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Practical tips for employers working with immigrants

By March 10, 2011Uncategorized

Contributed post by Md. Salah Uddin, Workplace Inclusion Specialist for Persons with Disabilities at Career Edge Organization, and Internationally Qualified Professional

salahInternationally qualified professionals need to quickly learn the ins and outs of the Canadian workplace culture within a short period of time if they want to survive and explore their career in Canada. Luckily there are many different resources available here to provide this kind of support.

But inclusion is always a two way process, and there are some important things employers can be aware of to make the process better.

I myself am a newcomer, having recently immigrated to Canada from Bangladesh. Internationally qualified professionals like myself can play an important role in educating employers on how to work with us, so here are a few practical tips:

  • Recognize individuals are complex and unique. Avoid comments (good or bad) rooted in overgeneralizations about race/gender/culture.
  • Learn to pronounce all of the names correctly. People love to hear their names correctly.
  • Do not “under or overprotect”. Like under protection, overprotection is not welcomed by most of the immigrants. Always verify your behaviour with the key question “Am I treating the person with dignity and respect?”
  • Avoid highly idiomatic English. e.g. “once in a blue moon,” “between a rock and a hard place” or “get out of here!” as they may be taken literally!
  • Make your speeches audible and visible together. When you talk, try to put together something in writing or visuals.
  • Use diverse examples rather than ones which assume a particular background or experience.
  • Don’t assume that people who don’t talk don’t know the facts. “Showing off” is taboo in many parts of the world.
  • Avoid any type of humour that denigrates anyone. A surprisingly large number of jokes involve putting down people who are different in some way and who may already feel marginal because of those differences.

That’s all from my side. Hope you’ll continue from where I stop. Let’s learn and teach together!

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