Diversity matters. We know this. Most businesses put at least some effort in diversifying their workforce and becoming more inclusive, but does it surprise you to hear that companies with the most gender diversity are "15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median or that companies with the most racial/ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median?" Although being diverse doesn’t directly translate to more sales or profit, companies who have a more diverse workforce tend to be more successful. That’s because different people bring varying, unique and sometimes radical ideas.
This article explores the role of diversity and inclusion objectives in global mobility and why those objectives are or aren’t being prioritized. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the primary reason cited by mobility teams for not developing a diversity and inclusion strategy is because the business unit chooses the assignee. They’re simply brought in too late to have any say in it. This is a perfect example of the challenge ahead of many mobility teams – to shift from being a reactive, tactical department to becoming a strategic partner in business decisions.
While it’s true that the business unit managers may have a strong idea of the technical skills required to complete the project, they may be less educated on the cultural skills, interpersonal skills and personality traits that move an assignee from "good" to "great." This is where global mobility teams can work to get in front of the business and educate partners on the candidate selection process and introduce formalized methods to make sure there is a large-scale strategy behind the assignees being selected. Mobility teams and business units can never lose sight of the fact that the people chosen for relocation opportunities, especially international assignments, often become the future leaders of the company.
But with specific employee relocation decisions largely in the hands of the business, many global mobility teams struggle to see how they can make a difference. Encouragingly, the survey shows that some global mobility teams are embracing their role in advancing inclusion and diversity—helping their companies bring people’s differences together in the workplace, fully utilize all of their talent, and foster an innovative, productive business environment.