The case for inclusion in the Global Workforce | Deloitte UK has been saved
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I recently presented at a webinar, Inclusion in the Global Workforce with Christle Van der Ven, Head of Global Mobility at IKEA, & Karlijn Jacobs, co-founder of Expat Valley.
When I first shared the title, I was asked why ‘Inclusion’? Why not ‘Diversity’, ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)’ or ‘Sustainability’ - which is the ultimate outcome of an inclusive, diverse and equitable ecosystem. And of course, they are all fair challenges. So, here’s my reasoning:
Inclusion is complex and it is intangible. It’s essentially a sense of belonging, the presence and absence of which I have experienced personally. As the daughter of a journalist, moving has been part of my life and as enriching as it was, there were times when I felt excluded – like the time I was sent to a Russian nursery when I was four. No one looked like me and there was no way for me to communicate with them for the first six months, the time it took me for me to learn rudimentary Russian. Or more recently, on secondment to Romania, when I was reminded regularly (not at work but in everyday life) that I was a person of colour.
So, as someone who has lived through exclusion, all roads to DEI start with a feeling of inclusion. This sense of inclusion is so vital to ensuring that we feel safe and can thrive at life and in turn at work. Providing this sense of inclusion or belonging to everyone, should promote diversity because people will stay and are happy to stay if they feel comfortable being themselves. This diversity in turn should promote equity and a combination of all of this should create a sustainable ecosystem.
The intangibility of inclusion makes it hard enough to deliver and measure, but there is a further complexity – what we need to feel included is very personal. It is determined by multiple factors that are in addition to our workplace and its culture. It is determined both by our individual situations – our age, gender, race, family situation, sexual orientation and what we need to manage our health and wellbeing and by external circumstances like the society we live in and how accepting it is of who we are.
Given how hard it is, why bother?
If we think about inclusion in the context of cross-border deployments, we are asking people to do one of three things:
So, inclusion, or that sense of belonging, becomes vital to ensuring the success of all cross-border deployments – physical or virtual.
If we look at Inclusion from a talent lens, the data is very interesting.
From a workforce perspective, there is a global war for talent – in fact skills and talent shortage is the biggest concern for approximately 71% of CEOs (according to Deloitte’s 2022 CEO survey). So attracting and retaining the workforce is high on all organisations’ strategies and agendas. If we look at the role inclusion plays in attracting and retaining talent:
From a business perspective, inclusion and in turn a diverse workforce:
In summary, inclusion is good for people and for organisations but there is no getting away from the fact that inclusion can sometimes be difficult to deliver even at a domestic level, so how do we translate this for a global workforce, given the nature of cross-border deployments?
Organisations across the board continue to focus on this issue. It’s a learning curve for all and I am sure we all look forward to making further strides in this area, whether focussing on domestic or globally mobile employee inclusion. We will actively share our thoughts too as we continue to learn!
Teji loves delivering large & complex Global Workforce transformation projects, working with clients in developing Global Workforce strategies through to the implementation. Teji has deep and varied experience transforming Global Workforce functions and creating technology-driven service delivery models. Teji has lived in six countries, both as a child and as a professional, so has great personal experience of what it means to be globally mobile. Prior to joining Global Workforce Consulting Teji led Global Mobility engagements. Thus, she brings a wealth of experience into her role and her work with clients. Teji is passionate about creating an inclusive environment, both at work and outside of work, and has shared her personal inclusion story to help promote this.