Diversity in the workplace is a major asset to employers. Among countless benefits, hiring people of all backgrounds and abilities sparks creativity and innovation, creates opportunities for professional growth, leads to better decision-making, helps us become more compassionate as individuals, and makes our community at large more open, welcoming, and vibrant.
At ISANS, we offer many supports for employers across Nova Scotia to help them tap into the strengths an immigrant workforce brings. Through our Online and On-site Recruitment and Information sessions and unique tools such as SkillsMatch, we help employers meet their hiring needs by connecting them with skilled, job-ready candidates. Through offerings such as our Professional Practice program, we facilitate work placements at no cost. And through our Onboarding Employer Engagement program, we help employers across mainland Nova Scotia build their capacity to hire and retain immigrants as well as navigate the designation process of the Atlantic Immigration Program.
In addition to these employer supports, we also offer training and resources to help employers make their workplaces more welcoming and more open to diverse perspectives and talents. Our Intercultural Workplace Program (IWP) is a perfect example. Leading with the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, this program coaches employers and their staff to approach all their employee interactions as relationships that honor and respect all individuals, inclusive of national and cultural background. Over the years, IWP has worked closely with many organizations, but our work with Dalhousie University’s Custodial Services is a true testament to the community-building we value in our work.
IWP has been involved in the coaching and training of the Dalhousie Custodial Services team for the last 8 years, covering topics on interpersonal and intercultural communication from many perspectives such as gender, religion, national origin, biases, and stereotypes. Using this wider cultural lens, the Dal Custodial team now responds to workplace conflict with increased understanding and respect, which over the years has led to a dramatic reduction in misunderstandings and complaints as well as a significant increase in the overall diversity of their workforce, shifting from approximately 20% international workers to well over 50%.
Michael Campbell, Dalhousie’s Manager of Custodial Services, credits their 8-year partnership with ISANS as one of the main reasons this diverse workforce runs smoothly, but this great success would not have been possible without their dedication to strengthening and reinforcing a positive work environment for all. The Dalhousie Custodial team has been an outstanding example of managing and responding to complex challenges, and their willingness to learn about and embrace an intercultural workforce is an example to us all.