Bring your global workforce together with inclusive leadership.
November 17, 2023
Implementing Diversity and Inclusion Strategies in Global Mobility Programs
A global workforce is, by nature, culturally diverse, but aligning diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and global mobility strategies goes further. It encourages leading talent of different genders, races, ethnicities, religions, and abilities to join organisations and stay.
According to a recent PwC survey, 54% of leaders considered diversity a priority area for their organisation. Many inclusive leaders are committed to listening to employees and developing global mobility programs with seamless global DEI integration.
In this article, we look at how to unlock the potential of your global mobility program using DEI best practices and technology aids.
The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Global Mobility
Inclusive businesses don’t just attract top talent; they can also drive increased sales. According to research by Fundera, diverse teams are 70% more likely to capture and penetrate new markets, and racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to perform better.
A robust global DEI strategy is beneficial for everyone, balancing ethical and social considerations with business objectives to drive greater organisational performance and competitiveness.
Challenges in Achieving Diversity and Inclusion
Global DEI and inclusive leadership carry many advantages, but executing a global DEI strategy is not without its challenges. In a McKinsey survey of HR and DEI practitioners, only 34% believed their organisations had sufficient resources to execute DEI initiatives.
A data-rich platform can help. Without the right tools, accessing information on specifics such as religion, ethnicity, disability status, and age can be time-consuming and laborious. Additionally, companies should consider ways of tracking systemic issues like structural barriers, economic disparities, and policy gaps for different demographics. Cultural barriers should also be identified and mitigated.
Key Strategies for Implementing Diversity and Inclusion
People underpin any DEI strategy. Your organisation should ask: a) Is your leadership committed to DEI, and is global DEI embedded in your organisational culture? And b) does your leadership have clear objectives, a workable global DEI strategy, and are they accountable? Inclusive leaders can use clear baselines to explore where a company’s global DEI strategy has come from, where it’s going, and if changes are needed to ensure it succeeds in cultivating a welcoming and supportive environment for all employees.
Gender Equality Initiatives
Initiatives promoting gender equality within global mobility programs must look at equal pay, flexible working arrangements, return-to-work programmes, and leadership development to ensure top talent is not discounted by gender. In an increasingly gender-fluid world, gender-neutral recruitment policies, support networks and mentorships help avoid discrimination and promote a workforce representative of the global community.
Cultural Sensitivity Training
Even the most seasoned international assignee can find it difficult to quickly adapt to fresh business perspectives – based on beliefs, traditions and customs which differ from theirs. Cultural sensitivity training helps to reduce bias and stereotypes, leading to better communication and increased awareness.
Culturally competent employees promote inclusive environments where new perspectives, talents and experiences are valued and celebrated.
Inclusive leaders walk the walk and talk the talk, embedding DEI culture in everything they do. Moreover, research from the Boston Consulting Group found companies with above-average diversity on their management teams reported innovation revenue 19% higher than companies with below-average leadership diversity.
Inclusive leadership teams:
- Align DEI, talent, recruitment, and global mobility strategy. An inclusive leadership team liaises with key stakeholders throughout the business, ensuring hiring, deploying, and retaining staff is DEI-focused from start to end.
- Integrate DEI with global mobility programs. Inclusive leadership teams see the opportunity to integrate DEI and international mobility programs, embedding DEI culture into global expansion efforts.
- Factor DEI assignments into global mobility programs. Inclusive leadership teams allocate appropriate timescales when planning deployments with specific DEI considerations.
Target destination assessments are critical in supporting LGBT+ inclusivity. For example, there are still 64 countries with laws criminalising homosexuality. Getting to grips with host country laws allows for informed decisions on policies covering non-discrimination, equal opportunities, and benefits. Feedback from LBGT+ employees can inform the training, support, and resources required to help build a truly inclusive company culture.
The Role of Technology in Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion
When it comes to streamlined cross-department (and cross-country) collaboration, DEI strategists need access to up-to-date resources and data collection tools. AI-powered tech solutions can provide current information on legal and regulatory requirements in most countries. These solutions can also track assignments, people, and performance in real time and are instrumental to success when implementing diversity and inclusion strategies.
Data Analytics for Tracking Progress
Global DEI initiatives are constantly evolving, so tracking people and performance helps to build an accurate view of where teams sit in the bigger global DEI picture. HR should seek platforms that offer a ‘single view of the truth’ at an individual or organisational level.
Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment
AI ensures candidates are evaluated solely on their qualifications and skills by anonymising data. Personal information on gender, ethnicity, or age, for example, is removed from applications. AI can also assist with interviews and screening, ensuring all candidates are subject to the same questions and criteria, creating an inclusive application process.
AI can also assist in global redeployment and onboarding. Centuro Connect, for example, uses AI to track regulatory changes in 170+ countries worldwide. The platform can also monitor progress against onboarding processes, for example, work permit applications.
Research from Capterra found close to half (45%) of disabled workers rate their workplace software as fair to poor.
However, giving employees with disabilities access to the technology they need to communicate and collaborate is crucial in developing untapped talent in your organisation. Digital tools such as screen readers and sign language apps not only empower individuals; they can also accelerate productivity and organisational performance.
Secure and Anonymous Reporting Systems
When employees feel free to speak out anonymously, it leads to valuable data collection relating to diversity and inclusion-related issues. Employee and candidate feedback informs any good DEI strategy. Gathering unbiased employee opinions through anonymous feedback surveys and secure reporting systems is useful when adjusting DEI initiatives to attract, retain and develop a diverse talent pool.
Case Studies: How Other Companies Excelled at Diversity & Inclusion
Here are two examples of companies excelling at diversity and inclusion;
L’Oréal employs people of 168 nationalities across 68 countries. Notably, 68% of L’Oréal’s management team, half of its board and just over a third of its executive team are female (rising from 21% in 2010). L’Oréal is not just focused on gender equity. It employs 1,625 direct employees with disabilities worldwide, working with nearly 2,889 via suppliers (rising 17% in the last two years). The company also has a solid commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community.
L’Oréal’s commitment to gender equity has led to (Economic Dividend for Gender Equality) EDGE and (Gender Equality European and International Standard) GEEIS certifications in 33 countries, representing 60% of its total workforce.
This year, Adobe celebrated five years of global gender pay parity. Since 2020, Adobe has achieved pay parity from underrepresented minorities and non-URM (under-represented minorities) employees in the U.S. Adobe defines pay parity as ‘ensuring employees in the same job and location are paid fairly relative to one another, regardless of their gender or ethnicity’. Adobe operates in 24 countries, employing 1,500 people.
Best Practices for Ongoing Success in Your Global DEI Strategy
DEI metrics often focus on core specifics; gender is the most common, asked by 22% of general frameworks (Right CoLab). Today, moving past gender to develop a global DEI strategy that evolves and adapts to trends and changing market needs is the key to ongoing success.
Here are our best practices:
Regular Assessments and Surveys
Each unique employee has a different story, and regular assessments and surveys capturing every touch point are rich in data with the potential to inform and adapt DEI strategy and policies. A complete picture is only built by fully exploring the individual’s lived experiences and recording their information accurately.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
ERGs ensure worker communities with shared identities and interests are supported and heard. However, caution should be taken when aligning an ERG’s purpose and goals with company objectives. DEI aspiration can transform businesses but needs globally relevant infrastructure to succeed.
DEI is a complex subject, but speaking about it openly and honestly removes any awkwardness for employers and employees. Open communication between management and employees fosters an inclusive DEI culture, unlocking untapped potential and supporting diverse business expansion.
Collaboration with External Organisations
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other external organisations offer specialised resources, knowledge, and training that are useful when developing DEI strategies. Their fresh perspective on DEI challenges often initiates a new approach for globally-expanding businesses.
Ongoing Training and Development
Listening to your people regarding global DEI strategy is vital, as is training and development. Technology can make feedback and professional development accessible to all yet suitable for each country you operate in. Creating diverse and inclusive learning materials helps your international team to grow and thrive.
Performance metrics related to diversity and inclusion provide data-driven insights to support continuous improvement.
Metrics to track the progress of DEI could be:
- Representation (gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability status etc)
- Retention/promotion/leadership diversity
- Pay equity
- Training and development
- Employee perceptions/engagement/satisfaction
- Grievance and complaints reporting
A company culture that values different talents, experiences and perspectives attracts and retains employees because it’s perceived as a welcoming and supportive environment for all. Integrating your diversity and inclusion strategy and global mobility programs unlocks a wealth of untapped potential, building a culturally aware team of inclusive leaders and decision-makers poised to maximise your chances of international success. Contact us today for a consultation on how your global mobility solutions can be used to enhance diversity and inclusion.