement reported by Deloitte.  They found that when employees see diversity in their workforce and feel a sense of inclusion, business performance is measurably improved.
    • Better hiring results. Awareness of DEI efforts and the role of DEI in company culture certainly aids in recruitment of talent. “Given the national shortage of mental health professionals combined with the increased demand for mental health services brought on by the pandemic, this is more important than ever,” Taweel said. He also noted that surveys show that 2/3 of job seekers stated that a diverse workforce is important when considering multiple job opportunities.
    • A variety of perspectives improve decision-making. Diversity ensures a business gets a variety of perspectives. “This leads to better decisions because of the diversity of our team’s backgrounds and experiences,” Taweel added.

    “This is even simpler, really. A culture of embracing diversity, equality, and inclusion is just the right thing to do. Period.  I believe when businesses do the right things, good things happen for all stakeholders”, Taweel said.

    What advice does he have for other employers concerning DEI? Leaders must get personally involved in creating and sustaining a culture that values DEI, no matter how large or small the organization.

    What is your organization doing to support DEI?  Share your organization’s best practices by sending them to me at and we’ll publish them in a future blog posting.

    About the Author

    Norman Winegar, LCSW, CEAP, NCAC II is the Chief Clinical Officer at Espyr For over 30 years, Norman has practiced in mental health, substance misuse, and EAP settings. He has also worked in leadership positions in both public and private sector behavioral health organizations. An author of four books, he is frequently called on for presentations and as a panelist to share his expertise and experience as a mental health professional.

    About Espyr

    For over 30 years Espyr, has provided innovative mental health solutions – solutions like our AI powered chatbot, TESS – to organizations operating under some of the most challenging conditions. Espyr’s portfolio of customized counseling, coaching and consulting solutions help people and organizations achieve their full potential by providing mental health support and driving positive behavioral change.  For more information on how Espyr can help your organization, call Espyr at 888-570-3479 or click here.


    Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup?


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    Tag(s): DEI , Diversity

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