Selection at Its Best: Developing a Diverse and Inclusive Selection

A summary from the Brisbane Chapter on 7th February, 2017.

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Feb 13, 2017
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The Brisbane Chapter Meeting on the 7th February 2017 started off with a quick immigration and tax update from the EY team (our hosts). The most critical item was around President Trump’s ban on certain countries and the fallout from that.

Our topic:Selection at Its Best: Developing a Diverse and Inclusive Selection Process was developed into a workshop format.

Table A – facilitated Alex Taylor of Cardno

  • How do we ensure we've selected the right person for the assignment? What is that decision really based on?
  • Who are the highly qualified but invisible people that we didn't consider in the selection process?

Table B – Amy Sloan of EY

  • How can talent and mobility can work together to achieve D&I business outcomes?
  • What are some of the barriers to an inclusive and diverse mobility and talent framework?

In this deep dive session, we discussed our unconscious biases that creep into our mobility selection decisions. How do we ensure we’ve selected the right person for the assignment? What is that decision really based on? Who are the highly qualified but invisible people that we didn’t consider in the selection process? Consider this: bias is a natural evolutionary advantage that allows us to quickly evaluate situations and make snap decisions about the world around us.

Although bias can be favourable or unfavourable, it is a personal opinion about an individual or group that may not be based on facts or logic. In the world of global mobility, this translates into selection decisions happening all around us that may not take into consideration the full value of the available talent pool.

Would you consider a pregnant employee for a 24 month assignment to India? Or a wheelchair-bound employee for a site based FIFO assignment? Or a part time worker to manage a large national client contract?

We talked about the motivations of employees (and potential assignees) and how this plays into the talent selection process. We looked at the diversity of global mobility assignees and shared some stories and learnings about whether the selection process really is inclusive.

Some of the take aways from each table discussion:

Recruitment process doesn’t exist for global assignments (from the internal employee pool) as it does for external hires. There is a need to start implementing a more rigorous process. A Talent database of skills and preferences (availability for an assignment) would help enhance the Talent pool and also help promote Diversity. Inclusiveness comes from creating the right workplace environment.

What is advertised vs what us preferred

  • Family considerations, educational opportunities for children
  • Culture of the country and alignment with the person
  • Have an open and honest conversation
  • Check they are happy in the policy
  • Leap of faith in a hardship location, visualise/paint the picture realistically
  • Some people who would excel don’t put their hand in the ring
  • Look-see trip for familiarisation are on the decrease due to the short-term nature of most assignments (people often do not know what they are getting themselves into and this contributes to failures)

Term of the assignment

  • Become ingrained in expat lifestyle
  • Shorter assignments helping some people to take these opportunities and others less so
  • There are the hoppers who enjoy moving from one place to another
  • 6 month assignments discourage people in taking their families – this can cause stress
  • 2yr+ - big moves for a family

Perceived host country perks – domestic help - but in reality - the normal support services from home (including extended family support) are often available on assignment.Employees may not apply for move because of: Pets, children, spouse work, medical services in country, housing/living standard, parental leave and a lack of flexibility in policy or location will not accommodate their requirements. This reduces the talent pool.

Advertise the assignment to all employees – you could be missing opportunity to get talented people to the site, e.g. Rio podcast to all employees, 1000+ Questions, 500+ viewed, got additional applications even though Mongolia hardship location. People who put themselves and others forward, needed to be able to visualise return path in terms of their career otherwise won’t risk it.

Invisible people come in many forms, from quieter people, less experienced people that may excel given the opportunity, less confident but may be more persistent.

Moving people off an existing career path may be viewed as risky if they don’t understand the possibilities that may open up to them as a result of the assignment.

Case studies of success will help employees to better visualise what an international assignment may mean to them. Promote the leadership journeys of senior stuff – it is now a requirement to have an international assignment or two (for C suite).

Table 2

  • Diversity of thought
  • Look at wide D& I principles, not just gender
  • Seek greater integration of Talent, D&I
  • Timeline – trying to get bodies on the ground to meet the critical path may override the effort to get the best people
  • D&I Targets should they be implemented?
  • Gender vs non-gender, inclusion
  • Under represented nationalities
  • Grad programs – focus on selection rather than the program

Barriers

  • Grad program and 457 implications
  • Children of expats
  • Support networks for extended family
  • Recruitment can be driven by shortage and D&I component can be a luxury

In summary, a better database driven Talent Management strategy could increase the Talent pool’s diversity and be better aligned with D&I principles . When selecting people for an international assignment a more rigorous recruitment process should be employed.

There are perceived barriers to an international assignment for some employees and these issues are not always raised and discussed. In many organisations during performance reviews, employees are being asked to respond to a question around whether they would consider an international assignment - which is good news.

Want to know more about the Brisbane Chapter Meeting or receive updates on future events? Please email Aysegul Kayahan

Go to the profile of Aysegul Kayahan

Aysegul Kayahan

Director, Relocation Specialists

Aysegul Kayahan, managing director of Relocation Specialists in Queensland and Victoria has been in the global mobility industry since 1993. Aysegul started the Forum for Expatriate Management community in Australia in early 2012, with chapters in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. From February 2015 to January 2017, Aysegul was appointed to the role of global chair of Chapter Leads for the Forum for Expatriate Management.

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