06 Jul Understanding Inclusion is Not Enough; Work Toward Active Collaboration
It’s not enough for global mobility specialists to understand the concepts of diversity and inclusion, and recognize the need for it in the workplace. They must also take part in ensuring that these ideas become working realities in their organization. Perhaps more than the traditional human resource professional, global mobility specialists need to deal with people from various backgrounds because this is their ultimate role and responsibility.
They need to recruit professionals and experts from different ethnic communities with their own culture, traditions, and set beliefs. Even if it is unintended, many of these hires become de facto minorities in the companies that they have been recruited into. They find themselves foreigners in a corporate culture that are often dominated and populated by educated Caucasian males.
Prejudice, hidden or revealed, is one of the issues that global mobility specialists have to contend with — and it can come from both sides. As our earlier blog elaborated, global mobility specialists must always create a working environment where differences can not only be respected and valued, but must be leveraged on in order to build a collaborative team.
But ethnicity, religion, and nationality are not just the factors that ask for inclusion. Other more hot-button issues include gender orientation, gender preference, gender itself, and marital status. The current workforce might be open to working with Asian assignees, but how would a majority of them react if one of these assignees suddenly admits he or she is gay? Will the female assignees have the same opportunities to advance in the organization? Can working mothers who have children at home be assured of equal opportunities, as well?
While the law and its anti-discriminatory statutes can protect these more diverse members of the workforce, the battle can be won or lost in the current working environment and its behavior and attitude toward these “minorities.” The law might prevent a bigoted employee from spurting hate speech towards his Muslim colleague, but it can’t inspire him to be more open-minded or more accepting of same. That kind of change in heart and spirit can be influenced by the culture of the organization, and that’s where the global mobility specialists can exert their influence.
That’s the first step. As described by Attitude, an open culture can be established and encouraged. The leaders themselves must set an example by treating everyone fairly, regardless of their age, sex, marital status, and/or gender preference. A meritocratic environment that emphasizes performance and results will subtly promote a culture of fairness. Talents can rest in the confidence knowing that their assessment is based on their hard work and results. They need not fear of any reprisal if they come out and assert who they are.
Second, global mobility specialists can make the creation of this environment easier by exposing their talents to a cultural festival in, say, Northern California, with its diverse cultures. One upcoming event, the Filipino Night Market starting August 18 and every Friday of the month thereafter will showcase its food, arts, crafts and culture in all 94,000-square-feet of the historic Mint Building in San Francisco. A night out on the town with his talents in places like these become immersive cultural experiences.
Finally, once mutual trust and respect among the members of the workforce have been established, global mobility specialists can hold regular smaller departmental meetings or chat sessions where issues about diversity can be handled and discussed openly and productively. This forum can be an opportunity for members — assignees included — to understand each other, where they are coming from, what they can bring to the workplace, and how together they can all come together to build a stronger organization.