On a black backround. Filling the right-hand side, the earth is surrounded by a network of interconnected nodes joined by a rainbow of lines that glow faintly. To the left, it says “What is the role of the supplier in the changing landscape of DEIB in Global Mobility?” Beneath that, “Shaping the future of Global Mobility”. At the bottom, on the right-hand side is the RES Forum logo.

Pauline Houston, Senior Vice President Business Development, SilverDoor

In recent years, there has been an encouraging shift in the priorities of global governments and corporates regarding the safety, security, and well-being of their people and the ethical practices of their supply chains. Businesses are increasingly demanding compliance to DEIB metrics from their vendors and providers. It has been an especially noticeable feature of the supplier procurement process, serving as a measure of a supplier’s values and, equally, their agility in the ever-progressing landscape of global mobility.

Likewise, corporates know the financial performance and longevity benefits of maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. Several years ago, I read a research paper by McKinsey and Co which found that ‘companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians’. Since then, DEIB factors have only become more prominent in the success of global businesses.

At SilverDoor, we have noticed corporates increasingly requesting evidence of their suppliers’ responsible, people-centric business practices – especially across three key areas:

  • Recruitment ethics
  • Onwards supply chain and the continuity of policies
  • Community impact

They want their supply chain to demonstrate their ability to support their own DEIB policies, too. I recently read an article by Ellen Lovell for Perceptyx where she highlighted the link between DEIB policy and employee well-being, arguing the importance of ‘ensuring that DEIB principles are reflected in every aspect of the employee lifecycle’. For many of us, global mobility and business travel forms a key part of this lifecycle. With business travel and relocation accounting for a significant proportion of work stress, the responsibility falls on us as service providers to safeguard our customers and demonstrate our efforts to understand and manage the complex needs of every one of their travellers.

So, what are global corporates asking of their booking agents?

They want to see third-party accreditation and evidence of compliance with their policies. They want to see statistics on internal recruitment practices, hiring protocols and staffing ratios regarding gender, race, religion, and neurodiversity. With over 27% of the business expected to be made up of Gen Z professionals by 2025, there is no wonder that attitudes are changing.

There is a keen focus on the ‘traveller journey’, too. SilverDoor is often asked to deliver detailed process flows outlining what the traveller can expect from a given trip, how this might differ by destination country, and how we can deliver a flexible service contingent on the unique preferences of each traveller. In fact, such has been our focus on traveller well-being that SilverDoor introduced a new Guest Services department in 2021 designed to provide an open line of communication for in-house guests.

Moreover, they want to see booking agents deliver comprehensive live feedback and reporting programmes, designed to improve satisfaction scores and produce tangible improvements for guests.

Why a human-centric approach to travel management is essential for the success of Global Mobility

Whether it’s vulnerable groups, travellers requiring accessibility provisions, or any traveller requiring tailored assistance to ensure their well-being, a human connection is what ensures the true needs of each client are met. It’s a key element to any successful relocation, and so traveller satisfaction comes down to a good agent/traveller relationship. Providing a safe space in which to ask questions, share confidential information and outline personal challenges can convert a difficult travel experience into a smooth one.

Delivering a personalised travel experience not only fosters trust and appreciably improves the traveller journey, it also has a significant impact on repeat booking. Over half (56%) of consumers say they will become repeat buyers after a personalised experience, a 7% increase year-over-year. Despite the advent of new AI technologies, travellers still want a personalised experience.

How can booking agents continue to support DEIB initiatives for relocating employees?

First and foremost, I’ve long believed that the provision of a compliant and diverse DEIB policy should not be considered a perk or a sales tactic – it should be a minimum expectation. A comprehensive DEIB policy should be inherent in the culture of any serious business, and it should evolve with the times. In an ideal world there would be no need for a conscious action plan, rather a culture of acceptance, empathy, and tolerance.

However, it’s also clear that exhibiting best practice in this area helps prospective clients to measure where a company is on their DEIB journey.

As I highlighted in my opening comments, booking agents are now encouraged to share their DEIB credentials more than ever – and it’s a good opportunity to alleviate any concerns around the inner workings of our organisations.

Booking agents would do well to revisit all their internal standard operating procedures. A good start would be to create checklists and policies for how to incorporate it into everyday decision making. Through these efforts we can make DEIB an unconscious and autonomous aspect of our businesses.

Taking the time to review and improve the fundamental ethics and values in our organisations will provide the necessary foundations for better working environments, attracting the best talent, and promoting healthy growth in the process.

RES Forum research

This piece is taken from the RES Forum research paper Embracing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, shaping the future of global mobility. Written by Jessica Drucker from Rainbow Relocation, the report is a detailed and comprehensive deep dive into why DE&I matters, and a clear demonstration of why it’s so important to get it right. Plus, it’s a guide to achieving a better future for your colleagues and your organisation.

Get your copy of Embracing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, shaping the future of global mobility, here: theresforum.com/annual-report

About SilverDoor

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