Immigration is critical to increasing Canada’s productivity and mitigating skills shortages. In today’s global economy, employers are continually being challenged to find new and innovative ways to access the best and brightest talent in order to remain competitive.
Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) research estimates that an additional 106,000 core ICT positions will need to be filled in Canada by 2016. Organizations will need to invest in effective HR tools, practices and resources to recruit and integrate the right talent to grow their businesses. Diversity and inclusion have been proven keys to organizational expansion and success. Organizations like Fortinet understand: “Fortinet welcomes diversity in the workplace. We recognize that each employee brings unique abilities and experiences which greatly enriches our organization.” – HR, Fortinet
As mentioned recently by ICTC President and CEO Namir Anani , “… the ‘Internet of things’ is shaping up bigger and better with increasingly connected, smarter, mobile devices that are making their way into our everyday lives. The widespread development and use of apps (‘The appification of everything’) combined with cloud computing are paving the way for smarter and increasingly more convenient services in mobile banking, e-health, media & entertainment, and many others.”
To mitigate the skills shortage, the Canadian economy must utilize all talent sources including its highly skilled internationally educated professionals and provide them with opportunities to contribute in their fields. If you are looking to be an employer of choice here are a few questions that can help you to assess your organization and set yourself up for success:
- Is the working environment welcoming and accepting of all employees?
- Do you have a diverse leadership, management team and board of directors?
- Have you developed a diversity and inclusion policy?
- Do all employees have access to a mentor, sponsor, or coach?
Having worked with hundreds of employers on successful recruitment, retention and integration of highly qualified internationally educated professionals (IEPs), there are a few common themes that have demonstrated success:
- Leaders need to walk the talk. Diversity training is especially effective if it starts with the leadership team, and is customized so that it is applicable to each employee’s daily work experiences.
- Hold team building activities. Taking a group of employees with different cultural backgrounds, values, personalities and behaviours, and involving them in teambuilding exercises will promote diversity awareness and inclusive practices within the organization.
- Have a clear diversity and inclusion policy to help your employees understand what you expect of them in the workplace (for example, treating all people with dignity and respect) and which emphasizes the benefits of recognizing, valuing, and promoting a diverse workforce.
An industry leader and long time champion of ICTC’s immigration initiatives, I believe that Sumitra Seshan Director of Corporate at 5G Technologies says it best: "Managing a global and diverse work force is a challenge in today's business environment. Organizations should focus on similarities more than differences and strive to build a unified 'workplace' culture that reflects its own values and vision. This in turn will increase employees' engagement and foster creativity thereby allowing the organizations to tap into unique and innovative ideas of a diversified work force to build products and services that suit the global market place."
But you aren’t in this alone. There are organizations like Hire Immigrants Ottawa and ICTC that have the tools and resources to help you be successful, these range from free cultural competency training to online HR Portals and organizational/employee online self-assessment. Connect with us to learn how you too can be positioned as an employer of choice.
Stephanie (van Riel) Wilson is Manager of Employer Relations for Talent Initiative at the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). For the past 12 years, she has been working in stakeholder engagement and diversity and inclusion initiatives specifically in the recruitment, retention and integration of a diverse and global workforce. She is honoured to be a member of the Hire Immigrants Ottawa IT Working.
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