White House Launches a Call to Action for Private Sector Engagement on the Global Refugee Crisis

Read the full text of the White House Fact Sheet

Earlier this summer, the White House issued a Call to Action for the private sector to make “measurable and significant commitments” to support refugees who have fled war and other persecution in Syria, Iraq and beyond.

The Call to Action is timely. On September 20, 2016, US President Barack Obama will host a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the United Nations, convening companies that have made significant and innovative commitments to supporting refugees.

Private sector call to action

Government effort is not enough to successfully support and integrate refugees- the scale of the crisis cannot be solved without a partnership between public and private institutions working together. The Call to Action focuses on securing commitments in three impact areas. One is employment, namely: Increasing employment opportunities, supporting entrepreneurship and facilitating reentry into the workforce.

“For years, the U.S. private sector has helped refugees all over the world rebuild their lives and contribute to their new communities. Drawing on its unique expertise, resources and entrepreneurial spirit, our private sector has created new ways for students to continue learning, adults to gain skills to reenter the workforce, and families to remain connected with their loved ones.” – Call to Action

Good ideas from the White House for the private sector:

  1. Facilitating refugee children and young adults’ education by ensuring that refugee students can access schools of all levels and creating quality long-distance learning platforms and programs.
  2. Helping refugees enter the workforce by providing, or helping refugees obtain, vocational training and needed language-skills, and developing tools that match refugees’ skills with existing employment opportunities.
  3. Providing, or helping refugees obtain, technical assistance and seed funding to allow them to start new businesses.
  4. Promoting refugee employment by hiring refugees, procuring goods and services from refugee-hiring businesses, making investments in frontline states that will generate jobs for both refugees and their host communities, or facilitating access to jobs.
  5. Helping refugees maintain communications connectivity, including access to wireless services in refugee camps and continuity of mobile services across borders.
  6. Ensuring that refugees can access key financial services, notwithstanding their lack of a permanent residence.
  7. Providing or facilitating refugees’ access to quality, affordable housing.
  8. Helping governments take new or additional steps to support refugees, such as by assisting them in resettling additional refugees or helping them implement policies designed to allow refugees to work and attend school.

Major private sector participants and key contributions to-date

  • Accenture will provide strategic consulting, digital services and program management support.
  • AirBnB will donate travel credits for humanitarian workers to book accommodations on the front-lines.
  • Chobani is committed to providing employment opportunities for refugees and works with local refugee centers to that end. Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya created Tent, an organization dedicated to improving the lives and livelihood of refugees through investing in innovation and providing opportunities for education and employment.
  • Coursera created the Coursera for Refugees that will provide access to recognizable certificates.
  • Goldman Sachs contributed $4.5 million to help alleviate and stabilize the crisis in the Mediterranean region and resettlement of 20,000 refugees to the United Kingdom.
  • Google provides funding to innovative solutions that facilitate connectivity, education and access to information to refugees in camps and transit routes.
  • HP provides funding and technology that facilitate access to quality education.
  • IBM is partnering with regional and international NGOs to provide solution to long-term needs of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe.
  • JPMorgan Chase &Co. provides funding for medical treatment, food, clean water and other critical support services.
  • LinkedIn Sweden launched the Welcome Tent to help newly arrived refugees connect with employers who have committed to hiring them.
  • Mastercard works with its partners to provide essential services at critical points in their journey.
  • Microsoft supports nonprofits driving the Syrian refugee crisis relief efforts by ensuring they have the capacity (funds) to provide refugees with access vital basic necessities.
  • TripAdvisor launched partnerships with global humanitarian organizations to support on-the-ground humanitarian efforts.
  • UPS invests in efforts that strengthen security efforts and provides financial support to organizations at the forefront of relief efforts.
  • Western Union supports humanitarian relief efforts throughout the Middle East and Europe that address short-, medium-and long-term needs identified through hand-on field research.

Read full text of Fact Sheet

Additional Resources

his guide provides a glimpse into their skills and educational background as well as practical tips and easy-to-use resources to help employers engage with Canada’s newest arrivals through meaningful employment.

Employer Guide to Hiring Newcomers: Information and Resources

Tips on workplace accommodation,  and sensitive interviewing

Onboarding Syrian Refugees: A Toolkit for Employers

A Migration Agenda for the Private Sector

By Khalid Koser

This article is reprinted with permission from Project Syndicate.

Khalid Koser speaking at the Cities of Migration Conference in Berlin

Khalid Koser speaking at the Cities of Migration Conference in Berlin

As Europe’s refugee crisis continues to evolve, offers of assistance have come from some unexpected places. Interventions by governments, civil-society groups, and aid organizations have been complemented by a broad-based response from the business community. This mobilization highlights not only the role that the private sector can play in managing migration, but also the importance of extending this engagement beyond the response to the immediate crisis.

Contributions have been made by companies large and small. Shop owners have provided refugees with free food and clothing, and local transport firms have helped people move across borders. On the corporate level, FedEx, JPMorgan Chase, and Google have all made direct contributions of more than $1 million to humanitarian organizations. American Express and Daimler are matching their employees’ donations, Western Union is offering ten cents per transaction made by consumers in the European Union, and Norwegian Air has raised money through inflight collections.

Meanwhile, the Bayern Munich Football Club has opened a training camp for refugees, and Siemens has launched a traineeship program in Germany for asylum-seekers.

On the web, Facebook is connecting asylum-seekers with members of their diaspora, as well as citizens who want to help, and a program called “Refugees Welcome” is helping refugees find vacant rooms in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Poland, Greece, Sweden, and the Netherlands. In France, an Amazon wish list has been established to allow people to purchase goods for refugees (portable fuel packs and warm boots are the items most in demand).

The private sector’s response to the refugee crisis has helped efforts to address it in three important ways. For starters, the business community has generally proved faster and more flexible than governments. On the whole, the private sector is not encumbered by political constraints or bureaucracy that can impede government action. And many companies are organized to move quickly in response to market opportunities – or in this case a humanitarian emergency.

Second, the business community has filled a gap in the response that the public sector risked overlooking. The international community has been focused on immediate humanitarian relief –rightly so. But the current crisis also has an economic component: in many cases, it represents a business opportunity, as new arrivals offer their talents and knowledge to forward-thinking firms. As a result, it is not just corporate social-responsibility departments that are driving companies’ response.

Finally, the business community’s reaction has underscored the long-term advantages of migration, something that politicians in fear of (or in thrall to) xenophobic currents have struggled to accomplish. The private sector’s enthusiastic involvement helps make the case for the bright side of the refugee influx: it can help close Europe’s demographic deficit, plug gaps in its labor market, and supply a cohort of young workers and taxpayers for the future.

But while the private sector’s involvement is to be applauded, its impact will be limited if it is not extended beyond the current emergency. Like governments, the business community rallied in a meaningful fashion only after large numbers of refugees began arriving on European shores. The private sector must not overlook the role it can play in helping to stabilize and support economic growth in the countries from which refugees flee.

Furthermore, there are far more Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey than in Europe, and many of the innovative responses now emerging in Europe would have a greater impact (and larger returns on investment) if they were concentrated where most refugees reside.

Above all, businesses must ensure that their current efforts are sustained into the future. The programs companies have put in place will bear long-term fruit only if they are seen through to the end. Firms must prepare for the decline in public goodwill that is likely to occur as efforts to integrate the newcomers hit inevitable obstacles. Local spikes in unemployment, temporary pressure on education and health services, incidents of criminality, and hints of radicalization could spark a backlash in the media and among shareholders. Business leaders must help keep a clear, public focus on the long-term benefits of immigration through statements, media engagement, and direct lobbying of government officials.

The lesson from Europe’s refugee crisis is clear: all aspects of migration are better managed when businesses, civil society, and governments work together. As the crisis continues to unfold, sustaining and deepening this cooperation – in Europe and elsewhere – will be both a challenge and an historic opportunity.

Toronto is diverse but not as inclusive as it could be

Toronto exemplifies multiculturalism, but struggles with inclusion and equality of opportunity.

By Carol Goar, Toronto Star

“Having diversity is interesting,” said Zabeen Hirji, chief human resources officer for the Royal Bank non-commitally. “It’s when you do something with it that it becomes powerful.”

She had put her finger on one of the biggest challenges facing this city: moving from diversity to inclusion.

As a woman, an Ismaili Muslim and an immigrant from Tanzania, Hirji is acutely aware of the difference. Many Torontonians are not.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the United Way of Toronto, Hirji was careful not to offend the business leaders in the room. (Eighty per cent of the charity’s funds come from the corporate sector in direct donations and employee payroll contributions). But she made it clear that diversity — which Toronto has in abundance — is simply a description of the city’s talent pool. Inclusion is the act of tapping into the whole pool — not just the top layer — and mixing people from disparate cultures, backgrounds and generations together in a way that allows them to combine their strengths.

On that score, Toronto doesn’t do as well. Very few immigrants — who make up 46 per cent of the city’s population — hold senior positions in business, politics or civil society. Racialized Torontonians — as they call themselves — are disproportionately poor, underemployed and socially isolated.

Many influential Torontonians who could reach out — corporate CEOs, political leaders and heads of major public institutions — don’t; or don’t do it effectively. Many immigrants and their descendents in turn, live in ethnic enclaves, work for employers from their country of origin and socialize among themselves.

 Hirji wasn’t there to preach. Her primary message was that harnessing the talent and energy of young people, newcomers, members of First Nations, gays and lesbians and other minorities is good for business and good for the city. She offered three tips, drawn from her 13 years spearheading RBC’s drive to make its workforce a better reflection of the population: Start with a clear commitment from the top, develop an explicit plan and get buy-in from all employees.

2013-14 WIL Award: Sarah Tattersall,Talent Solutions Manager at 3M Canada

HR champion has assisted skilled immigrants in achieving meaningful employment in their fields.

By WIL Employment Connections

Each year, WIL is very pleased to recognize an individual, group or company that has demonstrated Winning, Innovation and Leadership as related to the clients served by our organization. This year, our selection committee unanimously and enthusiastically selected Sarah Tattersall as the receipient of the 2014 WIL Award.

As Talent Solutions Manager at 3M Canada, Sarah has consistently volunteered her time and talents to assist WIL’s clients in achieving meaningful employment in their fields. She demonstrates a WINNING commitment to connecting business and newcomer talent within her company and London Region’s broader business community.

Read more here.

Related

3M Uses Language Game to Build Cultural Competence
A five-minute language exercise helps 3M supervisors better understand the experiences of skilled immigrant employees who speak English as a second language. 

TRIEC Thanks RBC and Gordon Nixon


As chair of TRIEC, RBC’s CEO Gordon Nixon has been a champion of  immigrant inclusion in the workforce. This article was originally posted on the Maytree blog.

Ratna-with-Gord-Nixon

By Sandhya Ranjit, TRIEC

Ever since the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) was founded 10 years ago by Maytree and CivicAction, RBC has been a key partner, partnering in and funding many of our initiatives. RBC has also provided leadership through its CEO, Gordon Nixon, and Chief Human Resources Officer, Zabeen Hirji, who have demonstrated their commitment to immigrant integration as chair and co-chair of the TRIEC Council since 2009. Gordon has stated on many occasions that he sees diversity and immigration as important parts of Canada’s past, present and future.

Gordon Nixon is retiring from RBC in the fall of 2014 and will step down as Chair of TRIEC Council. As his last act as Council Chair, Gordon published an op-ed in The Globe and Mail on how a diverse workforce can help enhance our economy.

TRIEC would like to thank him for his partnership.

View this video on the impact of Gordon Nixon’s and RBC’s leadership in immigrant integration.

Four Ways the Power of Data can Improve Diversity Initiatives

Qualitative data analysis also is useful for getting to the root cause. Key themes emerging from interviews, focus groups or comments from surveys can be insightful.

By Alina Polonskaia and Brian Levine, Financial Post

Developing successful diversity and inclusion strategies at times can be vexing to talent leaders. Many organizations have diversity initiatives that are led by dedicated teams and councils, involve employee-resource groups and offer diversity-training and mentoring programs. Yet, there is little improvement in the representation of women and/or minorities in their ranks.

Many of these efforts stagnate because they simply mimic the practices of others. Diversity and inclusion leaders need the right data and analysis to reveal what needs to be done to effectively build representation and they need to look broadly at talent-management practices.

Lack of evidence specific to the organization makes it that much more challenging to galvanize business leaders to take action. And the absence of a holistic focus and partnership with human resources also severely limits a company’s options. Analytics and a company-wide approach to identifying areas of risk and opportunity have been effective in helping companies achieve what have been elusive objectives.

Mercer’s research shows that the following steps will lead to a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Read more here.

A 10-year Record of Immigrant Success

Toronto immigrant jobs council finds much success, but much work remains.

By Bob Hepburn, Toronto Star

Oddly, Ratna Omidvar dreams of the day the organization she helped launch some 10 years ago goes out of business.

“In my heart of hearts, I wish five years from now we didn’t exist,” says Omidvar, the initial executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), who now chairs the group’s board of directors.

To her thinking, shutting down TRIEC would be a clear sign that the small yet influential council had succeeded beyond its wildest aspirations, opening employment doors for all skilled immigrants and convincing big and small companies that hiring talented newcomers is good for business.

Since its beginning, TRIEC has developed into one of the top agencies whose goal is to help newcomers find jobs in the Toronto area and raise awareness among employers about the advantages of hiring skilled immigrants.

As well, TRIEC has developed resources that help employers effectively hire skilled immigrants. Started in 2005, hireimmigrants.ca became a vital source of practical advice on recruiting and training immigrant employees. The program has since expanded into a national project.

One part of the program, the hireimmigrants.ca Roadmap, has been accessed by more than 50,000 unique users and is now fully integrated into the Ontario government’s website.

Read more here

Train Employers to Hire and Work with Immigrants

On August 20, 2013, Ratna Omidvar, President of Maytree, spoke at the Queen’s International Institute on Social Policy conference on the topic, “Immigration and Skills.” This is the second in a series of excerpts from her remarks and was originally published in The Maytree blog.

By Ratna Omidvar

In a country where immigrants make up 20% of our population, projected to increase to 25-28% by 2031, focusing only on the deficits of immigrants is short sighted. Just as immigrants have training needs, so to do employers. They must learn to deal with a new demographic. I like to compare what is happening in today’s growing workforce to what happened immediately after the Second World War when large numbers of women entered the work force. As a result, employers and policy makers had to go “back to school.” Many years later we have a healthy range of policies ensuring that women are treated with fairness in the workforce – such as maternity leave policies, rules on what you can ask or not ask in job interviews, the adjustment of height and weight restrictions and so on. Today, employers are facing a similar kind of demographic train and their approaches to sourcing, hiring, on-boarding, assessing, and promoting need to be refreshed, reviewed and updated to meet the changing times.

With a little help, the best teachers for employers will be employers themselves. There is a small but growing community of employers who are learning that the nuances of culture and language of immigrant candidates may be different, but this should not get in the way of identifying and managing talent. Many years ago, we launched a website called hireimmigrants.ca that is dedicated to finding and describing these practices. In a way, this platform helps employers borrow proven ideas from their competition.

A few examples of strategies that employers are using:

  • Husky identifies top engineering universities from immigrant source countries to screen in candidates from these institutions.
  • 3M uses a five-minute language exercise for its hiring managers and supervisors that sensitizes them to the challenges that speakers of English as a second language face. Supervisors sit in a circle and are challenged to replace every verb with a synonym. So for instance if you want to say “I went to a movie yesterday,” you have to challenge yourself to replace the verb “went” with another verb.
  • And from as far away as Germany comes this idea that employers will agree to accept and assess resumes that are filed without names or place of education.

Each of these examples has the seed of a policy that could govern the way corporations and public institutions source and identify talent, or how they allocate precious training resources. By translating good practices into policy, we can ensure larger scale impact.

Read other excerpts from this speech
Read the full speech.

Why Hire Skilled Immigrants

Use this workshop to help you involve key strategy influencers of your organization in recognizing the value that skilled immigrants bring to the Canadian workforce.

The PowerPoint presentation will promote discussion of business drivers and analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOTs) to determine if, when and how your organization can benefit from skilled immigrants.

Workshop: Why Hire Skilled Immigrants?

Assessing the Recruiting Process

This workshop will help you use team brainstorming, exercises and discussion to take an in-depth look at the processes you use to source, recruit and hire employees.

The PowerPoint presentation will help you discover where in your process you are potentially screening out skilled immigrant candidates and collaborate on action plans to remove those barriers.

Workshop: Assessing the Recruiting Process

Creating Metrics

Everyone knows what gets measured gets managed. The objective of this workshop is to help you and your organization to fully understand how and where skilled immigrants contribute to the workforce and to track the progress of your results.

This PowerPoint presentation will help you identify the results you should measure, the benchmarks you should establish, the responsible stakeholders and your definition of success as it relates to hiring and retaining skilled immigrants.

Workshop: Creating Metrics

Workplace Scenarios — Winning with World Class Talent

Use this workshop to facilitate an open-minded discussion to understand and overcome common barriers to hiring and developing skilled immigrants.

The PowerPoint presentation will help you examine alternate approaches and solutions and learn to accommodate differences by focusing on skills, talents and contributions.

Workshop: Workplace Secnarios — Winning with World Class Talent

Stakeholder Assessment

This workshop has been developed to help you identify who in your organization has, or should have, a stake in examining and increasing the value that skilled immigrants bring you workforce.

Use this PowerPoint presentation to rally a group session to guide your organization in understanding who the key influencers are in hiring skilled immigrants, where they stand on the topic and how their energy can best be channelled to positive outcomes.

Workshop: Stakeholder Assessment

Quick Facts

When making the case for hiring and integrating skilled immigrants, it helps to have facts and figures to back up your argument. Use the statistics below to help make your case to the decision makers in your organization:

  • Almost one in five companies in the Greater Toronto Area have hired a skilled immigrant to help diversify their global client base. Of those employers who hired immigrants to help them expand overseas, 93 per cent said it was effective. (Source: Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council poll of 461 employers in March 2011.)
  • Canada brings in about 250,000 immigrants per year. This includes skilled immigrants and their families, family class immigrants and refugees. Of these, the largest group are skilled immigrants — those who have been selected by Canada as best equipped to meet the needs of our economy. (Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada.)
  • From 2006 to 2011, Canada’s population grew by 5.9 per cent to reach 33.5 million, up from 31.2 million in 2006. Two-thirds (67 per cent) of that growth came from immigration. By 2031, more than 80 per cent of Canada’s population growth is expected to come from immigration. (Source: Population growth in Canada: From 1851 to 2061, 2011 Census, Statistics Canada.)
  • In 2006, 20 per cent of Canada’s population — 6.1 million people — were born outside of Canada. About 16 per cent – five million people — were visible minorities. (Source: Immigration and Citizenship Highlight Tables, 2006 Census, Statistics Canada.)
  • More than 70 per cent of the foreign-born population speak a mother tongue other than English or French. (Source: Statistics Canada, Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign Born Population, Census 2006.)
  • Population projections show that immigrants will represent one-third of the workforce by 2031. (Source: “Projected Trends to 2031 for the Canadian Labour Force,” Statistics Canada, August 17, 2011.)
  • Immigrants aged 25 to 54 are more likely to have a university education than Canadian-born men and women. In 2006, while 36 per cent of immigrants in this age group had at least a bachelor’s degree, the proportion was only 22 per cent among those born in Canada. (Source: “Canada’s immigrant labour market,” Statistics Canada, September 10, 2007.)
  • If all immigrants’ foreign learning and learning credentials were recognized, between $3.4 and $5.0 billion would be added to the Canadian economy every year. (Source: Performance and Potential 2004-2005: How can Canada prosper in Tomorrow’s World?, Conference Board of Canada, 2004.)
  • According to the 2006 Census, 60 per cent of the foreign-born live in the regions of Toronto (60 per cent), Montreal (20 per cent) and Vancouver (21 per cent).
  • The large majority of recent immigrants, those who have been in Canada for 10 years or less, are of working age. In Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax, about 80 per cent of recent immigrants are aged 15 to 64, compared to 60 to 70 per cent of non-immigrants in those cities. (Source: 2006 Census, Statistics Canada.)

 

Understand and Evaluate Your HR Practices

To get the support of leadership, it’s important to know where you are now and where you want to be. To do so, gather information about your current human resource practices and how they may screen-out skilled immigrants or prevent them from advancing to senior positions in your organization:

  • Understand both the challenges and successes of skilled immigrants in your organization.
  • Gather data about your workforce demographics to assess how your organization is actually performing in hiring and retaining skilled immigrants compared to others.
  • Conduct a skill-set inventory of your employees, and particularly of skilled immigrants in your organization. Are you leveraging their total skill-sets? Are they working to their individual capacity?
  • Review your recruitment process to determine whether your organization screens-out qualified candidates including skilled immigrants.
  • Determine who is immigrant-ready in your organization. Human resource staff tend to be better aware and equipped to act than line or hiring managers who tend not to have HR education or experience. This can help you identify where you can have immediate impact when introducing new strategies and techniques.
  • Interview skilled immigrants in your organization, including those who have since moved on to other opportunities (exit interviews are good opportunities to ask). They are an excellent source of information and learning.

Use the Workshop: Assessing the Recruiting Process to make a full assessment of your recruiting process.

Once you have finished the assessment you need to analyze the findings and ask key questions:

  • How many skilled immigrants did we hire this year? How does this compare to previous years?
  • Who are the hiring influencers in our organization?
  • In what areas (business areas, geographic) do skilled immigrants typically work?
  • What types of cross-cultural events, training or other supports were offered to employees last year?
  • How many skilled immigrants were promoted? To what levels within our organization?
  • How many left the organization? Where did they go and why?
  • What external resources and support do we need to recruit and retain skilled immigrants more effectively?

A Closer Look at Your HR Practices

In addition to examining your previous experiences with skilled immigrants, ask your managers and HR professionals:

  • What recruitment sources were most/least successful in attracting skilled immigrants to apply for employment opportunities?
  • What screening methods did we use to ensure a qualified pool of applicants included skilled immigrants?
  • What interview methods (including questions and skills assessment tools) were used and did they have an impact on the likelihood of skilled immigrants receiving an offer?
  • What accommodation policies are in place for skilled immigrant employees who may have religious and/or cultural observances?
  • Are there specific HR practices and/or policies that require reconsideration given the changing demographics in our workplace?

Creating and Supporting Champions

Once you have a clear picture of your organization’s HR and diversity practices, you can begin developing skilled immigrant champions in your organization.

Start by identifying one or more diversity champions at the most senior levels of the organization, such as C-level executives.

In many cases, you may be asked to justify why your organization should adopt new practices and activities benefiting skilled immigrants.

Arm yourself with a business case:

  • Skilled immigrants are a significant segment of the Canadian population and labour pool. In 2006, 20 per cent of Canadians were immigrants and by 2031, immigrants will make up one-third of the workforce. Imagine ignoring 30 per cent of the labour force in your HR practices.
  • The majority of skilled immigrants to Canada are accepted specifically for their skills and education (i.e. through a points system). Thirty-six per cent of immigrants aged 25 to 54 have at least a post-secondary degree, compared to 22 per cent among the Canadian-born population. For immigrants aged 25 to 54 who arrived between 2001 and 2006, this proportion jumps to 54 per cent.
  • Traditional recruitment processes can create barriers to qualified skilled immigrant applicants. Demonstrate this by presenting the Recruit section of this Roadmap to executives and hiring managers.
  • Explain the value and transferability of international skills and credentials, as well as support programs, such as community agency relationships, internships and bridging programs that connect skilled immigrants with employers in ways that save employers time and money.
  • Outline the need for interviewing standards and processes that reduce misunderstandings due to cultural differences, while enabling candidates to demonstrate skills.

Once you have identified your champions, and sold them on the business case, have them them send clear messages of support, commitment and ongoing incentives for change.

They should also articulate a policy or strategy to achieve a workforce that is reflective of your diverse community, customers and supply chain. This can include committing to a formal assessment of your recruitment and retention processes for opportunities to identify and eliminate barriers to skilled immigrants.

Hiring Influences

Hiring skilled immigrants is a sound HR strategy that can help grow your company, but hiring influencers are essential for that change to occur.

Do you know who hiring influencers are in your organization?

Use the Workshop: Stakeholder Assessment  guide to better identify those hiring influencers and understand how to shift their thinking.

The Benefits of Hiring Skilled Immigrants

When making the case for hiring and integrating skilled immigrants to senior leaders, you need to emphasize the benefits skilled immigrants bring to an organization.

Skilled immigrants:

  • comprise a significant and increasing proportion of the labour market. Employers should be immigrant-ready or risk losing top talent to competitors.
  • increase understanding of and access to local markets that are increasingly diverse and multicultural.
  • increase understanding of and access to international markets for operations or sales opportunities.
  • bring new ideas and perspectives that enhance innovation.
  • bring enthusiasm, a strong work ethic and new perspectives to business problems.

Building Leaders’ Cross-Cultural Competencies

Once you have the support of senior leaders to hire and integrate skilled immigrants, there are particular tasks they can undertake the build their own cross-cultural competencies as well as those of staff. This will help create an inclusive workplace that will attract and retain skilled immigrant talent.

Some of these tasks include:

  • Participating in cross-cultural competence training.
  • Identifying the building of cross-cultural competencies as an organization-wide goal that meets specific and defined business objectives.
  • Sponsoring initiatives (internal and external) related to hiring, mentoring, promoting and retaining skilled immigrants, such as embedding objectives in manager performance reviews that measure results in relation to skilled immigrants (mentoring, hiring).
  • Providing access to management, executive and board-level opportunities for skilled immigrants.
  • Creating specific initiatives to articulate and instill the value of diversity and inclusivity throughout the organization.