The story of global diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is just beginning as corporations grapple with the complexity of centralized business goals and practices—and local norms that may vary or be at very different developmental stages.
In the global DEI landscape, the strong influence and input of local leaders is crucial. Without a deep understanding of local norms, history, and laws, corporations may unintentionally do more harm than good in implementing DEI plans and processes.
Some employees and leaders globally view DEI as a US issue, originating with affirmative action legislation decades ago and supported by government workforces and procurement initiatives for federal contractors. The challenge for multinationals, those based in the US, and those based in other countries, is to make each country leadership see its unique abilities to create a more inclusive workforce and the business benefits of integrating DEI in its local strategy.
The term “glocal” has been popular in recent years to emphasize global values with a specific focus on local cultural emphasis and buy-in. Harvard Business Review advises multinationals to be as local as possible by not assuming everyone is at the same level, being aware of cultural disconnects, being very conscious of inclusive (and locally inclusive) language, recognizing cultural and historical differences, and being cognizant of different laws and expectations around data transparency.
That’s why Seramount’s Global Inclusion Index focuses on looking at demographics, best practices, and company culture on a local country level. Questions were designed for local input and are refined annually to make it more nuanced on a country-specific basis. This report shares the findings of the 2022 Global Inclusion Index, which shows a wide variation in demographics collected, efforts to hire and promote women, ability to use data to set goals, local leadership involvement, and starting supplier diversity practices. Many of the differences are driven by cultural issues, but others are reflections of early efforts in these countries by multinationals to begin to understand what inclusion means in a local area and how it impacts the workplace and the marketplace. These efforts, along with Seramount’s survey, are evolving rapidly.