With 25,000 Syrians arriving in Canada, the government, citizens, and supporting organizations are scrambling to help. Several large companies have stepped up to provide cash donations, while hundreds of small businesses are quietly helping and will eventually hire most of the Syrians and other immigrants arriving in Canada each month. What can employers in Ontario, where the economy is growing and hiring is hot, and other provinces where there is lots of ongoing hiring due to turnover and retirements, do to help these new workers?
Fortunately the best practices for hiring refugees are also best practices for hiring Canadians. The refugees who are leaving Syria will arrive as permanent residents and will soon be Canadians, so it is important to think in terms of hiring that enables diversity rather than targeting one group.
A Welcoming Employer Brand
Moving to a new country is scary and like most Canadians who know little to nothing about your organization, people want information on the type of people you employ who may be just like them. Having real pictures of your employees on your website gives potential candidates context and allows them to see that you have a diverse group of employees, including some who are very similar to them. Promoting your employees throughout your website will help with your employment branding and also with your branding to customers, as people want to do business with people like themselves. If your company has no diversity to promote, working with a local immigrant and refugee support centre, government employment centre or First Nations group on an ongoing basis will start you down the road to hiring people who will help grow your business in new ways.
Employers need to make their websites easy to read, including their job ads. What is the easiest way to help millions of Canadians and new Syrians read your website? Translate your website into all of the top languages that are spoken in Canada including French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Tagalog and Arabic. How could a company afford to translate their website? Simple. Install a free translation button such as the one from Translate Company that automatically translates your website into 36 languages!
If a candidate does not have the skills and experience, at least they will be able to read the job postings and enroll in a course to get those qualifications — giving you candidates in the future. Finally, having a translate button will also help your business as clients and suppliers often use English as a second language and will value the ease at which they can read your website.
Give People A Chance
The most recent government data shows that there were 437,000 job vacancies in Canada. Hundreds of thousands of jobs go unfilled in Canada for a number of reasons: employers’ desire to find the “perfect fit” is a big one. If an employer has a job vacancy it often means customers are not being served, revenue is not being realized and other employees are overworked. An alternative is to hire an employee with great potential who may not have all the skills, experience, and “Canadian experience” that are traditionally looked for. Hiring temporary or contract employees may be a good way to crack the door open for a new Syrian permanent resident or an underemployed Canadian.
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel for people who are new to Canada but recognizing these and other best hiring practices will help your bottom line and help the career path of Syrians, other newcomers, and underemployed Canadians.
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