Different countries think about diversity and inclusion in different ways. In this video, Dr. Stefanie Johnson talks about the importance of knowing the social, legal, and political environments of the countries your organization operates in.
- Even if you have a great understanding of diversity and inclusion in a local context, there are certain complexities in thinking about diversity in a global context, which affect your diversity strategy. These complexities surround two main issues. First, the management diversity across countries requires that you understand how different countries conceptualize diversity. This means you have to know how the social, legal, and political environment of a country might change the way diversity and inclusion efforts need to be implemented in that country.
The vast differences between countries would suggest that multi-national companies should adopt a multi-domestic approach. This means that the parent company, like US Headquarters, should allow each local business an office in Thailand, for example, to define fund and implement their own diversity and inclusion initiatives in their own way. Companies like Deloitte, take this very localized approach. They highlight the importance of respecting cultural differences and allowing them to create a diversity strategy that's right for them.
The second issue is how you, as a company, are going to manage diversity across countries. In other words, if you're Royal Dutch Shell, you're not just placing one office in the U.S. and one office in the U.K., but you also have individuals from these different offices working together on globally dispersed but inter dependent teams. In this case, you may want to adopt more of a global approach. You want people in the different offices to be treated the same. So their approach was to have business leaders from a diverse set of regions come together and decide what practices make sense for Shell global.
Then all regions agreed to adopt 80% of the practices that they had decided upon. This still gives a global feel, but allows some flexibility by country. In the U.S. for example, they focus on people of color while in Malaysia local bumiputera quotas were added. Whether to go local or global, is really a strategic decision that the company needs to make. And no matter what, it's difficult and it requires continued attention to integrate across cultures. Just as an example, Johnson and Johnson use a very localized approach but was having difficulties combining efforts across Europe and the U.S.
So they did something pretty cool. They hosted a live video conference on mutual perceptions, diversity, and respect. So that both regions could learn from one another. And the meeting was a great success. Deciding on whether to go local or global is a continuing process. Your decision might depend on how different or similar the cultures are that you're going to be working across, and whether your teams will be integrated across cultures or generally work separately.
- How prioritizing diversity and inclusion is good for business
- Establishing accountability
- Creating a global diversity strategy
- Creating a localized strategy
- Using benchmarks to track the progress of your efforts
- Measuring diversity program success
- Diversity and inclusion in Brazil, Russia, India, and China