January 13, 2012

10 Resolutions for Employers in 2012

The start of a new year is the perfect time to take stock of how business is being done in your organization and what changes you can make to be successful in 2012. One of the best ways to make your organization more successful is to ensure you have the best talent, including skilled immigrants, to take your organization to the next level.

Below are 10 resolutions you can make this year to better recruit, integrate and retain skilled immigrants:

1. Mentor

Mentoring programs help skilled immigrants learn the ins and outs of the Canadian workplace and build their professional networks. And the mentors, and their employers, also benefit from the mentoring relationship.

Find out how mentoring is both a recruitment and professional development tool at the City of Calgary. And then learn the four ways mentoring benefits TD Bank Group and its employees.

Ready to start? Check out the ALLIES National Mentoring Initiative, which supports mentoring in: Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver.

2. Provide Internships

Internships provide immigrants with relevant Canadian experience and a better understanding of Canadian workplace norms, while giving employers the chance to “test drive” the skills and experiences of immigrants.

Read how SaskEnergy and the Regional Municipality of Halton make these programs work for their needs. And read how internships for internationally educated nurses helps Providence Health Care cope with a looming talent shortage.

3. Offer Language Training

A Statistics Canada study found immigrant literacy skills can account for most of the wage gap between skilled immigrants and their Canadian-born counterparts. Language training will help skilled immigrant employees contribute more to your organization.

Read how BC Hydro offers occupation-specific language training to employees to ensure employees are able to communicate clearly and safely with team members.

4. Connect With Bridging Programs

These programs, offered by colleges and universities, help skilled immigrants attain their Canadian professional licenses, certificates or designations. As such, graduates are a great source of job-ready, pre-screened immigrant talent.

Find bridging programs in your area by searching the Settlement Roadmap for employment programs in your city.

5. Look Beyond Canadian Experience

The requirement of “Canadian experience” is one of the most significant barriers preventing immigrants from finding jobs commensurate with their skills and experience. Although there are exceptions among some professions, Canadian work experience is hardly a strict requirement to perform most jobs successfully.

The extensive education, skills and work experience that many skilled immigrants bring to Canada are readily transferable, making many of them job-ready. Read how Hummingbird and i3 International focus candidates’ skills and experience, regardless of where they were obtained.

6. Conduct Culturally-Competent Interviews

Skilled immigrants come from many different cultures and backgrounds. Being aware of culture-based differences in communication can help you evaluate skilled immigrant candidates more objectively during the interview.

This online workshop will help you recognize how cultural misunderstandings can occur during an interview and how to avoid them. Read this article for more cross-cultural interviewing tips.

7. Provide Buddies for New Hires

Your organization’s culture and specific way of doing business will be new to new hires, regardless of their country of origin. A “buddy,” usually a peer rather than a supervisor, is someone who can show a new hire the ropes and teach them the unwritten rules for success.

Watch this webinar to learn about Deloitte’s buddy program for all new hires and hear how one skilled immigrant benefited from it. Read how Gennum’s buddy program helps skilled immigrant employees integrate into the workplace.

8. Build Cultural Awareness and Competence

Cultural differences among employees can lead to misunderstandings that affect communication, integration, performance management and productivity. Developing employees’ cultural competence leads to inclusive work environments, helps employees work more effectively across differences on teams and helps employees advance in their careers.

Watch this webinar to learn about the importance of intercultural competence training. Learn more about different cultures and how to reduce your own biases. Get more tips and information about culturally competent sourcing, hiring and retention practices from Hiring and Retaining Skilled Immigrants – A Cultural Competence Toolkit.

9. Recognize Foreign Credentials

Many international schools provide an education that is on par, or better, than Canadian schools but a lack of recognition or familiarity of foreign credentials can lead you to screen-out qualified candidates prematurely. Increasing your comfort with international credentials will help you hire the most qualified candidate for the position.

The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials has a list of agencies and organizations that provide credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services.

10. Review HR Policies and Practices

Your human resources policies and practices may contain hidden biases that are screening out skilled immigrants or preventing them from advancing to senior positions in your organization.

Understand and evaluate your HR practices so you can ensure equal opportunities for all people, whether they were trained in Canada or abroad. Read how to create an inclusive recruitment strategy and watch this webinar to learn how to focus on competencies and educational qualifications when screening resumés.

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