Ann Marie Trepkowski, Mercer
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are top of mind more so than ever given recent events around racial injustice in the US and globally. Creating a more diverse, fair, and inclusive organization is both a moral imperative as well as an economic one. Many studies have shown that more diverse teams lead to better innovation and productivity.
How can mobility support the organization’s initiatives for improved DEI?
1 – Data Tracking
If you are currently not tracking diversity data for your organization’s mobile talent, now is the time to start. Understanding the current state will help pave the path to improvement.
2 – Alignment with Talent Strategy
Mobility is more impactful for the organization and the employee when there is a strong business case approval process in place. It should never be the norm for a multi-national organization to invest millions of dollars in an employee’s global assignment because the employee is the friend of someone in the host location. A formal business case approval process, overseen by a broadly represented decision-making committee, helps to remove bias and make the selection and approval process more transparent and inclusive, and it ultimately leads to selecting the best candidate for the assignment.
3 – Policy Benefits
Looking specifically at gender, women make up less than 20% of global assignees. More women would welcome the opportunity for a global assignment and subsequent career advancement, but barriers stand in the way. Women are often the primary caregiver in the family and therefore may be more concerned about finding the right balance between family needs and career opportunities.
Policy norms need to be re-established in order to support the modern family – dual-career couples, single parents, employees who may be caring for elderly parents, etc. Consideration should be given to spousal or partner support, daycare differentials, family allowances, etc.
4 – DEI Training
Expatriates working in a foreign country may encounter an intersection of different DEI perspectives. For example, an expatriate from the US into Africa or Japan may have a different experience and perspective of DEI compared to local employees. It is important for the expatriate as well as local employees to understand and respect the various DEI perspectives implicated by the assignment. The organization can support this effort through DEI training programs, inclusion training and culture training for all parties involved.
5 – Communication
As you make changes to increase diverse representation with respect to mobile assignments, it is important to create an inclusive change management and communication strategy. The messaging should be designed to resonate with a diverse audience and promote opportunities for all. The communication should include what is being changed, why, and how all employees can seek mobility opportunities going forward.