How do we attract Indigenous talent?
Attracting Indigenous talent requires a proactive approach that takes into account the unique needs and perspectives of Indigenous communities. In our experience, organizations who do this most effectively have a system in place not only to attract, but to support the success of Indigenous Hires, particularly as they are just embarking on a new career.
Let’s start with why this is important. Whether you are a business who is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation’s Call to Action #92, or would like to tap into a growing Indigenous workforce, there are several benefits to hiring Indigenous workers, including:
- Diverse perspectives and experiences: Indigenous workers bring unique perspectives and experiences to the workplace, which can help create a more diverse and inclusive work environment. This can lead to better problem-solving, increased creativity, and greater innovation.
- Local knowledge and connections: Indigenous workers often have a deep understanding of the local environment, including its natural resources, history, and culture. Many have learned this trough Traditional Knowledge Holders in their communities. This knowledge can be invaluable in industries such as tourism, natural resource management, and land development.
- Community engagement: Hiring Indigenous workers can help build stronger relationships with local communities. By demonstrating a commitment to hiring Indigenous workers, employers can show that they are interested in supporting and investing in the local community.
- Positive impact on Indigenous communities: Hiring Indigenous workers can have a positive impact on Indigenous communities, providing job opportunities and contributing to economic development. This can help to address issues such as poverty, unemployment, and social inequality.
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity: Indigenous workers can help foster cultural awareness and sensitivity in the workplace. This can help to educate colleagues about their culture and history, which can lead to greater understanding and respect.
Now that we understand the value of hiring Indigenous employees, we can explore a few simple strategies to support the expansion of an Indigenous Workforce::
- Develop relationships with Indigenous communities: Building relationships with Indigenous communities is key to attracting and retaining Indigenous talent. This can involve partnering with local First Nation, Inuit or Métis organizations, attending cultural events, and engaging in outreach activities.
- Create a welcoming and inclusive workplace: Indigenous job seekers are more likely to apply to organizations that have a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture. This means creating an environment that respects and celebrates diversity, offers training on Indigenous culture and history, and provides opportunities for Indigenous employees to advance within the organization.
- Offer mentorship: For Indigenous employees just entering the workforce, there may be challenges that we fail to appreciate. Many have left communities, so are working away from families and support systems. Systems, processes and expectations may be new to them. For these employees it can be helpful to have a mentorship program or buddy system to match them with an employee guide and support them through their first few months or more.
- Advertise job opportunities in Indigenous communities: Advertising job opportunities in Indigenous communities is an effective way to attract Indigenous talent. This can include attending career fairs in Indigenous communities and posting job openings on their job boards, as well as partnering with local organizations like Workforce Forward to promote job opportunities.
- Provide professional development and training opportunities: Indigenous job seekers are often interested in organizations that provide professional development and training opportunities. This can include opportunities for mentorship, leadership development, and on-the-job training.
How do we create a safe and welcoming space for Indigenous workers?
If your organization is new to this space, cultural competency training may be a great option. This type of training is designed to improve an individual or organization’s ability to interact effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds, leading to better outcomes for staff and organizations alike. The goal of cultural competency training is to increase awareness and understanding of different cultures, and to develop the skills necessary to support, communicate and work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
Cultural competency training can cover a wide range of topics, including:
- Self-awareness: Understanding one’s own cultural background and how it shapes perceptions, beliefs, and values.
- Cultural knowledge: Learning about the values, beliefs and traditions of different cultures. For Indigenous Peoples in Canada, this also includes their unique history and rights.
- Cultural sensitivity: Developing the ability to recognize and respond to cultural differences in a respectful and appropriate manner.
- Communication skills: Developing effective communication skills that take into account cultural differences in language, non-verbal cues, and communication styles.
- Conflict resolution: Developing the ability to address and resolve conflicts that arise from cultural differences.
Cultural competency training is important for organizations that work with diverse populations, including healthcare, education, social services, and the corporate sector. By improving cultural competency, organizations can provide more effective and culturally sensitive services to their clients and customers, and create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for employees from diverse backgrounds.
What are some best practices for Human Resources for Indigenous workers?
Here are some best practices for Human Resources (HR) for Indigenous workers:
- Incorporate Indigenous perspectives into HR policies and practices: HR policies and practices should take into account the unique needs and perspectives of Indigenous workers. This can include offering flexible work arrangements to accommodate cultural and ceremonial practices, and providing training on Indigenous culture and history to all employees.
- Offer cultural awareness training: HR should provide cultural awareness training to all employees, including management and frontline staff. This can help to create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace, and improve communication and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees.
- Create opportunities for career development: HR should provide opportunities for career development and advancement for Indigenous workers. This can include mentorship programs, leadership training, and support for education and training.
- Provide support for mental health and wellness: HR should provide support for the mental health and wellness of Indigenous workers. This can include offering employee assistance programs, providing access to traditional healing practices, and creating a supportive and understanding workplace culture.
- Build relationships with Indigenous communities: HR should develop and maintain positive relationships with Indigenous communities, including their HR departments and Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) programs. This can also include partnering with local Indigenous organizations, attending career days or other events, and engaging in outreach activities to build trust and credibility.
By implementing these best practices along with Cultural competency training we can create a workplace that is welcoming, inclusive, and supportive for Indigenous workers, while improving retention, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.