Integration and Retention Tips
A variety of resources have been used to shape the OTepp team’s thinking about successful integration and retention practices. For more in-depth reading on the subject, please see the references and links listed below.
A key objective for employers is to create an inclusive work environment that leads to enhanced productivity and employee satisfaction. It is vital to create a supportive environment during the initial integration phase and beyond.
“Diversity is about finding and hiring, while inclusion is about retention, loyalty and growth – getting it right means more growth, higher profits and better ideas” (Ratna Omidar, Maytree Foundation) from hireimmigrants.ca/manage-diversity/diversity-equity-accommodation/.
Suggested strategies to promote success:
1. Include a formal orientation that is welcoming, general in scope and includes an overview of the organization’s structure and values.
- Clarify workplace policies, procedures and expectations
- Explain work protocols and how teams work together. Include examples of specific behaviors that demonstrate the values and norms of the workplace e.g being “respectful” and “professional”.
- Show an interest in understanding the employee’s culture.
- Include a diversity calendar that identifies significant and meaningful celebrations/observances across cultures.
- Introduce newcomers to key staff and managers.
- Pair newcomers with an experienced staff member for initial support, perhaps from a similar cultural background.
2. Provide newcomers with written explanation of the roles and responsibilities of the position.
- Translate important instructions into the language of the worker to ensure safety.
- Ensure all employees complete diversity training to build awareness and cross-cultural competence.
- Provide language training resources, and opportunities for professional development and skills upgrading.
- Use a variety of instructional media to reinforce messaging.
4. Establish formal mentoring programs.
5. Schedule work activities that provide opportunities for social interaction and professional development.
- Check-in regularly with newcomers. Ask specifically about their transition and challenges or culturally confusing situations that may have arisen. Ask if they need assistance with their settlement in the community.
- Gather specific feedback on how the organization has helped or hindered their transition.
- Complete formal performance evaluations and establish performance goals annually.
- Report on your organization’s intranet about the organization’s workforce diversity goals.
- Highlight the accomplishments and contributions of internationally trained staff.
Laroche, L., Rutherford, D., (2007). Recruiting, Retaining, and Promoting Culturally Different Employees. Burlington, MA: Elsevier, Inc.
Immigrant Friendly Businesses: Effective Practices for Attracting, Integrating, and Retaining Immigrants in Canadian Workplaces by The Conference Board of Canada. (2009). Retrieved July 6, 2012, from http://www.e-library.ca.
Internationally Trained Workers: A Strategy for the Integration of Internationally Trained Workers in Ottawa by The Internationally Trained Workers Partnership – Ottawa. Retrieved July 6, 2012, from http://www.itwp.ca.
Moving Beyond Diversity to Inclusion (Guest Column) by Ratna Omidvar (2011). Retrieved July 17, 2012 from http://www.hireimmigrants.ca.