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Welcome to the new Waterloo Region Employer Playbook. We would like to thank the Foundational Partner group of the Immigration Partnership which joined our staff and World Education Services in launching this much-needed resource. The Waterloo Region Employer Playbook is a resource for employers seeking support in recruiting, hiring, and retaining immigrant and refugee talent. It is designed to support human resource planning.
Chair, Immigration Partnership Council
Executive Director, Immigration Partnership – Waterloo Region of Waterloo
Clear and inclusive job descriptions are always important, but they are even more so when recruiting immigrant talent.. They will help to ensure that good applicants aren’t inadvertently screened out, and make it more likely that the best person for the job can be identified.
Need to figure out your absolute must-haves and would-be-nice-to-haves for job descriptions? It’s important for job descriptions to be appropriately worded. Many often include many non-essential requirements for a role which could inadvertently screen out suitable candidates. For example, did you know that men, when determining whether to apply for a job, will apply when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, whereas women will apply only if they meet 100 percent1?
When considering immigrant candidates, remain open to any additional skills and experience that they may offer. Experience with international markets, additional languages, and connections to growing segments of the local market are all value-added qualities.
This worksheet will help you define essential versus non-essential job duties. Developed by the Human Resource Management Association (now Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia & Yukon), this tool can help you create a more precise job description and rank each candidate’s skills and experience based on their résumé. This will allow you to screen résumés objectively — without bias — and identify the best candidates to interview.
This printable template scorecard may also be of use.
|Need Help Hiring?|
Here are just some of the ways that we can help with our no-cost services:
• Information and resources for hiring new employees
• Access to job posting services
• Assistance with completing the Canada Ontario Job Grant
• Office space and coordination of job fairs and candidate interviewing
• Potential funding for On-the-Job Training
• Creation of Customized Training Plans
• On the Job Coaching
Agilec Customer Care Centre Toll Free
1 (800) 361-4642
|Lutherwood||For more than 30 years, we have been supporting employers with their hiring and training needs. We understand how crucial it is to find, keep and train the right people for the job, and how costly and time-consuming the recruitment process can be. If you are an employer looking to hire, onboard or train staff, we can help.||www.lutherwood.ca
1A Hewlett Packard internal report as cited in “Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified,” Harvard Business Review, August 2014.
Looking for suggestions on how to write more inclusive job descriptions? Check out these tips:
|Project READ Literacy Network|
Educational Essential Skills Assessment
|Help for Businesses & Non-Profits|
• Clear Writing services
• Bridges out of Poverty training
• Soft Skills Solutions certification training
• Mental Health Practitioner Guide
* All businesses & non-profit services are available for a fee. Contact us for an estimate.
or [email protected]
Need to assess language requirements for prospective hires? The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) can help you assess the language proficiency of immigrants using national standards for both official languages. Consider using CCLB levels in job descriptions to ensure that the right candidates apply for the job.
Language proficiency and communication skills are often a concern when evaluating immigrant candidates. Consider recommending language programs to international students and immigrant candidates.
|St Louis Adult Learning & Continuing Education Centres||Considering recommending language programs to international students and immigrant candidates.||stlouis.wcdsb.ca
ESL—ext. 245 or ext. 540
LINC—ext. 538 or ext. 224
St. Louis—Cambridge St. Benedict Campus
(until June 2022)
• (ESL - Days)
• 50 Saginaw Parkway (off Green Vista
Drive, behind St. Benedict Catholic
St. Louis—Kitchener Main Campus
• (LINC ‒ Day only)
• 80 Young Street (behind Kitchener City
St. Louis—Kitchener St. Mary’s Campus
• (ESL ‒ Day, Evening and Saturday)
• 77 Young Street (across the street from
80 Young Street)
St. Louis—Kitchener St. Francis Campus
• (LINC & ESL ‒ Day only)
• 154 Gatewood Road (corner of Blueridge
Road West & Queen’s Boulevard)
Emmanuel United Church—Waterloo
• (ESL ‒ Day only) remote learning only
• 22 Bridgeport Road West (Uptown
Highland Baptist Church—Kitchener
• (LINC ‒ Day only)
• 135 Highland Road W. (near St. Mary’s
PLUS St. Louis ONLINE ESL classes
Gone are the days of want ads in the newspapers. And go-to job search websites such as Indeed or the Canada Job Bank don’t always effectively reach immigrant talent. Discover how organizations can recruit in creative new ways.
Are you looking to reach immigrant talent beyond traditional job search engines such as Indeed or the Canada Job Bank? Using these websites is often time-consuming, especially for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) with limited human resources personnel. And for immigrant job seekers, these sites don’t always allow their qualities and skills to be highlighted. Achieving a more diverse workforce begins with creating a more diverse candidate pool. Consider posting your job ad with the following:
Developing relationships with these organizations is a great way to attract immigrant talent, as many of them offer job-readiness programs for immigrants and prepare them for jobs in in-demand sectors. Another effective strategy is to encourage your current immigrant employees to make referrals. This also lets your staff know that you are committed to expanding your immigrant talent pool.
And when advertising a role, be sure to include relevant health and safety policies so as not to deter potential applicants. Workplace safety is a top priority for most job seekers.
|Reception House||The Reception House is a welcome and settlement centre for government assisted refugees. They also offer employment services often connecting refugee talent with employers. They have also been involved in working with employers and job candidates to improve English language skills.||[email protected]|
|Region of Waterloo||Region of Waterloo provides employers with assistance in recruiting.||Fill in the job posting form at:
|YMCA of Three Rivers|
|Services for Employers||www.ymcaemploymentservices.ca
Cambridge—(519) 621-1621 ext. 6203
Kitchener—(519) 579-9622 ext. 6147
|Cambridge Career Connections|
|By working with the Employment Ontario Employment Services you will have access to the following FREE job matching and placement services:||cambridgecareerconnections.com/for-employers/employer-supports/
Email: [email protected]
40 Ainslie Street South
|The Working Centre||Meeting your Hiring Needs: The Working Centre can help you find workers to suit your needs.|
Job Postings: Post open positions to our free job posting board accessed with 3,000 hits per week.
58 Queen St. S.
Canada N2G 1V6
Phone: (519) 743-1151
Fax: (519) 743-9452
|Hire Waterloo||At HIRE|WATERLOO you have access to a unique talent pool with an expansive depth and breadth of skills and qualifications. From co-op, to regular, to graduating, to alumni, Waterloo students are available and equipped with the skills to meet your unique business requirements all year round.||uwaterloo.ca/hire/
+1 (877) 928-4473 (toll-free)
|Career Development Centre – Wilfred Laurier University||The Career Development Centre offers comprehensive recruiting services to employers and educational institutions:||www.wlu.ca/information-for/community-members/employers/career-centre/index.html
Career Development Centre: Lisa Favero, Manager, Employer Relations & Recruitment
E: [email protected]
T: 519.884.0710 x4136
|Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo (WFPB) Wellington Dufferin||It is a job posting platform that is for Waterloo region and beyond. A great resource for employers to connect with and post jobs. The WFPB is also a great resource for employers in need of economic data, research findings, and other information.||www.workforceplanningboard.com|
|FindYourJob.ca||It is a job aggregator platform that is for Waterloo region and beyond. Just post to one of the 30+ job boards attached to the platform and your job will be there for job seekers.|
|The Job Centre||WHAT IS IN IT FOR YOU?|
Absolutely no cost to an employer
Wages can be subsidized (amount to be determined)
On-site job coaching provided
On-the-job training free of charge
Interpreter services are fully funded if required
Any needed assistive devices and accommodations are 100% paid for
If any paperwork needs to be done we do it for you
Using a personalized approach, we assist clients and employers to achieve employment goals
Have you ever considered job fairs or networking events as a way to attract immigrant talent? In person or online, many employers find job fairs one of the most successful ways to recruit newcomers who are seeking employment. These events provide opportunities to connect directly with local agencies and share job openings. And, if your company is large enough, consider hosting your own event. Be sure to advertise the event on your company’s Facebook page as well as other relevant social media in the region.
If you have trouble hiring the right person from domestic candidates, then recruiting from overseas may be an option. The Government of Ontario and embassies have the resources to facilitate Canadian employers’ tapping into talent pools worldwide. If you seek help from a recruitment agency, make sure you work with licensed professionals who can navigate paperwork and procedures, as immigration consultancy is regulated in Canada.
|The Employers Roadmap to Hiring and Retaining Internationally Trained Workers||A handbook of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that showcases the rationales and best practices for international recruitment.||www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/employer-roadmap-hiring-retaining-internationally-trained-workers.html|
Sometimes we need help being objective when screening résumés. Learn how to screen out bias while screening in immigrant applicants.
Do you need help with your résumé screening process to ensure you’re not inadvertently screening out otherwise suitable immigrant candidates? For example, a recent Canadian study showed that the name on a résumé affects the candidate’s chance of receiving an interview. Despite having identical education and experience, applicants with Asian-sounding names were far less likely to receive an interview than those with Anglo-sounding names.
Read this downloadable PDF to learn how to screen out bias while screening in immigrant candidates.
It can be challenging to determine if an applicant has the required credentials for a job, particularly if the individual holds international credentials. Sometimes professional help is needed.
Does your HR Department need help understanding the academic qualifications of job candidates educated abroad? A credential evaluation may help. Credential evaluation services, such as those provided by World Education Services (WES), can authenticate and evaluate international degrees and diplomas to determine their authenticity and Canadian equivalencies to mitigate hiring risk and streamline the hiring process.
Everyone has unconscious bias. The goal is to be aware of biases and take steps to mitigate them.
Did you know that most of us have unconscious biases? And that our experiences often influence our perceptions of an immigrant candidate? For example, studies show that if there’s only one visible minority or woman in an applicant pool, it makes the person stand out as different and activates an unconscious bias against them. But we can counteract this and support racial and gender equity by including multiple candidates of colour or women. This is called the “two in the pool” effect.
To help you recognize unintended personal biases and move beyond cultural differences during the interview process, download this self-assessment tool.
When interviewing newcomers to Canada, there may be some cultural differences to take into consideration.
Need help formulating interview questions so they elicit the information needed to assess a candidate’s skills? When interviewing immigrant candidates, we must ensure that the questions are not inadvertently setting the candidate up to fail.
Consult this downloadable PDF on interviewing immigrant candidates.
With the rise of remote-first workplaces, virtual interviews are more common. This downloadable pdf on cross-cultural interviewing in a virtual environment offers useful insights.
It’s always important to welcome newcomers to a new workplace. However, there are specific considerations when those newcomers are also new to the country.
The successful retention of new employees begins at the onboarding phase. It’s important that they feel welcome and effectively onboarded into the workplace. This is especially true for immigrant employees, who may need more guidance with expectations around work systems, culture, and the rules of the organization — both written and unwritten. This is easy to overlook when the workforce is made up primarily of individuals who share a cultural background. For example, expectations could include the etiquette of shared spaces, such as refilling the coffee pot when it’s empty, taking breaks on the honour system, what “open-door policy” means, or how best to contribute ideas.
Refer to this downloadable PDF on how to create a welcoming environment for new hires.
Onboarding new employees remotely can be a challenge to the forming of relationships built on trust. Communication is even more important in a remote environment, so be sure to share the ways your team communicates. For example, perhaps email is used for more formal requests, whereas instant messaging is used for more informal, discussion-based communication.
Here are some other ways to build employee relationships remotely:
During the orientation process, consider the “Three Ps”—people, performance, and paperwork:
New immigrant hires need regular check-ins to clarify misconceptions, avoid future misunderstandings, and improve the orientation process. Consider asking new hires these questions:
|Yes or No Questions||Open-Ended Questions|
|Do you understand?||What other information can I give you?|
|Does that make sense?||What do you think?|
|Is that clear?||How do you think we should start?|
|Do you have any questions?||What other questions do you have?|
To help newcomers settle in more easily at work, some organizations make use of the buddy system.
Connections in the workplace often form naturally, but sometimes, particularly with newcomers, they are slow to form. Providing a peer buddy or onboarding buddy can help. Although it depends on the organization, peer buddy programs work best for SMEs and for new hires located in remote areas. It’s also important for employers to be intentional when considering a peer buddy, to take the immigrant employee’s needs and perspectives into consideration.
For information on how to create a peer buddy program at your workplace, review this downloadable pdf.
Mentoring has proved to be a cost-effective approach to help integrate newcomers as well as build cross-cultural understanding.
Inclusion is more than a numbers game and integration is a two-way street. Mentorship may help to address both, depending on the needs of your employees. As a bonus, mentors and employers often acquire a greater understanding of both the talents of many immigrants and the challenges they face.
Internal mentorship is a cost-effective measure that supports the integration of immigrant hires as well as cross-cultural understanding among existing staff. Research shows that when mentors are actively engaged with the people they mentor, the new hires form stronger emotional bonds with the workplace, report higher job satisfaction, and perceive greater support from the organization.
For new immigrant employees, mentoring also:
However, employers need to be intentional about internal mentoring. Connections need to be meaningful and determined on a case-by-case basis due to cultural differences. Sometimes it’s best to let connections happen organically.
In addition, internal mentorships may not be feasible for most SMEs. These programs often work best with larger organizations, although it depends on the nature of the industry and the type of work.
If you want to learn how to create an internal mentorship program, this downloadable PDF offers useful guidance
External Mentorship & Networking Programs
If the timing isn’t right for your organization to develop its own internal mentorship program, or if you don’t have the resources necessary, there are outside programs you may be able to make use of.
Joining an established mentorship program helps you:
Consider these regional mentorship programs:
The Waterloo Region Connectors Program is an effective way for employers to access international talent. It helps to stimulate our local economy by expanding the professional networks of highly qualified newcomers to Canada.
For more information, please contact [email protected].
Inclusive workplaces start with inclusive leadership.
The key to transforming an organization into a welcoming and inclusive work environment is leadership. For insights into how to create inclusive workplaces, refer to this downloadable pdf.
|March of Dimes Canada||Companies and organizations are held to high standards of transparency and accountability these days. We’re expected to use every dollar wisely, and account for that use. There is a growing need for effective, cost-efficient ways for organizations and small companies to meet their goals. Whether you’re looking to reduce expenses, improve customer service, or to become more inclusive, MODC’s Business and Training Services offer the expertise you need.||Kitchener
236 Victoria Street North, Unit 1B
Kitchener, ON N2H 5C8
Want to retain your immigrant talent and also provide immigrant professionals the tools they need to lead? Consider partnering with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) for its free program: Career Advancement for Immigrant Professionals.
Looking for more?
|Hiring and training incentives for employers||Take advantage of funding, programs and federal tax incentives to help hire and train employees for your business, not-for-profit, or public-sector organization.||www.ontario.ca/page/hiring-incentives-employers|
Studies show that meaningful employment is cited as the No. 1 consideration in employee retention. Employees also look for professional development and career growth.
|Canada-Ontario Job Grant||The Canada-Ontario Job Grant provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium-size, and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees.||www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/cojg|
If you want to connect with the Immigration Partnership, please connect with Nora Whittington [email protected]
WES wishes to thank our partners for their collaboration on this initiative