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How to Integrate Newly Immigrated Workers into the Workplace

UntitledAllow me to begin this blog with three (what should be) alarming statistics:

1.  In 2010, more than 250,000 immigrants entered Canada,  only 60,000 of which were labour market ready.

2.  By 2016, we will have a deficit of more than 800,000 skilled workers and a surplus of almost 500,000 unskilled workers.

3.  By 2031, Canada will need to outsource almost all of its labour.

It is no secret that Canadian companies need to take an increasingly international view of employee resourcing as business continues to globalize and skilled labour becomes more difficult to source.  The way that employees are attracted, recruited, selected, integrated, developed, and managed has become increasingly important, given the ‘war for talent.’  Integration and the effective deployment of international employee resources are major issues affecting businesses, and businesses need to take integration into account when recruiting and selecting individuals to join their workforce.

While it is common to assess cross-cultural competencies through interviews and the like to ensure fit with your business, less attention seems to be paid to ensuring fit once the immigrant worker has been hired.  It’s kind of like selecting all the best quality ingredients to make a delicious dinner but then not bothering to follow the recipe once you get home.  Doesn’t make a lot of sense… yet, we see it happen time and time again.  So, what is the recipe?

Ingredients for a Successful Integration

  • Offer workplace mentoring programs.
  • Provide professional language and skills training programs.
  • Support and encourage the employee in achieving their professional goals.
  • Remember that in many cases, the employee has a family that has just immigrated with him or her; therefore, it’s important to make sure the family is fitting in to their new surroundings, too.
  • Provide employees with information and advice on obtaining Canadian credentials.
  • Enroll employees in soft-skills training programs (and afford them the time to go).
  • Promote cultural diversify awareness through diversity training and multi-cultural activities.
  • Communicate.  Communicate.  Communicate.

As with any recipe, the more often you use it and become familiar with its components, the better able you are to tweak it for a better outcome.  Good cooks know when to add a little more of one ingredient, when to use a little less of another, and when to toss in an ingredient that has never been used before.  I would suggest that integrating a new employee is really no different… start with an excellent base recipe and tweak it depending on the ingredients you have to work with.

Tags: educational trends, performance standards, prior learning assessment, skilled labour shortage