Here’s how progressive mobility management and relocation strategies can make diverse workplaces gender sensitiveShiivani Aggarwal
It has been observed that workplaces promoting diversity are more likely to attract high-potential job seekers in comparison to the ones that don’t.
Today’s tech-driven, ultramodern business environment has made it exceedingly easy for multinational corporations and new-emerging startups to target global markets. Their expansion spree is followed by the deployment of the best of resources to newly captured geographies for monitoring, managing, and spearheading business operations. This is where mobility management and relocation comes into the picture – making it imperative for global organisations to adopt the best of practices to engage and retain their globally moving professions, the best ones perhaps.
As progressive ideas, technologies and way of thought permeate across the seas, it also brings along a change in lifestyle, reflected the most in changing work cultures. For instance, gender-neutral work opportunities and environments are increasingly becoming a universal desire for the professional world.
But how is this idea faring when it comes to seamless mobility and integration? Not great, for sure. Let us discuss the reasons for this sorry state in detail, and find out what the Mobility Management and Relocation sector is doing about it.
Why is diversity an essential?
Before diving further into the topic, let’s analyse why diversity has become an “essential” for global corporations. But first – imagine a road, any road. Now, the road that you’ve just imagined could virtually be anything, from a freeway that you frequently drive through to an alley close to your residential area, a road in your ancestral village (that you’ve recently visited), to the one right in front of your office building.
As you might have already noticed, our approach towards a given situation depends on our own individual experiences and thought process, something that can also vary dramatically from time to time. Our experiences, both long term and short term, are very diverse, which in turn influence our approach towards a given situation. This is the primary reason why acknowledging and encouraging diversity among the workforce has become imperative for businesses. It is also why homogenous workplaces are becoming more uninventive and obsolete, lacking ideas and innovation, as their market are increasingly being taken over by dynamic start-ups revolutionising the entire scenario.
Somehow, global organisations are beginning to realise the importance of building a workforce that’s both diverse and dynamic, as the merits of introducing diversity in the workplace are simply boundless. Primarily, it helps an organisation become non-linear and enables it to drive greater innovation and fresh ideas towards individual processes. It also adds a new skillset to the workforce which, as a result, increases overall productivity and innovation. The efficiency of an organisation simultaneously gets enhanced as a heterogeneous work environment boosts collaboration, employee morale, desire to work, engagement, and knowledge sharing. It is also observed that workplaces promoting diversity are more likely to attract high-potential job seekers in comparison to the ones that don’t.
Now, keeping diversity as the fundamental thread that binds modern-day processes and professionals, let’s focus on gender equality as an integral element on this thread and evaluate its development with regard to global mobility.
Female mobility in the ‘Man’aged mobility scenario
One of the prime challenges that global corporations face is the reduced collaboration of female workforce in global mobility. Today, women comprise about 25 to 30 percent of all expatriates assigned by global organisations.
This figure, despite being significantly low, is 8 to 10 times higher than that of female expatriates in the 1980s – which was 3 percent back in the day. This shows the incredible progress that female professionals have made and their willingness to fight against all odds. Still, 25 to 30 percent involvement of a gender that contributes half of the global population cannot be termed as an accomplishment, both for society and for an organisation. With women displaying higher intercultural skills in comparison to male counterparts, the situation becomes all the more ironical.
Organisations are mostly on the receiving end of the prevailing disparity. It affects their productivity and decreases their likelihood of talent acquisition. But achieving equality is not as simple as it sounds, more so in the sphere of Mobility Management and Relocation. In the global mobility scenario, a network of contacts is essential in helping identify the upcoming assignment opportunities and to receive the desired support. As men have a wider network in comparison to women, they are better poised for assignments that are for the taking. So, it becomes essential to develop a specialised network for women, or help them join existing networks, to increase their collaboration in global career opportunities.
However, the current challenge is more complicated than merely facilitating opportunities as participation at the first place is a more dominant issue for global businesses. The problem emerges when an assignee does not view herself as suitable for a given situation or region. Academic literature informs us that expatriate support before, during, and after the expatriation is essential for a prospect – and this is where expat-centric mentorship can benefit enormously. Expat support and mentorship programmes, which could include counsellors, soft skill training, networks, sponsors, and role models, can be very beneficial for organisations. Female workforce’s access to such amenities is very poor in comparison to men, and increasing it can help enhance the participation of women in global mobility.
The current female expatriates can be made role models, highlighting the nature and significance of their work, and their importance to the company. Potential female candidates also consider the information received from female expatriates to be very valuable during the process of expatriation.
Such information becomes worth its weight in gold when it involves living in challenging and regions with a perceived orthodox social structure. Human Resource managers and global mobility professionals, besides expatriate support, must walk the extra mile and inspire female employees to assume international roles through one-on-one sessions with current expatriates. This can give a tangible fillip to participation of women for international profiles.
Also, the fact remains that about 48 percent of companies rate “weak” on using external data for effective talent sourcing. About 54 percent companies are also rated “weak” in terms of using people-sourced data to predict workforce performance and improvement. Data analytics turns out to be the best ally of relocation and mobility personnel. It helps identify individual working styles and assign the best talent to a specific role.
Predictive analytics can take into account holistic factors, including performance, engagement, behaviour, individual skills, intercultural inclination, etc., and what makes a professional strive to achieve the desired objective. Certain other factors, such as work environment, can further enhance such evaluations. Non-intrusive data analytics, using a smartphone’s geolocation, can be developed to ensure the safety and security of a female expatriate in the new working atmosphere.
The Mobility Management and Relocation sector is taking giant leaps not only in ensuring a world-class service experience to globally moving professionals, they are also eliminating the prevailing imbalance in the male-to-female workforce. As they continue to adapt more innovative, sensitive, and comprehensive strategies towards streamlining the global mobility process, the global work environment is surely going to become less discriminatory than it is at present.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)