Recent Networking

AIRINC recently hosted a group of EMEA Global Mobility Senior Leaders to explore the role of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) in Global Mobility. In an open and engaging discussion moderated by Mike Wincott and Bruno Lagasse, participants shared their challenges and aspirations for Mobility’s role as an enabler of positive cultural change within their organisations.

Defining DEI&B

To borrow from the author, Liz Fosslien: “Diversity is having a seat at the table. Inclusion is having a voice. Equity is having the tools needed to speak up. Belonging is having that voice be heard.”

Mobility’s challenge is to cast the broadest net possible for these definitions. Virtual work is both a help and a hindrance as it may open doors to employees who previously were unable to accept assignments in person; however, there are also challenges with integration and understanding company culture that could affect employees’ sense of belonging to the organisation.

What are the Drivers for DE&I?

Any DE&I agenda needs to come from the highest leadership levels and to cascade down through the organisation. Mobility should act an enabler of that cultural change but cannot affect DE&I change independent of a wider company cultural imperative.

The Role of DE&I in Developing Leadership Pipelines

Mobility needs to be sure that assignments are used to cultivate diverse leadership pipelines. This means being intentional now about increasing the diversity of who goes on assignment; otherwise, companies will never see change in future leadership.

It is a balancing act between the needs of the home and host organisations and providing international as well as local opportunities for employees to grow. Mobility should establish its current baseline, track their progress on these diversity goals, and “look in the mirror” to check that a broad spectrum of employees is included in mobility.

Providing Access to Opportunities

The group posed many questions around the roles that technology and company culture play in access to career opportunities. Is there positive internal storytelling that celebrates the differences between employees? Do employees have equal access to these opportunities, or information about them? Do home locations encourage their employees to seek out international opportunities or discourage them from applying? Technology could support employees’ being informed of such opportunities.

Reactively vs. Proactively Incorporating DE&I

Companies can take different steps to incorporate DE&I. Proactively incorporating DE&I requires companies looking at their long-term visions – where they want to be in 3/5/10/20 years; how inclusive they want to be; what is preventing them from getting there.

The Role of Global Mobility

Mobility needs to return to the fundamentals of the importance of selecting the “right” person for the “right” assignment. This was important before the pandemic and is even more so now, with the range of in-person and virtual options available. In the context of DE&I, companies need to decide how to best utilise mobility – if it is used to help develop junior staff; if it is a prerequisite for leadership.

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