By Ratna Omidvar
Talent management is not business as usual.
Just as employers once had to reimagine the workplace to account for a boom in women entrants, so too must employers review and refresh their approaches to sourcing, hiring, on-boarding, assessing, and promoting talent to meet the changing realities of a diverse workforce.
In work that originated at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council and then Maytree foundation, we began asking employers about their readiness to hire immigrants. We learned that employers recognized that once-tested and true ways of doing business were expiring as the face of Canada changed. We also learned that employers wanted help identifying solutions. Finally, we learned that the best teachers are often other employers, and that a wealth of good practice and leadership had already been taking place.
With this knowledge, we set out to speak to the hiring decision makers and business leaders who drive Canada’s economy, to help them source and develop skilled immigrants as creative contributors to the workforce. We created Hire Immigrants (hireimmigrants.ca) to be a national, single point of entry to increase Canadian employer awareness of the value of immigrant skills and immigration to their business. A site that provides employers with practical tips and tools to benefit from immigrant talent. A site to show not what should be done, but what is being done across sectors by businesses large and small.
Since 2006, Hire Immigrants has grown to become a resource with over 60 stories, over 5,000 subscribers, and learnings from numerous in-person and online events. This success prompted us to ask more questions about the needs of employers. We decided that if it’s a valuable resource in Canada, it would be a valuable resource in other countries of migration. After all, Canada is not alone in its upward trend in diversity. In 2010, Australia’s foreign-born population hit nearly 27% of the total, and the populations of the United Kingdom, United States and Germany are all above 10%.
Continuing to limit our focus on Canada would be a bit like focusing hiring efforts in just one neighbourhood when the whole city is teeming with talented people. Exciting things are happening beyond our backyard. Why limit our focus to employer behaviour in Canada when employers worldwide can learn from their competitors, near and far?
We launched Hire Immigrants international to focus on “what works” in immigrant employment, be it through policy, practice or legislation and regulations, with local, national and international scope.
We will do a few things differently:
We will go beyond formal employment to the large and expanding field of immigrant entrepreneurship and business growth.
We will look not only at highly skilled immigrants, but at the employment potential and labour market integration of immigrants in trades and lower-skilled occupations, economic and refugee, permanent and temporary.
We will create a global resource accessible not only to local, national and global employers, but also to institutions, governments, academics, non-governmental organizations and policy makers globally.
We will continue to engage employers as the primary partner in immigrant employment, but we will place their challenges and opportunities in context. We will do this by asking questions with our research partners at Ryerson University and our collaborators abroad.
We will explore new and emerging fields of practice like supplier diversity, supply chains as vehicles for good practice, technology-mediated work opportunities, and diaspora trade.
By doing this, we will develop an international, employer-driven community of practice that adheres to a founding principle of our work at Hire Immigrants and the Global Diversity Exchange: When immigrants prosper, we all do.
Do you want to weigh in? Please email Dana Wagner at email@example.com