Building a more diverse and inclusive culture has become a priority across every business sector. Not only are more companies recognizing the well-documented benefits of a diverse workforce, but many are being called out for their lack of inclusiveness — putting them under intense pressure to diversify their homogenous culture and leadership roster.
However, achieving diversity and inclusion (D&I) goals is much more difficult than it sounds. In today’s competitive talent market, it’s not as simple as setting hiring quotas to check the box with employees from various genders, races or cultures. That approach is not only short-sighted, but it also ignores the importance of engagement and leadership development in the D&I strategy.
To be successful, D&I initiatives must be more strategic and take a broader and more holistic approach to developing talent. D&I needs to be ingrained in the corporate culture, so that it becomes woven into every decision, strategy and new product development. Otherwise, you’ll be continuously playing catch-up as your competition innovates, grows and expands — always staying one step ahead of you.
A global talent strategy is critical to fully integrate D&I into company culture. Not only does a global mindset help you build an authentically diverse workforce but it also gives you the agility to respond quickly to shifts in market forces — a vital differentiator in today’s business landscape.
Here’s more specifics on why a global talent strategy must be at the center of any successful D&I initiative:
1. Enable Strategic Talent Management
The globalization of business requires having the ability to place the right people in the right place at the right time. Whether that means opening a new office on the other side of the world, bringing in experienced talent to train and bolster a local team, or simply introducing a broader perspective, the ability to staff fluidly and strategically is essential. These assignments can be short term (a few weeks to a few months) or long term and even permanent. Having the agility to respond on demand, through a global talent strategy, is essential for success.
2. Maximize Employee Engagement
Employees are increasingly demanding global experiences and new cultural opportunities to enhance their own career and broaden their perspectives. This is especially true for younger talent, but not exclusively. Experienced employees who may be empty nesters or ready to advance to a senior role are also keen to gain international experience. Offering this can help you engage and retain a wider variety of talent.
3. Cultivate Leadership and Succession Planning
D&I in leadership roles continues to be a challenge for many companies, particularly with women and minorities underrepresented in senior positions. This is problematic for many organizations because gaining global experience is a key factor in leadership succession. Nearly half of organizations say developing global capabilities is a top priority for cultivating leaders, yet only 18% have a strong global leadership pipeline to meet their future needs and fewer than 20% of the people in the pipeline are women. Clearly, the mechanisms to cultivate those global leaders is simply not there for a lot of companies. Implementing a global talent mobility strategy can help organizations build a richer, more diverse leadership pipeline by giving underrepresented groups an opportunity to attain the global experience necessary to take that step. But, simply offering it isn’t enough; you must also encourage diverse participation.
4. Drive Team Agility
The future of work demands that organizations have the ability to rapidly form fluid global teams around specific business objectives. With a global talent mindset, companies can create the diverse teams needed to achieve these strategic objectives and staff as needed from a wider pool of highly skilled global individuals beyond the local market.
5. Enhance Talent Acquisition
Attracting diverse talent is essential to any D&I initiative. However, if your recruiting strategy is limited to local candidates, it can be more challenging to bring in the broad cultural perspectives that fuel innovation and performance. A strategic global talent mobility strategy gives you the flexibility to hire from a much larger candidate pool, offering the relocation services needed to ensure you get the right person for the job no matter where they are, while ensuring the best employee experience.
The ability to effectively deploy, manage and engage a globally diverse workforce is becoming a key strategic differentiator in today’s business environment. D&I doesn’t magically happen by hiring a mix of individuals based on race, gender and culture. It requires a more holistic approach to talent management that focuses on the agility to build the team you need to meet specific business objectives, anywhere in the world and at any time. With a thoughtful global talent mobility strategy, organizations can gain a competitive edge while supporting their diversity and inclusion priorities.