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Diversity and Inclusion in Your Relocation Policy 05.8.2016 | Ellie Sullivan

Weichert Diversity and Inclusion Relocation Policy

Many HR departments are establishing their objectives for 2016. Among the most popular is advancing Diversity and Inclusion goals.

With talent shortages well documented and voluntary turnover largely caused by a lack of career development opportunities, your global workforce mobility program can be a strategic tool for supporting diversity and inclusion. What follows are some best practices to consider as you secure meetings with HR/Talent Management to align your 2016 goals:

Women

Unfortunately, women are still in the minority among the expatriate community, as stereotypes often prevent managers from asking females to consider an assignment. For example, assuming a young female executive would rather settle down and have children than advance her career through an assignment. Some ways that companies can increase the number of women considered for international assignments include:

  • Dispelling the myths. Help management understand that stereotypes may prevent them from considering suitable candidates and that women with working spouses could be provided with spouse employment assistance to overcome reluctance.
  • Getting involved in the selection process.
  • Providing childcare coverage during home finding trips.
  • Providing spousal/family support to ensure that assignees can find appropriate childcare in the new location.
  • Considering short term assignments that might overcome reluctance.
  • Establishing a Buddy system and mentor program to support women on assignments.

Millennials

Millennials have a reputation for high turnover, but research suggests they are more interested in “experience hopping” than job hopping. To that end, it is important to provide a host of exciting and interesting assignments to keep them engaged and developing. Many companies are establishing policies to support these “hand raisers”.

  • Ask them to go on assignment. During the recruiting process, find out if they are interested and if so, where they would like to relocate to.
  • Establish a volunteer policy for candidates who raise their hand for an assignment. This taps into their predisposition to want to travel and gain new experiences.
  • Most companies offer just the basics for these “hand raisers” –- immigration assistance and compliance related services only. Provide them with free destination information or other low cost services to expedite home search.

LGBT

Conscious and unconscious biases can limit your talent pool and it makes sense to increase awareness among managers about various benefits designed to support more diverse candidates.

  • Consider providing benefits to legally recognized “partners” and consider establishing guidelines for partners that are not legally recognized. Most companies define eligibility for benefits to dependents or members of the same “household”.
  • Research and understand legal limitations and cultures where it might be not be safe or legal. A good source of data is GlobeSmart a free country guide to SHRM members.
  • Where legal and safe, provide a flexible program to cover the needs of accompanying partners.
  • Help line managers understand what accommodations might overcome reluctance.

Especially for single parents, consider flexible home leaves to embrace family member travel to the assignment location/or give children the ability to visit the host location.

In all cases, best practices should include starting a communication campaign (on your intranet or through management briefings) to profile success stories and show how global assignments supported business goals and personal development opportunities.

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Written by Ellie Sullivan

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Ellie Sullivan, SCRP, SGMS-T, has over 30 years of experience overseeing critical mobility advisory initiatives, including policy benchmarking, proprietary research and tracking global trends and best practices. She is also the creator of our proprietary Optimization Lab format, which brings together Weichert SMEs and client stakeholders for day-long workshops to analyze current program challenges, identify solutions and create a road map to the ideal future state.

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