Ongoing talent development is essential to retaining employees. For skilled immigrants, especially those not yet working to their full capacity, employers should be especially sensitive to both their professional needs as well as cultural differences.
In many cultures, workplace harmony is valued over competitiveness and ambition (pursuing job promotions is frowned upon), and hard work is understood implicitly to lead to a future promotion. For skilled immigrants working in progressive employer environments that value professional development, this could pose a dilemma – the pressure to participate in training in conflict with a desire to work well at one’s job.
Some employers interpret a lack of enthusiasm towards professional development to passivity when it is merely a cultural difference.
Tips to Understanding Career Goals and Learning Needs
- Assess the current skill sets of skilled immigrant employees to identify untapped expertise as well as areas requiring improvement.
- Provide occupation-specific skills training (including specialized language classes), job-sharing, job-shadowing and mentorship opportunities to help skilled immigrants develop the competencies required for promotion. Consider using a non-profit employment service agency for the training. This will also ensure that your organization is on the road to creating a more inclusive work environment for all employees.
- Identify paths to grow into other opportunities in the organization.