August 7, 2011

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.

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