“Global Diversity from an EMEA / European Perspective – International D&I Strategies Revisited”

Expanding corporate diversity initiatives beyond domestic markets requires sensitive approaches combined with clear directions and an aligned global framework. Especially the differences between the US and the EMEA region can be challenging. While good practices can be found everywhere, they are more difficult to be leveraged internationally.This article is the summary of a webinar. This Webinar was part of the webinar series “International Insights” by the International Society of Diversity and Inclusion Professionals. The webinar series wants to educate Diversity and Inclusion professionals about salient issues relating to diversity and Inclusion in different countries.

Figuring out some key issues in Global Diversity shows the complexity of Diversity and its challenges. Those issues are different cultural, societal, legal and
demographic contexts, developmental phases in US, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, corporate mandate, regional responsibility, local action challenges, self-awareness for own perspective and others, universal applicability of tools, processes, models etc., language consistency versus freedom to adapt concepts.

1. Framing Diversity globally
There is no “one-fits-all-solution”. Therefore it is necessary to develop the concept individually. There are minor steps which help to achieve this goal:
Relate D&I to corporate values, vision, mission and strategy and manage / communicate it in a similar way. Engage in and facilitate regional, national and local discussions and integrate strengths and interpretations from these. Apply a both-and-strategy of common ground & flexibility and be clear on your framework.

2. Selling Diversity Globally

Your business case must both be globally compatible and leave room for regional specifics. That means: Making the Business Case (again).
Positioning Diversity in different contexts includes several implications for example demographically, legally, ethically driven. Your global messages must be firm and clear and they must acknowledge the different contexts of your organisation
(What you say [first], what you don‘t say, who says it and how it is said)

3. Implementing Diversity Globally

Implementing Diversity needs a robust foundation on data & monitoring/reporting. This includes a measuring progress (coverage of target groups or completion), a measuring project success (participation, impact, achievement, and output), monitoring processes (representation, pools, turnover, engagement, incidences) and measuring benefits (recruitment image, customer loyalty/feedback, innovation).

Furthermore a holistic change management approach is required. This means top-down AND bottom-up, business-driven AND HR-partnered, big bangs AND organic.

And you need resources to tackle complexity and allow for flexibility.

In short:

1. Global Diversity is easy to start, but difficult to implement
2. D&I has common components for insiders, but the real issues when expanding are emotional
3. Focused initiatives on certain groups are not necessarily appreciated in some cultural contexts
4. Global Diversity is a powerful model, but requires investment and openness to rethink established approaches (even successful ones)
5. The complexity of Global D&I cannot be reduced by delegation