Strategies for Canadian companies to attract, employ and retain skilled newcomers

Many newcomers face challenges when entering the Canadian workforce, and Canadian companies have a crucial role to play in breaking down barriers to employment and fostering a more inclusive work environment. At the current rate of Canada’s immigration targets and the various sectors with significant labour shortages, Canadian companies can no longer overlook the expertise skilled newcomers bring to the Canadian workforce. There are many initiatives companies can implement to support newcomers in their journey toward meaningful and equitable employment.

Community Engagement and Partnerships

Canadian businesses have the opportunity to collaborate with immigrant-serving organizations, community groups, employment services, and government entities to identify skilled and experienced newcomers. By establishing partnerships, companies gain access to a diverse talent pool, obtaining valuable insights and support in locating skilled newcomers with the requisite qualifications and expertise for specific job roles. This collaborative approach enhances the recruitment process and contributes to growing the company’s workforce with the right individual for the job while creating a more inclusive work environment.

Diversity and Inclusion Training

Companies should invest in diversity and inclusion training for all employees to build a truly inclusive workplace. This training can foster awareness, sensitivity, and understanding of different cultures, ultimately creating a more welcoming environment for newcomers. Within these trainings, it is essential to consider cultural competency, which will help provide employees with insights into various cultures and help them understand the challenges newcomers face. These workshops can enhance cultural sensitivity, reduce stereotyping, and promote a more inclusive workplace culture.

Upskilling & Mentorship Opportunities

Companies should implement mentorship programs that connect newcomers with experienced employees to provide guidance and opportunities for upskilling, offer insights into industry-specific practices, and help build professional networks. The support and guidance provided through mentorship can increase job satisfaction among newcomers and help them upskill in certain areas where they may not know Canada’s regulations, standards or bylaws. Feeling supported and connected to the organisation will help to enhance employee experience, reduce turnover rates, and develop a positive workplace culture. Mentorship programs with a personalised approach can boost newcomers’ confidence and contribute to their long-term success. They also help to transfer tacit knowledge within the organisation or sector they work in. Experienced employees pass on their accumulated wisdom, experiences, and insights so newcomers can better understand how to navigate the company or the industry.

International Experience

Canadian companies are keen on ‘Canadian experience’ but fail to see the benefits that come with skilled newcomers bearing international experience. In our ever-globalising world, where businesses look to expand internationally, Canadian companies should leverage the growth of newcomers in Canada, along with the foreign experience they bring. Not only is this beneficial to diversifying the workforce, but it is also crucial for Canadian companies looking to grow their consumer and client base globally. Hiring professionals with international experience will provide market and cultural insights and connections from different countries. Leveraging newcomers with international experience can be a great way for Canadian companies to gain a competitive advantage and potential growth opportunities within their sectors. The good news is Ontario is leading the charge here. On Nov. 4, the government of Ontario introduced Bill 149, the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023 — legislation that would make it illegal for businesses to list “Canadian experience” as a requirement in job listings. The province says this is to remove barriers to entry in the Canadian job market for newcomers.

By implementing these initiatives, Canadian companies can play a pivotal role in hiring newcomers and also create a more inclusive and supportive environment. Embracing diversity enhances the workplace culture and contributes to the overall success and growth of the company. Companies must do their part to strive for a more inclusive Canada collectively, and these initiatives serve as stepping stones toward breaking down barriers and building a workplace where everyone can gain equal opportunity to thrive.

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