August 8, 2011

Creating an inclusive environment

An inclusive environment not only benefits skilled immigrants, but can work to strengthen the organization as a whole. This type of transformation requires the support of senior leaders within the organization and those who can ensure its implementation and longevity.

To start off, you need to educate senior executives about Canada’s changing demographics – and why it is necessary to build cross-cultural competencies. Then, inclusivity and diversity need to become strategic priorities that are communicated to the rest of the organization.

This starts by defining a unifying vision that brings together all employees, including those from different cultures. As part of the diversity strategy, you should develop and implement a program that specifically addresses skilled immigrants.

It’s also important to create opportunities for senior management to move beyond policy to create specific initiatives that instill the value of diversity. This can include hiring a skilled immigrant into your company’s human resources department to demonstrate an open commitment to sourcing, recruiting and integrating immigrants.

Other concrete initiatives senior management can undertake include:

  • Showcasing the value of diversity through posters, social events and newsletters.
  • Observing multi-faith and multi-cultural dates of significance on an organizational diversity calendar. Implement policies that are sensitive to meetings and events scheduled on or near dates listed in the diversity calendar.
  • Promoting and participating in mentoring programs for skilled immigrants (to provide staff with opportunities to work with skilled immigrants and gain cross-cultural competencies). Local immigrant employment councils often provide mentoring programs for skilled immigrants.
  • Hiring a diverse mix of employees that includes skilled immigrants.

Additional Resources

  • Ernst & Young’s: Read how the accounting firm created a new senior role to help develop and implement the firm’s inclusiveness efforts.

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