The Push for Rainbow Talent in Global Mobility – Part 3

Rainbow Talent

Benefit From Being More Inclusive in Global Mobility

In the first part of our series “The Push for Rainbow Talent”, we have so far focussed on why this topic is important and why we think we need to address it. The Push for Rainbow Talent is our series to raise awareness for the less-represented talent groups in Global Mobility. This post focuses on how you can benefit from being more inclusive. Even though the global business case for boosting Diversity and Inclusion is clear, we seem to have gone backward when trying to reach our goals in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space.

If you want to expand your global competitiveness, you need to be a pioneer of equal opportunities, promote acceptance and understanding, and highlight the value of your employees. You need more than unconscious bias training for managers. You need to establish facts. And that can only be achieved with data. Here are the four main reasons to develop D&I goals for your Global Mobility Program.

1 – Tap Into a Bigger Pool of Resources

Establish concrete goals for sending minority and female talent and persistently work towards achieving them. You will then automatically broaden the talent pool from which the mobile population is drawn. This way, you will help ensure that the executive pipeline reflects your customer base, developing a more diverse group of future leaders. Finally, report the data regularly to your Senior Management. With data, everything will stay the same.

2 – Engage with a Mosaic of Different Perspectives

It should go without saying that a broader range of backgrounds (considering all possible factors, i.e., gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, culture, language, socio-economic classes, etc.) results in a team having a more comprehensive range of perspectives. That will reflect successively in better-stimulated creativity and innovation, and a team ready for all opportunities.

3 – Enhance Team Collaboration

It has been proven that women generally have better collaboration abilities. This heightened sense of collaboration is partly due to women’s better ability to read non-verbal cues. A better partnership will allow improvement in many fields, among which many team processes. Researchers have observed that groups with more women tend to respect speaking turns better and are better at leveraging each team member’s knowledge and competencies. 

4 – Gain Better Control Over Costs

One of the leading mobility cost drivers is not related to pay packages and policies per se but because companies often have a limited choice of candidates for assignments. A broader talent pool facilitates assignment success and indirectly helps control costs. You depend less on one candidate and can negotiate better packages if you have a broader pool. You probably also have better candidates if you have more than one in the pipeline.

Another way hiring minorities and women will benefit you financially is that happy and respected employees tend to be more loyal and easy to retain; that, in turn, saves you time, money, and energy in the hiring and training process. Do bear in mind that hiring them is a good starting point, but not sufficient in itself: you have to treat them well and not be afraid to admonish sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, etc., in the office or anywhere, for that matter!

5 – Improve Your Brand and Reputation as an Employer of Choice

Nowadays, having international experience is a precondition to reaching top managerial levels within many multinational companies. Employees develop essential skills and build a network that boosts their careers immensely. It’s, therefore, crucial that you promote mobility as part of your talent brand. If you do that, you will also be advantaged when competing for minority and female talent. Offering international opportunities to minority and female talent will put you ahead of the competition by showing in your reviews. You will become renowned as an “Employer of Choice.” 

Let’s move forward with tactical steps

One of the leading mobility cost drivers is a direct consequence of the limited choice of candidates ready for assignments. Inviting more women to the club creates more options for your company and indirectly helps control costs better. The more good candidates you have, the better your selection will be, and the higher the chances you don’t have to sell an incredibly overpriced assignment package. To successfully attract and retain female employees, you must have a talent brand with international experience as a core element of your employee talent proposition. Do you think that more women add immense value to your company?  

1- Set Clear Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goals for Global Mobility

Global Mobility, together with DEI teams, needs to set realistic yet challenging goals for increasing the number of female assignees AND female department heads in Global Mobility. According to the report, Elevating Equity: The Real Story of Diversity and Inclusion.  Seventy-six percent of companies have no diversity or inclusion goals.! 

2 –  Allow for More Flexibility by Having Different Assignment Types 

New types of assignments and flexibility are making things easier for women and employees with family responsibilities to go on assignments. As I reiterate in The Global Mobility Workbook, Global Mobility should be separate from traditional Long-Term Assignments. Even if those remain the preferred assignment type by all genders, women favor 6-to-12 months assignments more than men (37% vs. 29%). We can say the same for assignments shorter than three months (10% vs. 5%) as well as frequent business travels (36% vs. 32%) (PwC, 2016a).

3 – Identify and Understand What the Real Barriers are 

Do you know what the real barriers to inclusive mobility are for your workforce and organizations? If you’ve never measured how your current policies hinder women’s mobility, you should act NOW.  Stop simply assuming the barriers to gender inclusiveness and understand better where the actual issues lay. That’s why I recommend intercultural training for all Global Mobility Managers.

4 – Give More Visibility to Role Models

Women and other Rainbow Talent are not even considered for global assignments or where management assumes women to be less interested. Recent research from the RES Forum showed that while 80% of men believe the selection process to be ‘gender neutral,’ only 44% of women agree. Women appear to struggle to present themselves as potential candidates and selection procedures appear to be biased against them (FIDI, 2018)

5 – Use More Gender-Inclusive Language 

Too often, Global Mobility policies still refer to their globally mobile workforce with masculine pronouns. And quite logically, the consequence is that they would make you assume that “trailing” Spouses should be female. Well, it’s 2021, and this is not the case anymore. If you want to make your program more inclusive, start by addressing your talent differently. The UN has recently published new guidelines that will definitely be useful when updating your policies too.

6 – Foster a Supportive and Inclusive Culture

Your company must move away from the restrictive gender stigmas of the past if you wish to unlock your full global workforce potential. Your ultimate challenge is to create a culture where all your employees are on board with diversity and recognize its value.

Our message is clear: Global Mobility strategies that do not fully include women will simply not deliver their full potential. If you belong to Talent in Global Mobility or if you are a Global Mobility Manager and need more support for a breakthrough in your career, you can always contact me for a first conversation here. We will also shortly publish “The Global Rockstar Album” which is a self-help book for global leaders who want to bring purpose, performance, and productivity to their work, while also becoming more inclusive servant leaders. Sign up here to be invited to the book launch party in Zurich, Switzerland.

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