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How Diversity and Inclusiveness Can Strengthen Your Mobile Workforce 06.19.2019 | Laura Levenson

A recent informal survey of our clients showed that 64% do not offer training to their managers on LGBT/diversity issues, while 56% cited compliance (tax, immigration) issues as the main barrier to LGBT mobility.

Far more alarming is that today, in the year 2019, 76 countries globally consider homosexuality a crime.

While developing a more diverse workforce and inclusive mobility program are considered key to fostering an environment that sparks innovation, companies need to be mindful of the challenges facing their LGBTQ assignees and how to respond to them.

Even in regions that rank among the top 10 global destinations for international assignees, the safety and well-being of LGBTQ couples and their families can be precarious. In some countries, openly LGBTQ people are met with hostility, and in some countries could face imprisonment or the death penalty.

Select countries and governments are well-known for brutal rallying against homosexuality. As detailed by InterNations, Russia passed a law banning “the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships”, which mostly targets homosexuals and transgendered people. The law is enforced aggressively and those who break it face a hefty fine. On top of that, foreigners are punished with 15 days of prison and deportation. Other countries are planning to pass similar laws.

On the flip side, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Brazil are among the most advanced in Latin America and the world, with LGBT people having marriage rights available nationwide since May 2013. But even with these advances and a recent Supreme Court ruling making discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity a criminal offence akin to racism, for LGBTQ people, Brazil continues to be a dangerous place. Just last year, 320 people were the victims of homophobic or transphobic homicides, according to watchdog group Grupo Gay de Bahia.

Companies that recognize the value of a diverse workforce are generally positioning themselves for a stronger growth trajectory; however they must also understand and respect local laws and limitations and how these can prevent the development of a truly inclusive environment.

The good news is that gay marriage is now legal in 27 countries. In gay friendly countries, companies are adopting the following practices:

  • Celebrating diversity, and increasingly  taking full advantage of the available global talent pool when evaluating and selecting candidates, regardless of sexual orientation.
  • Developing a work environment that celebrates diversity, assuring individuals that divulging certain aspects of their personal life will not result in any form of discrimination within their workplace.

So in honor of Pride Month, celebrate the mobile talent you have and ensure that your program treats them all equally, no matter their background, their nationality, or their sexual orientation.

For more on Diversity in Mobility, please read our full white paper Diversity Matters, which can be found here.

Some of this information was received from: Mercer North America LGBT Global Mobility Pulse Survey Do Ask, Do Tell? (Dana Wilkie, 2016 SHRM) Article

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Written by Laura Levenson

Weichert_Laura_Levenson

Laura Levenson is Global Practice Leader with Weichert Workforce Mobility’s Consulting group. She has worked in management capacities for workforce mobility and Big Four firms, and is well-versed in bringing clarity to the most pressing global talent deployment challenges. She brings over 20 years of experience to her role and is a frequent speaker on the global mobility conference circuit.

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