A Conundrum – Relocating Diverse Talent To Less Diverse Locations

We all strive for diversity in our mobility programs, but what happens when diverse talent is scheduled for an assignment in a less diverse location? Choosing employees from different backgrounds allows companies to tap into a larger pool of talent, but managing this talent in destinations where diversity is not the norm can be a challenge. Some employees may be willing to give it a go, but companies have a duty of care, and must consider legal and cultural norms that may not allow for a safe and comfortable relocation

Here are some of the key challenges to consider:

  1. Limited acceptance of diversity: In locations where diversity is not widely embraced or tolerated, companies may face resistance or even discrimination when sending assignees who come from different ethnicities, nationalities, genders, or sexual orientations. This can create barriers and risks for the assignees, affecting their well-being and ability to perform their jobs effectively.
  2. Legal and cultural considerations: Less diverse locations may have laws or cultural norms that restrict certain behaviors or relationships. For example, sending non-married couples to destinations where such couples are not tolerated can pose practical and legal challenges. Companies must navigate these legal and cultural considerations to ensure compliance and avoid putting their employees at risk.
  3. Duty of care and employee well-being: Companies have a responsibility to prioritize the safety and well-being of their employees. In non-inclusive locations, this duty of care becomes even more crucial as the risks and potential barriers to mobility increase. It is important for companies to assess and address any potential risks, provide necessary support, and ensure that employees are not exposed to discriminatory or hostile environments.
  4. Facilitation and cultural training: To mitigate the challenges, companies can provide facilitation and cultural training to assignees. Facilitation involves assisting assignees in navigating local customs, laws, and practices. Cultural training helps prepare assignees for the cultural differences they may encounter and equips them with the skills to adapt and work effectively in less diverse locations.  Host country staff may also benefit from training, not just the assignee.
  5. Planning and open discussion: Openly discussing and anticipating potential issues is essential. Companies need to engage in proactive planning, considering the specific challenges and risks associated with diversity. This includes addressing potential biases, prejudices, or discriminatory practices that assignees may face and finding ways to mitigate or overcome them.
  6. Balancing diversity and business needs: While promoting diversity is important, companies must also balance it with their business needs and the specific requirements of the assignment. They need to find a way to align their goals of fostering diversity with the realities and constraints of operating in less diverse locations.

Overall, managing diversity in non-inclusive locations requires careful consideration, cultural sensitivity, and proactive measures to ensure the well-being and success of assignees. It involves addressing legal and cultural challenges, providing support and training, and openly discussing and planning for potential issues. By navigating these challenges effectively, companies can tap into a diverse pool of talent while upholding their duty of care and promoting inclusivity.

In addition to Living Abroad’s International Relocation Center, with detailed information on 235+ destinations around the globe, our Culture Coach Online offers step by step online cross-cultural training, which includes diversity and inclusion for 151 destinations. If you’d like to explore, just click here for a free demo.