HUMAN Capital - Winter 2013 - (Page 5)

LEADERSHIP MATTERS Diversity and Inclusion in the Workforce BY ALY BANDALI, CHRP HRIA BOARD CHAIR LABOUR FORECASTS CONTINUE TO project significant shortages in the availability of skilled and qualified workers across the globe, and the trend is expected to cost the Province of Alberta alone an estimated $33 billion over the next three to four years.1 The alarming statistics have caused the province to actively assess its current immigration and work visa policies to allow for an easier influx of internationally educated and skilled professionals into the country, in an effort to fi ll the growing gap. For instance, Alberta recently introduced a new visa category under the Alberta Immigration Nominee Program (AINP) called the Alberta Work Experience; under this immigration scheme, eligible temporary residents are invited to apply for permanent residence based on the expectation that they currently hold valid employment and intend to continue residing and working in Alberta. Th is program is one of the many new pathways to Canadian permanent residency intended to attract future migrants who come to Canada to study or work.2 All of the above indicates that Alberta's workforce will become increasingly multicultural and continue to diversify in skill, level of education and cultural makeup. The integration of this international workforce will require adaptation, growing support, and training in managing a diverse workforce for Alberta's executives. The implications for today's Human Resources professionals are multisided. In addition to the already dynamic nature of their roles, HR practitioners need to start analyzing what impact these trends may have on current management, employees, as well as the incoming staff. A survey conducted by the British Council, Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs, of HR Managers at 367 large employers in 9 countries found that, employers believe intercultural skills are integral to the workplace.3 It is a recognized fact that a company whose employees are lacking in intercultural skills faces multiple risks including: loss of clients, employees, and overseas partners due to cultural insensitivity, lawsuits, health and safety risks, poor staff retention, weak team cohesion and project mistakes. The primary significance for HR professionals is recognizing the need to examine your organization's on-boarding programs, employee engagement resources and recruitment strategies, to help ensure the attraction and retention of these employees. HR personnel may even want to explore additional resources to support the integration of these individuals in the outside community. Moreover, an increasing number of companies are choosing to expand strategically by setting up additional operations in international locations and minimizing costs. Th is means that more Canadian employees will become foreign expats over the next few years, requiring an entirely different set of skills to be successful in an international setting. A recent statistic in the Canadian HR Reporter states that approximately two in five managers fail in overseas assignments due to a lack of pre-assignment, cross-cultural training. In North America specifically, 22 per cent of employers were reported to offer minimal to no preparation, not even basic language and cultural awareness training. The benefits of such training are numerous including: team efficiency, reputation, bringing in new clients and maintaining trust, communication with partners, employee satisfaction and retention, and productivity. As an HR professional or manager of an organization, maintaining a productive and engaged team will increasingly require integrating tactics that apply to a diverse workforce with a unique set of motivational factors, expectations, work ethic and communication skills. 1 3 2 HUMAN CAPITAL O WINTER 2013 O 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HUMAN Capital - Winter 2013

Leadership Matters
Association News
Economic Pulse
Temporary Foreign Workers
Technology and Innovation in Talent Management
The Beat and the Pulse
Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling
Culture and Communication
Hr Legalease
Improving the Lives of Albertans
How to Make Diversity and Inclusion More Than Just Lip Service
Addressing the Gap Between Mental Health and Workplace Fairness Policy and Practice
Index of Advertisers/

HUMAN Capital - Winter 2013