Many companies are currently focused on enhancing their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. Global mobility professionals are being asked to adapt their policies to follow suit. But translating overall company initiatives into the mobility landscape isn’t as easy as one would hope.
One unique aspect of global mobility compared to general HR policy is that an assignment or a transfer goes beyond the traditional employer/employee business relationship. Global mobility extends much further into the personal lives of employees, sometimes in profound ways. A global mobility opportunity affects the employee’s life as well as that of their family. This involves considerations about housing needs, partner career opportunities, children’s education, living away from friends, family, and community, the political/social environment of the new location, and other factors. Because of this, it is even more important to apply DE&I principles to global mobility, adapting them to consider the personal aspects of an assignment.
Here are some practical steps to help get you started.
- Check your policy language – There may be simple changes you can make to increase the inclusive tone of your policy. The biggest opportunity is to use the term “partner” instead of “spouse” and to use a more inclusive definition of partner. Another opportunity is to change “home leave” to “travel allowance.” Notions of “home,” especially for international couples, can be varied, and support for travel to see friends and family will cover more diverse needs.
- Think like your employees – It is good to pressure test your policy. Consider the different circumstances, or personas, of the assignee – career lifecycles, gender, nationality, family status, religious beliefs, etc. Step into the shoes of the assignee and test if the needs of each persona are being addressed by the policy. If the needs are not being addressed, make changes to the policy.
- Default to “Yes” – In the past, policies were generated in some cases to indicate what the company would not do. Default to a policy tone that empowers the employee to take an assignment. Don’t create an environment of exceptions where employees must ask for their needs to be met. Instead, create a policy that encourages the employee to share their needs, and then meet them when possible.
- Change how you staff assignments – A wide range of possible candidates should be considered for assignments. Structural changes might be needed beyond mobility to implement change, but by partnering with the talent function, you can raise the profile of candidate selection for mobile opportunities.
If you have not yet been tasked with including DE&I in your mobility policies, it is likely you will be asked soon. This important initiative may seem daunting at first. I hope these practical steps will help you get started on your journey! If you need any help, please contact us.
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DE&I is an increasing area of focus for Global Mobility. We have launched a short survey to get a pulse on the latest developments in this space, and what specific steps, if any, Global Mobility is taking to promote DE&I.
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