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With such an increased awareness and focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), now is the time for companies worldwide to take a look at not only their hiring and employment policies, but also the language that governs their global mobility program. As a key facet of any companies’ talent management strategy, the language you use in your policies can be a huge influencer in how current and prospective employees, especially diverse individuals, view your organization.
In today’s climate, organizations must ensure their public persona that is touted via external marketing tools such as websites, social media and the like, matches their internal policies and business processes. Building brand trust starts with being who you say you are, right from the start.
One of the first steps any organization can take is to simply step back and review what your messaging and policies actually say. There is no shame in admitting to rolling with the policies of the past. Maybe there hasn’t been time for a proper review, maybe the task seemed overwhelming at the time, but as they say, there is no time like the present.
As you review, keep an eye out for any language that doesn’t fully support and acknowledge diversity and inclusion of all types. As you audit your terminology, documentation and content, keep your company’s culture and DE&I goals top of mind.
A full review of your policies for inclusivity should focus on ensuring that your language and/or benefits don’t unknowingly favor a certain demographic. For example, provisions to support travel or shipment of household goods that are scaled-down for single profiles may disadvantage single parents and inconsistent spouse vs. partner terminology may lead to questions about perceived inequities.
If your mobility team is not diverse, recognize that there may be implicit bias included in your mobility policies that you may not even see. Having someone that may have a different perspective review your documents can uncover areas of improvement. Focus groups of former relocated employees could be a wise choice in opening up a dialogue to find areas that may have created unintentional hardships for a certain group, i.e. people of color, women or the LGBTQIA+ community. It may be hard to hear, but as long as listening is a precursor to action, this is how companies get better and do better.
As we grow in our understanding of the origin of some commonly used words and phrases, we are now seeing a movement toward change. Seemingly innocuous words such as “blacklisting” or “master bedroom”, phrases such as “grandfathered in” or “you guys” can contribute to an atmosphere of distrust. And, gender neutral pronouns are gaining more favor as companies try to represent allyship for their LGBTQIA+ community.
When it comes to accommodating diverse needs, the challenge for many companies is getting out of the way rather than getting out in front. The strategies proven effective in maximizing flexibility and choice in mobility benefits such as core-flex policy structures, lump sum payments, flexible spending allowances, etc. can be especially critical for employees who may be reticent to communicate concerns related to their unique personal move experiences. Empowering your diverse employees to make their own choices without having to ask or disclose personal information can be an important part of demonstrating a commitment to DE&I.
Knowledge is power. The worst thing to do is to be too scared to start. Small changes can add up and can push forward a more accepting atmosphere in your mobility program. As further educational resources, we offer the following as solid references for developing more inclusive language and policies:
If you are interested in learning more about how Altair Global can support policy development as a part of a relocation management program, please contact us via our website.
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