Cultural diversity is a strength for all employers… provided you know how to manage it! Does your company know the best practices in hiring and integration of immigrant workers? Did you know that certain tools and programs can help you find and support foreign candidates?
Why hire immigrants?
According to an OECD report on recruitment of foreign workers, “Canada has the best educated immigrant population as well as the oldest and most developed labour migration program of all OECD countries.” At a time when the skills companies need are scarce on the market, recruiting professionals from abroad should be obvious. Especially since diversity has many benefits: according to an EKOS survey from 2012, 95% of employers that have hired a qualified immigrant in the past say that it was beneficial for their company, and two-thirds of them think intercultural skills are important for the success of their company.
Cultural differences begin with the search for candidates: customs are different depending on the country, so don’t be surprised if you receive a resume that is not in the usual format, and don’t reject candidates for this reason. Also, remember that degrees are not the same everywhere and find out about the equivalences.
You can contact one of the many organizations and programs that help connect employers seeking skills with newcomers to Canada looking for work: BC JobConnect in British Columbia, Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) in Ontario, ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia)… The Institut de recherche sur l’intégration professionnelle des immigrants (IRIPI) has even launched Cohesion35, a new tool that should help overcome “cultural misunderstandings” in the recruitment process by focusing on seven essential teamwork skills.
And once your future employee has been identified, don’t hesitate to support them in the process: visa application, searching for lodging, opening a bank account… Anything that can help them settle in and prove to them that as an employer you are committed to making life easier.
For example, RBC Royal Bank provides newcomers with advice on the local job market and helps them advance their career, and Friesens Corporation provides opportunities for skills development and on-the-job language training. Both have been recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). KPMG Canada is committed to the integration of immigrant women. Meanwhile, Scotiabank trains its managers to be flexible in the interview in order to adapt the exercise to foreigners who are not used to Canadian practices.
Getting a new job is a challenge, and even more so for those arriving from another country: the culture and values may be different, so adaptation may require effort. Remember to support your new recruit during their first few months and designate a mentor who can answer their questions and help them over any obstacles.
Finally, one of the most important points is to train and educate your managers on how to manage a multicultural team. Diversity is a factor of success in business… Provided the company knows how to take differences into account and value everyone’s point of view!