Guest blog post by: Glen Dormody, Regional Vice President, Metro Halifax, RBC
Last fall, I spoke at a conference for the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers over at Mount Saint Vincent University.
They asked RBC to speak on the topic of diversity. It was a difficult topic to prepare for, simply for the fact that we have so many great things underway in our company right now in support of diversity.
But when I reflected on it, there were two things that stood out in my mind. First, having a focus on diversity is clearly the right thing to do. Second, it’s a smart thing to do from a business standpoint.
There are so many different ways to describe diversity. It can mean things like values and purpose, life experiences and perspectives. And certainly some people who have a diverse perspective in our community are new immigrants.
At RBC, we’ve been blessed with having some new immigrants as employees who have made a big contribution to our company.
One of these employees, Makafui Atloko, grew up in Ghana. He came to Canada for school.
After graduation, he went to a job fair at Pier 21 and I spoke with him about his experience joining RBC.
“I spoke to a few people at Pier 21 who told me about RBC and the opportunities they have for people with diverse backgrounds. When I first started, every employee I met was very forthcoming. They wanted to know about where I was from and what brought me here and they were all really welcoming. Initially I thought I was going to be out of place, especially with my accent and all that. But I wasn’t and I love it.”
The rewards of hiring immigrants are many. It creates a high performing workplace with a variety of ideas, cultures and languages. Furthermore, it helps make our clients more comfortable when someone is serving them in their own culture and language.
In my view, immigrants are individuals who have already surmounted a great deal simply by leaving their country and coming to a new one. As such they show a great propensity to adapt to change. They also bring a different perspective and a willingness to learn, which are incredible assets.
One of the challenges for our business is to continue searching for and developing an available pool of immigrant talent to draw from. We also need to do a better job of making conscious decisions to hire people with diverse backgrounds.
And we don’t want to stop at the employee experience. We serve a lot of customers in Metro Halifax, and we are driving hard to ensure a fantastic experience for new immigrants when they come to our branches to open accounts. To that effect, we’re designating one person in each of our branches as a diversity/immigrant expert. In many instances, our experts will have been immigrants themselves. We want our experts to be able to truly understand the new immigrant experience in order to better introduce banking in Canada and find the right solutions for their needs.
Truly, when you reflect on Halifax’s economy, many of those who have created opportunity in this community are immigrants themselves. It’s up to us and other businesses to support and facilitate the entry of the next generation of newcomers to greater Halifax. They will only make our community stronger!
For more information on how you can hire an immigrant, click here.
RBC partners with Greater Halifax Partnership on an awareness campaign promoting the benefits of hiring a newcomer.
Glen Dormody is Regional Vice President, Metro Halifax at RBC. Glen understands Halifax's need for immigrants and he supports efforts to diversify our city.