Global Talent Bridge Partner Blog

News on practice and policy affecting internationally trained immigrants and refugees

#ImmigrantsWork: Mobilizing Toward Action

Friday August 7, 2020 | by Devon Franklin

Aerial shot of a person sitting at a desk on their laptop.

Following the successful launch of the #ImmigrantsWork campaign in May, WES Canada co-hosted a second Twitter chat on July 15, 2020 to continue our national effort to crowdsource best practices for the inclusion of immigrant talent in Canadian workplaces. These practices include strategies, tips and resources to support Canadian businesses to tap into the full breadth of skills, experiences and perspectives immigrants can contribute to workplaces as they recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The critical discussion reached over 80,000 users and led to the #ImmigrantsWork hashtag trending at number one in Canada.

A common thread emerged from the discussion: The business case for embracing immigrant talent in Canadian workplaces is indisputable. Numerous reports and articles, from sources including McKinsey & Company, the Harvard Business Review, the Conference Board of Canada, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation, reach the same conclusion: diversity is beneficial for the bottom line of Canadian companies. For every 1 percent increase in ethnocultural diversity, companies experienced on average a 2.4 percent increase in revenue and a 0.5 percent increase in productivity (CIGI, 2017). Beyond the diversity that immigrants contribute to Canadian workplaces, they provide invaluable insight into global markets and contribute their international experience and cultural knowledge to support Canadian businesses in meeting the needs of a diverse consumer base. This sentiment was echoed by REDspace, a software company based in Nova Scotia:

Chat participants described initiatives within their organizations to harness the skills and experiences of immigrants and to create workplaces that empower employees to bring their full selves to work. Participants cited their multilingual teams and workplace flexibility around cultural or religious celebrations as a reflection of inclusion. They also noted that responsiveness to sharing international experiences in the professional space beneficially impacted their organization’s business practices.

The chat emphasized the need to drive meaningful change in workplaces across Canada as immigrants continue to face professional barriers. Such obstacles, including emphasis on Canadian experience and unconscious biases that screen-out immigrants, often occur early in the hiring process and can have devastating effects on the professional success of immigrants. As Jade Boxurd, community manager at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) contributed, “We need businesses to lead the change.”

Empowering Employer Action

The July 15 Twitter chat marked an important step in a larger project to crowdsource tips, resources, and strategies to support employers in implementing practices that will better enable them to include and effectively leverage immigrant talent in their workplaces. Participants shared valuable ideas on inclusivity at all stages of the employment cycle—from recruitment and interviewing to onboarding and retaining. The national coalition members of the campaign are compiling twitter chat contributions into a cumulative resource for employers.

If you were unable to contribute on July 15, you can still share your experiences, insights, and strategies for supporting employers to realize the full potential of immigrant talent in their workplaces. Here are some ways stakeholders can engage and contribute to the forthcoming employer resource:

  • Share a strategy or resource for recruiting, onboarding and retaining immigrant talent. Tell us what works within your own organization. Please share inclusion programs, tools, resources and tips that can foster greater immigrant inclusion in workplaces.
  • Share a success story that profiles businesses that have adopted more inclusive programs or practices.

Please consider lending your voice to the #ImmigrantsWork employer resource. Share your suggestions with us on social media using the campaign hashtag #ImmigrantsWork, or email campaign lead, Devon Franklin.

Devon Franklin is the Manager, Knowledge Mobilization and Partner Development for Global Talent Bridge in Canada.