Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion: a structured approach

Moving talent between jobs and between geographies plays a key role in fostering diversity, equity and inclusion, and HR teams should be at the forefront in the fight to develop a diverse workforce.

Fostering workforce diversity, especially at the managerial level, ranks high in the list of priorities at many companies. Moving talent between jobs and between geographies plays a key role in fostering diversity and inclusion, and HR teams should be at the forefront in the fight to develop a diverse workforce.

Diversity is evolving representation. Equity is designing to ensure access. Inclusion is fosterin belonging.

Mercer’s view: An evidence-based approach to inclusive mobility practices may be the key

icon of line chart showing rises and falls


Root your strategy in proof, data, and analytics.

icon of chat bubbles


Create an aligned and committed workforce and leaders.

icon of a dartboard target

Take Action

Integrate DEI into policies, practices, and programs.

icon of a pencil


Set goals, measure progress, and share transparently.

Diagnose: understanding current state culture


Workforce Progression Analysis

  • Evolution of careers of former assignees
  • Insights into employees promoted faster, those who have left the company and employees seeing a stalling in their career

Pay Progression Analysis

  • Significant pay distortion may be due to the types of assignment pay package used over time
  • A lack of pay parity could also be a symptom of unconscious bias and might result in underperformance

See screenshot of a sample performance analysis by race
See screenshot of a pay progression analysis

Employee Voice

  • Measured during assignment, upon return, or after return.
  • Topics include: perception of mobility; links to career progression; inclusion within local teams.

Policies and Practices

  • Policy content: Is the policy relevant for all employee groups?
  • Gaps: Are there gaps in terms and conditions, benefits and overall guidelines?
  • What degree of flexibility should be introduced to meet the specific needs of some employee group?

Policy Review

  • These things are going well.
  • Here are some gaps.
  • We have actionable recommendations.

Engage: starting the conversation

Engage your executive teams through awareness and collaboration sessions. See a sample scenario below:

Estimated time Activity/Topic Objective/Content

Part 1: setting the stage

15 min.

Introductions/Meeting objectives

Establish clear purpose and outcomes; ideally, the session would be kicked off with a leadership message from the CEO or another senior leader.

30 min.

Setting the stage: Why this matters now

Create awareness of potential business impacts (negative and positive) of dysfunctional corporate behaviors, in terms of financial, people and reputational impacts.

Facilitated conversation: what are the specific benefits / ROI / risks to the organization (to form the basis for the business case exercise later in the session)? Where are areas the organization could do a better job in managing cultural risks?

45 min.

Leaders matter

Participants understand their unique role as leaders in driving culture/behavior change and feel comfortable sharing/discussing POV on sensitive topics:

  • Acknowledge complex position of white males in corporate culture, with emphasis on their critical role as change agent
  • Discuss why diversity without inclusion doesn’t cut it
  • Explore how leaders can support allyship

Facilitated conversation: what are the specific challenges and opportunities at the organization that need to be transparently identified/discussed?

Part 2: taking action

90 min.

What actions can you take?

Participants understand what role they can play as leaders, managers, and bystanders;

We will facilitate this section using a combination of group voting and multiple role playing scenarios to give participants an opportunity to personally understand/experience each scenario. After each scenario, we will brainstorm with participants to determine how the learnings/insights apply at the organization.

45 min.

Confirming commitment

Reflecting on session learnings and insights, participants will collaborate to develop the business case of how D&I contributes to the business (e.g. growth, innovation, engagement, collaboration) success of the organization.

Participants will also be asked to identify (and share, appropriate) their personal commitments to being a change champion within their respective organizations.

Prepare your HR and people managers to implement and support the mobility and DEI Strategy.

icon of a pencil
Key DEI terms and definitions
icon of a flower
Overview of today's DEI climate
icon of two people
Common workplace micro-agressions
icon of chat bubbles
Leading difficult race conversations
icon of buildings
Company programs and resources
icon of documents
Resources for self-learning

Take action

Include measures specifically for specific groups

  • Diversity made explicit in policy
  • Allowances for single parents
  • Special support for older expatriates
  • Provide support and detail for specific sexual offence laws in the country

Allow flexibility in the choice or the implementation of benefits and allowances

  • Give the option to repurpose an existing budget
  • Allow for the opportunity for ad-hoc decisions
  • Provide lump sums and let employees decide how to use them

Provide communications, cultural training and coaching

  • Proactively provide resources
  • Ensure awareness around host countries discrimination
  • Ensure assignees have a point of contact or mentor that is familiar with diversity issues and could also act as a role model

DEI should be the DNA in all aspects of the candidate experience.


Ensure accountability with metrics

Set goals, measure progress, and share transparently. If it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get done! To help ensure your organization is achieving its DEI goals, you need to identify what governance looks like, whether there is a process in place to revisit initiatives, and how best to progress.

One way to foster accountability is to track diversity of the assignee population, including candidate selection and offer acceptances, and to analyze whether candidates are being offered the right opportunities.

Examples of DEI-related metrics: workforce progression, retention, internal labor market mapping, engagement surveys, candidate selection analytics, promotion rates, key talent pipeline analysis.

Building a diverse and inclusive mobile workforce Download this article for insights and an action plan for building a diverse and inclusive mobile workforce.

Download now

5 key mobility contributions How can mobility support the organization’s initiatives for improved DEI? Here are five steps to get you started.

Read article

DEI training Moving talent between jobs and between geographies plays a key role in fostering diversity and inclusion, and mobility management teams should be at the forefront in the fight to develop a diverse workforce.

Learn more

Culture Wizard Passport Get country-specific, online courses for your global workforce – and lay the foundations for successful international assignments.

Learn more