Inclusion is more than a numbers game, and integration is a two-way street. Mentorship may help to address both, depending on the needs of your employees. As a bonus, mentors and employers often acquire a greater understanding of both the talents and challenges many immigrants face.
Internal mentorship is a cost-effective measure that supports the integration of immigrant hires, as well as cross-cultural understanding among existing staff. Research shows that when mentors are actively engaged with the people they mentor, the new hires form stronger emotional bonds with the workplace, report higher job satisfaction, and perceive greater support from the organization.
For new immigrant employees, mentoring also:
- Fosters a sense of belonging, helping them to better adjust to their new environment
- Allows them to learn the intangibles of what is needed to succeed in the workplace
- Provides the opportunity to learn more about their company and Canadian workplace norms
- Offers a proven way to help immigrants transition to Canadian workplace culture
However, employers need to be intentional about internal mentoring. Connections need to be meaningful and determined on a case-by-case basis due to cultural differences. Sometimes it’s best to let connections happen organically.
In addition, internal mentorships may not be feasible for most SMEs. These programs often work best with larger organizations, although it depends on the nature of the industry and the type of work.
If you want to learn how to create an internal mentorship program, this downloadable PDF offers useful guidance:
External Mentorship Programs
If the timing isn’t right for your organization to develop its own internal mentorship program, or if you don’t have the necessary resources, there are outside programs you may be able to make use of.
Joining an established mentorship program helps you:
- Identify and develop potential new leaders
- Address issues of talent shortages
- Reduce recruiting and training costs
- Create a culture of learning and information-sharing which can improve job satisfaction for all your employees
Consider these regional mentorship programs:
- South East Regional Service Commission Connector Program: The Connector Program helps newcomers, immigrants, recent graduates, and unemployed/underemployed individuals grow their professional network in Southeastern New Brunswick. Connector Program
- MAGMA’s Federal Internship for Newcomers Program
The Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Program offers newcomers to Canada a chance to acquire valuable temporary work experience and training opportunities with federal, provincial, and municipal organizations.