Unlocking Diversity, Equity, Inclusion: Insights and Role of Global Mobility Managers

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are undeniably at an inflection point in today’s corporate environment. Companies and institutions have shown a positive intent, ramped up discussions and activities, yet data reveals the slow pace of progress, according to a McKinsey report

The global market for DEI efforts, covering expenditures by companies on initiatives such as the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), was estimated at $7.5 billion in 2020. It’s projected to double to $15.4 billion by 2026. Despite these investments, sobering statistics suggest that at the current rate, it will take another 151 years to close the global economic gender gap.

In response to this challenge, the Global Parity Alliance, a cross-industry coalition dedicated to advancing DEI, launched the DEI Lighthouse Program. This program set out to identify initiatives that demonstrated substantial, quantifiable, scalable, and sustainable impacts, and to uncover the common elements among these initiatives. The aim: equip leaders with best practices to catalyze faster, scalable progress across the global business community and its surrounding ecosystems.

From the DEI Lighthouse Program, five key success factors emerged, which are vital for any organization’s DEI journey:

A nuanced understanding of root causes

Before initiating any DEI efforts, it’s crucial to pinpoint the specific challenges and root causes within an organization. This involves analyzing relevant data and gaining insights from those most affected. In the McKinsey study, Walmart undertook an equity and accessibility assessment that revealed frontline workers, a significant 39 percent of whom identify as Black or Hispanic/Latino, faced barriers in securing higher-paying roles due to skill set and degree requirements. Their initiative resulted in a 20 percent higher retention rate among program participants and an 87.5 percent higher likelihood of promotion for Black program participants.

A meaningful definition of success:

Defining success with clear, measurable, short-term, and long-term goals is imperative. Energy company Schneider Electric set goals to close pay gaps and achieve gender balance. Its case for change, which included the pursuit of fair compensation and gender equity, led to a 99.6 percent coverage of their pay equity framework and consistent year-over-year improvements in the pay gap for women.

Accountable and invested business leaders

Deep commitment from executive management is essential. Consumer cosmetics company Shiseido prioritized gender parity at board and executive levels, with the CEO making DEI a core corporate strategy. Senior leaders were held accountable for improvement through metrics tied to their compensation. As a result, there was a 24 percent increase in the ratio of women leaders from 2017 to 2022.

Solutions designed for context

DEI solutions should directly address root causes and adapt to specific contexts. Tata Steel’s initiative to improve gender diversity considered stereotypes, legal constraints, and work infrastructure. It launched India’s first-ever transgender hiring program, addressing unique challenges.

Rigorous tracking and course correction

Regular measurement of progress is crucial to determine effectiveness. HR consulting firm Randstad‘s initiative supported at-risk women in the United States. Through continuous tracking and feedback, they added childcare and professional clothing to the program, leading to 95 percent of apprenticeship graduates advancing into long-term job opportunities.

However, while these success factors provide valuable insights, an often-overlooked aspect in the DEI conversation is the pivotal role of global mobility managers in driving DEI initiatives, especially in global organizations where talent mobility plays a central role.

Here’s how mobility managers can contribute, in fostering diversity and inclusion within organizations, particularly when it comes to global talent mobility:

Inclusive talent mobility policies

These managers can collaborate with HR and DEI teams to ensure that talent mobility policies prioritize diversity and equity. This includes making mobility opportunities accessible to underrepresented groups and ensuring fair and transparent selection processes.

Cultural competence training

Global Mobility Managers can facilitate cultural competence training programs, enhancing employees’ ability to work effectively in diverse cultural environments and contributing to a more inclusive workplace culture.

Ensuring fair compensation and benefit

They should ensure that compensation and benefits for employees on international assignments are equitable, addressing potential pay gaps based on gender, ethnicity, or nationality.

Partnering with DEI initiatives

Collaboration with DEI leaders and initiatives helps align mobility programs with broader DEI strategies, promoting underrepresented talent in international assignments and leadership roles.

Data collection and analysis

Global Mobility Managers can play a pivotal role in collecting and analyzing mobility-related data, identifying disparities and trends that inform DEI progress.

DEI initiatives are essential for fostering inclusive workplaces and driving progress toward global economic equality. While the DEI Lighthouse Program identifies key success factors, it’s equally crucial to recognize the role of global mobility managers in supporting these efforts. 

By combining these insights and embracing the role of global mobility managers, organizations can accelerate their journey toward diversity, equity, and inclusion on a global scale, ultimately achieving meaningful and sustainable change.