Top 8 Questions to Ask an Interviewer
May 3, 2024

When preparing for interviews, people spend the vast majority of their time thinking about questions they could be asked. While this makes perfect sense, many people don’t put enough thought into questions to ask a prospective employer. After all, an interview is not only about selling your experiences to employers but also about identifying whether a company is the right one for you. With this in mind, here are the top eight questions to ask an interviewer.

What Does a Typical Day Look Like?

This is a valuable question to ask an interviewer for a number of reasons. First, it’s an excellent way to ask about the specific expectations for a position. The interviewer will respond by describing how they see the person in the role functioning. These answers will allow you to determine if you can picture yourself in the role. Additionally, some jobs have lots of variabilities, and there may not be a typical day. Asking this question can help inform you of that as well.

Are There Opportunities for Professional Development?

There are many benefits that employers can offer in addition to compensation. One is encouraging your professional development. Many employers will provide incentives for staff to further their education or training. Some will provide funding for improving skills that will make you more effective at your job. Asking this question to an interviewer helps determine a company’s level of investment in your growth.

What Are the Most Important Things to Do in the First 60 Days on the Job?

One of the most valuable things to learn as a prospective employee is what your boss expects of you. A good way of determining this is to ask about expectations for the most important accomplishments during the first 60 days (or three months or six months). This can help you get a sense of how quickly you need to get up to speed.

What Metrics Will I Be Evaluated Against?

It’s always good to know how you will be evaluated in a particular job. Will your performance be assessed on the accomplishment of specific goals? Will you be evaluated based on the skills that you demonstrate? Asking this question allows you to get a sense of a company’s assessment processes and what they value most.

How Would You Describe the Organizational Culture?

A company’s organizational culture can make or break your enjoyment of working there. Asking about organizational culture during a job interview can help you get a sense of the company’s values. While no one will tell you they have a negative culture, you may be able to pick up on warning signs. Additionally, you can learn other information, such as whether a company encourages collaboration, leadership, and other things from their employees.

How Does One Advance in the Company?

This is a great way to phrase the question if you’re curious about upward mobility. First, it puts the ownership of getting promoted on you, which can come across positively. Secondly, you’ll be able to learn not only if there are opportunities for promotion but also how to demonstrate that you are ready for the next level. This question is great to ask an interviewer from large organizations.

What Are the Biggest Challenges Someone in This Role Should Expect?

Asking this question is a good way of learning about the challenges you will have to navigate if you are selected for the position. It’s an excellent question to ask an interviewer if the organization is larger or going through changes in its organizational structure, as it can shed more information on how things like this may affect your role. It can also allow you to discuss your passion for taking on a particular challenge, if applicable.

What Do You Enjoy Most About Working Here?

This is a great question to ask an interviewer to get a sense of how well they enjoy working for the company. If they seem to have difficulty forming an answer, that could be a hint to look for other signs of negative work environments. However, if they seem genuinely thrilled about their work and team, that’s a great indicator that it’s a good place to work. Focus on their emotions and body language just as much as what they say in response.

While interviews are certainly an opportunity to showcase your skills and experience, you should also be ready to ask an employer a few questions as well. This list provides you with a starting point for what questions you should ask when it’s your turn at the end of the interview.

At Achēv, our Employment Ontario Services offers a wide range of resources to support your career and employment needs. Our employment centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Contact us today to register for our free employment services.

March 26, 2024

In the past two and a half years, the Advancing Equity for Women and Girls team has developed several resources and initiatives aimed at addressing barriers to employment for immigrant and racialized women. Following last week’s blog, we will explore two more strategies included in our DEIA toolkit for employers, “Paving the Way: A Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Guide to Support Immigrant and Racialized Women in the Canadian Labour Force.”

Strategy 8: Integrate DEIA in Communications

To foster a positive and respectful work environment, you can integrate DEIA into your internal communications strategy. There are several benefits of integrating DEIA, from increasing understanding between teams to enhancing employee engagement and well-being.

But how can you achieve this? Creating an awareness campaign or initiatives to promote the use of inclusive language is a great way to start. During the campaign, training can be provided, and leaders can encourage employees to use inclusive language in both written and verbal communications, such as using gender-neutral terms and avoiding gendered words.

For inclusive language to be integrated, it’s important that leaders not only encourage but also lead by example and demonstrate this inclusive behavior to the organization.

Strategy 10: Apply DEIA Best Practices in the Hiring Process – DEIA in Job Postings

Regarding external communications, consider integrating DEIA into the hiring process, starting with job postings. Keep in mind that a job posting is most likely the first connection and impression an applicant will have of your organization. As such, having a clear commitment to DEIA is of benefit to attract the candidates you want. Consider the following when writing a job posting:

  • Use gender-neutral language to avoid gendering job postings or characteristics
  • List all skills and requirements needed, including transferrable skills
  • Inform if it’s a remote, in-person or hybrid role
  • Include salary, wage and benefits (if available)
  • Include clear instructions on how to apply, required documents and the deadline

To further integrate DEIA, ensure that the posting meets accessibility standards, such as having alternative text and machine-readable documents.

Learn More with the “Paving the Way” Toolkit 

For a deeper dive into strategies supporting immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force, access our toolkit for employers, “Paving the Way: A Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Guide.” 

Access it here

About Advancing Equity for Women and Girls

Funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), Advancing Equity for Women and Girls supports a feminist response and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 on the employment of immigrant and racialized women in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) by contributing to systemic change to promote women’s economic prosperity and equality.

Contact Us

For any questions regarding the project, contact us:

Read more about our program here: Advancing Equity for Women and Girls – Employment Services

Embedding DEIA within your organization Exploring successful strategies
March 19, 2024

In the past two and a half years, the Advancing Equity for Women and Girls team has developed several resources and initiatives aimed at addressing barriers to employment for immigrant and racialized women. After conducting a consultation phase with immigrant and racialized women, employers and key stakeholders, the AEWG team, in partnership with SEASONOVA, a BIPOC-led social enterprise, developed a DEIA toolkit for employers, “Paving the Way: A Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Guide to Support Immigrant and Racialized Women in the Canadian Labour Force.”

The “Paving the Way” toolkit offers a guide on implantable strategies to recruit, hire and retain immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force by applying DEIA principles and practices. In this blog, we will explore two of the ten strategies presented in the toolkit.

Strategy 1: Cultivate Senior Management Buy-In for DEIA

Suppose your organization is in the early stages of its DEIA journey. It is crucial to engage with its leadership to cultivate their buy-in and commitment toward DEIA efforts. This can include having a Lunch & Learn session to create awareness and understanding of what DEIA means, its benefits to the organization and its employees, and the risks of not cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce.

It’s highly encouraged that before engaging with senior leadership, one should develop a business case for DEIA in one’s organization. One approach is to present DEIA not just as an HR strategy but as an ongoing business tool that can improve the attraction and retention of diverse talent and maximize workforce potential (The Building Industry and Land Development Association, 2021).

Another approach to present the significance of DEIA for your organization or company is “competitive advantage” or “organizational benefits.” The following section outlines some of the key contributors to understanding and developing your business case. Remember that as each organization is unique, there is no one correct business case, and it’s okay if the business case evolves over time:

  • War for talent: inclusive employers are more attractive employers.
  • Employee engagement: inclusion has been linked to engagement. Disengaged employees cost money. Engaged employees provide better service, speak more favorably about your organization, go above and beyond more, and have less absenteeism and lower voluntary turnover.
  • Succession planning: invest now in your pipeline of future leaders.
  • Think global: better global picture/context for international or cross-cultural business.
  • Market opportunity: better business development opportunities in a changing marketplace.
  • Mirror the marketplace: reflect your customer and your customer’s customer.
  • Foster innovation: diversity in teams leads to increased creativity and improved products and services.
  • Your brand: set yourself apart, creating employee and customer loyalty.
  • Resiliency: increased ability to respond to change over time.

After you engage with the leadership, with a clear perspective of the benefits of DE&I initiatives for the organization, the next step is to have your company’s leadership state their reasons for improving diversity and belonging to garner greater buy-in.

Having a senior leadership champion the initiative is a critical success factor. Without at least one executive sponsor, the initiative will likely end before it starts. To learn how to successfully acquire leadership buy-in, from having an executive sponsor to establishing a permanent and working DEIA committee, you can read our toolkit.

Strategy 9: Introduce the Use of a DEIA Lens

DEIA lens is a tool that supports leaders in their decision-making process when developing programs and policies. It can be used to identify positive and negative impacts for diverse groups of employees. DEIA lens can be applied in several different ways within the workplace, such as communications, training, service delivery, policy development and human resources, amongst others.

A prime example of a DEIA lens is the Government of Canada’s Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus). GBA Plus is an analytical tool that aims to ensure equitable benefits and opportunities for everyone. This tool supports leaders in assessing “how the needs and experiences of different groups of people are influenced by intersecting parts of their identity, the context they are in and their lived experiences.” GBA Plus can support you in identifying problems, challenging your assumptions, and identifying the potential impacts of your initiatives. To learn more about GBA Plus, explore our toolkit and access Women and Gender Equality Canada’s course “Introduction to GBA Plus.”

Learn More with the “Paving the Way” Toolkit 

For a deeper dive into strategies supporting immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force, access our toolkit for employers, “Paving the Way: A Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Guide.” 

Access it here

About Advancing Equity for Women and Girls

Funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), Advancing Equity for Women and Girls supports a feminist response and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 on the employment of immigrant and racialized women in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) by contributing to systemic change to promote women’s economic prosperity and equality.

Contact Us

For any questions regarding the project, contact us:

Read more about our program here: Advancing Equity for Women and Girls – Employment Services

February 22, 2024

Advancing Equity for Women and Girls (AEWG) at Achēv hosted three panel discussions with experts from various sectors, including AI, business, and government leadership, between September 2023 to November 2023.

The objective of this series of panel discussions was to unpack the challenges faced by immigrant and racialized women, as well as young women, in the labour market. This phase marked the intervention stage of the AEWG project, aiming to engage both employers and employees with solution-oriented recommendations.

Among the panelists were Warsan Hagi-Yusuf, DEIA Specialist at Deloitte; Amal Masri, founder of Fix The Broken Rung; Theirry Lindor, Co-Founder of Happly.ai; Dorian Spears, Director of Partnerships & Strategy at the Gender Equality in Tech Cities initiative; Nammi Sriharsan, Executive Coach and AI Leader; Jhoanna Gonzales Miners, CEO of SEASONOVA; and Richard Sharpe, Director of the Black Equity Branch at the Treasury Board Secretariat in the Ontario Public Service.

Key emerging themes from all three panel discussions included:

1. Importance of Intentionality and Accountability in Implementing DEIA in the Workplace

There is a crucial need for intentional recruitment processes, especially concerning the recruitment of women, particularly immigrant and racialized women. For instance, the collaborative efforts between corporations and the non-profit sector, such as Achēv, are essential to reach racialized women and other equity-deserving groups.

Intentional data analysis is crucial for mitigating inherent biases within IT, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) development being a key focal point. The solution lies in cultivating diversity of expertise within development teams and fostering collaborations with non-profit and educational institutions. Additionally, recognizing the important role of government regulations is essential in ensuring equitable and unbiased outcomes.

2. The Benefits and Pitfalls of Hybrid Work Models

The pitfalls within our current hybrid workplace are that it can foster biases among the leadership in organizations and companies, where social networks and sponsorship are being missed for women in the workplace. There is a strong potential of impacting women and their ability to progress career-wise. For example, “Fix the Broken Rung” has been providing racialized professional women a platform to share their experiences and develop solutions to reducing biases in the workplace by promoting inclusivity and shifting the focus on the talent and contribution women make in the workplace.

Sponsorship opportunities hold significant importance for working women, particularly racialized and immigrant women, in leveling the playing field and ensuring equity in access to professional opportunities.

In the current hybrid workspace, cultivating a healthy workplace culture entails rejecting a surveillance-oriented approach and instead encouraging leaders to regularly check in with their teams, ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and valued.

3. Shifting the Paradigm in the Business World Around Skilled Immigrants

For sustained success, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) initiatives cannot solely rely on Human Resources (HR) departments. Instead, they must be integrated throughout the organizational structure and operations. This approach fosters trust by prioritizing transparency and accountability at all levels.

Immigrant and racialized women represent some of the most educated and skilled individuals in Canada today. Shifting the paradigm requires employers to recognize the invaluable assets they bring to the labour market. These women are not merely employees; they are also entrepreneurs and job creators for their communities and Canadian society as a whole.

The current partnership between businesses and non-profits, particularly Employment Service Providers, has the potential to cultivate experiential opportunities through work-integrated learning, such as co-ops, internships, and volunteer opportunities.

During the panel discussions, some employers and business owners highlighted the importance of decolonizing our mindset when navigating the Canadian labour market. They emphasized the need to avoid devaluing the education and work experiences of newcomers recruited by the government based on their expertise.

Fostering alliances with diverse communities, sharing knowledge, and recognizing the potential that emerges from organizing both people and data are crucial elements in navigating the forthcoming changes in the labour market.

 4. Equity Audit as a Key Part of Successful DEIA Implementation in the Workplace

The effectiveness of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) within an organization or company relies on hiring a third party to conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups. This serves as a mechanism for organizational accountability.

Sharing the results of the equity audit conducted by the company or organization with employees presents an opportunity for employers to commit to improvement and address burnout, dissatisfaction, and high turnover among their employees, particularly those belonging to equity-deserving groups.

Adopting a multi-pronged approach towards Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) involves education, fostering diverse perspectives, and conducting institutional and individual self-assessment. This is a long-term effort and not a quick fix. Throughout this process, it’s crucial to deprioritize the comfort of those in dominant spaces and recognize the impact harmful work practices have on marginalized groups within companies and organizations.

In all three panel discussions, guest speakers emphasized the critical role communities play in holding those in powerful positions, whether in government or the private sector, accountable for advancing essential systemic and institutional changes. Measuring the impact of an organization or company’s DEIA initiatives is crucial, as it provides leaders with contextualized, qualitative upward feedback, along with recommendations for the next steps. Conducting an Equity Audit requires companies and organizations to cultivate a culture of psychological safety, which is central to fostering humility among leaders and making earnest efforts to respect, recognize, and connect with all employees. DEIA work is a collective effort, and it’s important to view all small progress as steps in the right direction.

Learn More with the “Paving the Way” Toolkit 

For a deeper dive into strategies supporting immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force, access our toolkit for employers, “Paving the Way: A Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Guide.” 

Access it here

About Advancing Equity for Women and Girls

Funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), Advancing Equity for Women and Girls supports a feminist response and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 on the employment of immigrant and racialized women in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) by contributing to systemic change to promote women’s economic prosperity and equality.

Contact Us

For any questions regarding the project, contact us:

Read more about our program here: Advancing Equity for Women and Girls – Employment Services

how to create safe spaces for Black employees
February 15, 2024

Canada, known for its diversity and inclusivity, offers a welcoming environment for people from various backgrounds. However, the importance of creating safe spaces for Black employees cannot be overstated. In this blog post, we will explore ways to foster inclusivity and support within workplaces to ensure a positive experience for Black employees.

Understanding the Challenges

Being aware of the challenges faced by Black employees is the first step toward creating a safe and inclusive workplace. Systemic racism, unconscious bias, and microaggressions can create hurdles in professional growth and job satisfaction. It is essential for employers and colleagues to educate themselves on these issues and actively work towards eliminating discriminatory practices.

Promoting Diversity and Representation

Representation matters. Employers should make conscious efforts to diversify their workforce at all levels. This includes leadership roles, where Black employees can see themselves reflected in positions of authority. By showcasing diversity in leadership, organizations send a powerful message of inclusivity, fostering a sense of belonging among their employees.

Implementing Inclusive Policies

Creating a safe space involves more than just verbal support. Employers should actively implement inclusive policies that address discrimination and harassment. Develop a zero-tolerance policy for racism and discrimination, and ensure that all employees are aware of these policies. Regular training sessions can help educate staff and reinforce the importance of creating an environment free from bias.

Encouraging Open Communication

Building safe spaces requires open communication channels. Employers should encourage employees to share their experiences and concerns without fear of retribution. Establishing regular forums, such as town hall meetings or anonymous suggestion boxes, can provide a platform for employees to voice their thoughts and contribute to the ongoing improvement of workplace culture.

Mentorship and Networking Opportunities

For immigrants and newcomers, mentorship can be invaluable. Establishing mentorship programs that connect experienced employees with newcomers helps in navigating the nuances of the workplace. Additionally, creating networking opportunities within the organization and the community can help build a support system for Black employees, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.

Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Events

Organizing cultural events and celebrations within the workplace not only promotes diversity but also helps in creating an inclusive atmosphere. Acknowledging and appreciating various cultural traditions can foster understanding and unity among employees. These events provide an opportunity for people to share their unique experiences and promote a sense of belonging.

Addressing Microaggressions

Microaggressions, though often subtle, can have a significant impact on an individual’s well-being and sense of belonging. Employers should take a proactive stance in addressing and eliminating microaggressions within the workplace. This can be achieved through training programs, awareness campaigns, and fostering a culture where employees feel comfortable calling out such behavior.

Creating safe spaces for Black employees is a collective responsibility that requires ongoing commitment from employers and colleagues alike. By fostering inclusivity and support, workplaces can become nurturing environments where every employee, regardless of their background, feels valued and supported.

At Achēv, we are committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace and our communities. Achēv Inclusion works with organizations to attract and retain top talent, build a best-in-class workplace and create cultural competency trainings to further their progress toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Learn more about Achēv Inclusion at: https://inclusion.achev.ca/

man smiling in front of a laptop
January 25, 2024

LinkedIn has rapidly turned into a major resource used by recruiters to identify new talent. While the site typically has over 14 million open jobs, 87% of recruiters regularly report using LinkedIn to find qualified candidates. Here are eight ways to make your profile stand out to recruiters.

Have a Quality Headshot

Your photo is the first thing that someone sees on your profile. It’s very important that you use a quality headshot. Getting one from a professional photographer is often more affordable than people think. However, if you don’t want to go this route, you can have someone take one for you. Stand against a plain background and take a picture from your chest up in work attire with your head looking slightly to the side. Don’t use a selfie.

Make Your LinkedIn Profile Easy to Read

If a recruiter looks at your LinkedIn profile, they’re going to want to be able to skim it fairly quickly. Thus, you want to ensure that it’s easy to read. Use short paragraphs and concise writing to keep people’s attention. Bullet points are also a great way to organize information.

Grow Your Network

There are many benefits to having a large network on LinkedIn. One advantage is that more recruiters may notice you as you’ll be more likely to have connections in common. You can grow your LinkedIn network by making it a habit to send connection requests after meeting someone. Additionally, connecting your LinkedIn to your address book can help optimize connection suggestions for you.

Giving Endorsements Gets Endorsements

A great way to stand out to recruiters is to have endorsements. Many people wonder about the best way to get endorsements. While it’s perfectly fine to ask someone close to you to provide you with one, the best way to get endorsements is to give them to others. Look through your network and identify people you’ve worked closely with that you can endorse for a particular skill. Typically, people will want to return the favor. This is a great way to quickly rack up some endorsements.

Engage in LinkedIn Learning

It’s no secret that organizations typically value people who are lifelong learners and spend time on their own professional development. There are great ways to showcase these qualities to potential employers, one of which is by completing courses on LinkedIn Learning. In addition to being a great way to learn new skills, LinkedIn Learning allows you to add a course completion certificate to your profile. This is a great way to further advertise the skills you continue to accumulate.

Share Content to Your Feed

Getting noticed by recruiters on LinkedIn involves getting noticed by LinkedIn’s algorithms. Being more active on the platform is one way to help increase the chances of your profile showing up when recruiters search for people with your skills. A great way to begin doing this is by sharing content to your feed. Watch your LinkedIn feed and share interesting content when you see it. Be sure it’s something relevant to your industry or the types of jobs you would hope to attract. This is a great starting point for garnering more attention.

Provide Well Thought Comments

A great way to further enhance your engagement on the LinkedIn platform is to comment on the posts and shares of others. If you read an interesting article, feel free to comment. The key to a good comment is that it’s thoughtful, reflective of what has been shared, and helps further the conversation. Additionally, be sure to positively engage with people when they respond to your comments. This discourse will help you connect with others and raise your performance with LinkedIn’s algorithms.

Understand Your Target Audience

One of the most critical aspects of creating an engaging LinkedIn profile is understanding your target audience. If you’re looking to be hired by recruiters, make sure that your profile is written with them in mind. LinkedIn is quite different from other social networking sites in that it’s aimed at the professional world. Think about the words you use when designing your profile and ensure you’re using language that highlights skills and experiences that recruiters in your field would look for.

Final Thoughts

LinkedIn can be a powerful resource in your search for a job and can continue to link you to many opportunities for years to come. However, getting noticed by recruiters means ensuring that your LinkedIn profile is optimized for them to find you. These tips are great ways to ensure your LinkedIn profile stands out to recruiters.

At Achēv, our Employment Ontario Services offers a wide range of resources to support your career and employment needs. Our employment centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Contact us today to register for our free employment services.

January 3, 2024

As the New Year unfolds, it brings with it the promise of growth and new opportunities. If you’re looking to enhance your skill set and embark on a journey of self-improvement in the coming year, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to gain new skills and set yourself up for success.

Identify Your Goals and Interests

Before diving into skill development, take the time to identify your goals and interests. What are you passionate about? What skills align with your career aspirations or personal interests? Reflecting on your objectives will help you choose skills that are not only valuable but also meaningful to you.

Create a Skill Development Plan

Once you’ve identified your goals, create a skill development plan. Break down your objectives into manageable steps and set realistic timelines. Whether it’s learning a new language, acquiring technical skills, or improving soft skills like communication and leadership, having a structured plan will keep you focused and accountable.

Explore Online Learning Platforms

The digital age has brought forth a wealth of online learning platforms that offer courses on a vast array of subjects. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning provide opportunities to acquire new skills from the comfort of your home. Explore these platforms to find courses that align with your goals, and consider both technical and soft skills to create a well-rounded skill set.

Engage in Professional Development

If you’re looking to advance your career, professional development is key. Attend workshops, webinars, and conferences relevant to your industry. Networking at these events not only exposes you to new ideas but also connects you with professionals who can offer guidance and mentorship. 

Practice Regularly and Apply Your Skills

Skill development is not just about acquiring knowledge; it’s about applying what you’ve learned in real-world scenarios. Look for opportunities to practice your new skills through projects, volunteering, or even in your current job. Practical application enhances your understanding and reinforces your learning.

Join Professional Associations and Communities

Become an active member of professional associations and online communities related to your field. Engaging with like-minded individuals provides a supportive network for sharing experiences, gaining insights, and staying updated on industry trends. Many associations also offer workshops and events that facilitate skill development.

Utilize Skill Development Resources at Work

If you’re currently employed, inquire about skill development resources available at your workplace. Many companies offer training programs, workshops, or financial assistance for employees seeking to enhance their skills. Take advantage of these resources to align your professional growth with organizational goals.

In conclusion, gaining new skills in the New Year is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. By identifying your goals, creating a plan, utilizing online platforms, seeking mentorship, practicing regularly, and maintaining a growth mindset, you’ll not only acquire valuable skills but also position yourself for success in the ever-evolving landscape of work and life. Embrace the opportunity to become a better version of yourself in the coming year!

December 12, 2023

In the fall of 2023, the Advancing Equity for Women and Girls team, in collaboration with SEASONOVA, facilitated a series of impactful training sessions titled “DEIA in Action: Towards an Equitable and Inclusive Workforce.” In this blog, we’ll delve into the key strategies that employers can incorporate to support immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force.

Why Embed DEIA into the Organization?

The business case for DEIA has been established numerous times, and the data points to the following: increasing diversity in the workplace gives organizations a competitive advantage and supports innovation and creativity. However, for organizations to benefit from bringing diverse individuals into their workforce, they have to go beyond numbers.

To truly unlock the benefits of a diverse workforce, organizations must embed DEIA into their policies, practices, and overall culture, thereby reducing barriers and creating an environment where immigrant and racialized women can thrive.

Organizational DEIA Assessment: A Vital Step

During the training sessions, participants were guided through how to kickstart their DEIA journey by doing an Organizational DEIA Assessment. This self-assessment tool serves as a catalyst for ongoing DEIA dialogues within organizations. It also offers valuable insights into the current workplace culture, existing initiatives, and workforce composition, allowing organizations to pinpoint areas for improvement to achieve meaningful organizational change.

Some of the questions an Organizational DEIA Assessment can include are:

  • What is the current state of your organization’s openness and attitudes towards DEIA, including its workplace culture?
  • What DEIA-related initiatives or infrastructures exist in your organization?
  • What is the current workforce composition, including representation levels from employment equity and diversity groups?

DEIA Action Plan: Translating Commitments into Action

Participants, equipped with insights for the assessment, embarked on the development of their own DEIA Action Plan. A DEIA Action Plan outlines the organization’s commitments to DEIA in practical terms, including:

  • Strategic commitment statements and goals,
  • Tangible actions and tasks,
  • Numeric targets, and
  • Resources, including human and financial resources

While developing and implementing a DEIA Action Plan can be challenging, support is available. To guide employers through this process, we’ve developed a toolkit titled “Paving the Way,” offering a comprehensive guide on strategies and considerations for supporting immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force.

Learn More with the “Paving the Way” Toolkit

For a deeper dive into strategies supporting immigrant and racialized women in the Canadian labour force, access our toolkit for employers, “Paving the Way: A Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Guide.”

About Advancing Equity for Women and Girls

Funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), Advancing Equity for Women and Girls supports a feminist response and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 on the employment of immigrant and racialized women in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) by contributing to systemic change to promote women’s economic prosperity and equality.

Contact Us

For any questions regarding the project, contact us:

Read more about our program here: Advancing Equity for Women and Girls – Employment Services

building your personal brand for job search
December 8, 2023

When you think about a brand, you probably think about major companies and their advertising campaigns. However, establishing a brand is no longer just for major organizations. Having a brand is important for anything you want to sell. When dealing with your career, what you are ultimately selling is your own story, experiences and skills. Thus, you should strive to build your own personal brand to help your job search. Here are seven tips for doing this.

Identify Your Brand

Before you set out to build a personal brand, you have to identify what that brand will be. If you act without completing this step, your efforts will likely be haphazard and send the wrong message.

Begin by brainstorming how you want to be perceived in your career. What do you excel in? What skills do you pride yourself most in? What do you most enjoy doing? What personal characteristics do you have that make you stand out? Ask yourself these questions to come up with what you want to be known for.

Understand Your Audience

To build your personal brand, you have to communicate it. In order to communicate it effectively, you have to understand your audience. One of the first questions you should ask is who your audience is. Do you want to reach people in a certain industry? Recruiters? Someone at a specific company?

Once you’ve identified your audience, seek to understand it. What does your audience value? How does your message resonate with that audience? These questions will help you effectively establish and communicate your brand.

Strengthen Your Social Footprint

In today’s world, one of the ways that people establish their personal brand is through social media. Yes, you also communicate your brand through in-person interactions; however, someone’s first interaction with you will likely be virtual.

This is where you should really seek to optimize your LinkedIn profile. Sharing content that reinforces your brand is always a good strategy, as is commenting on the content of others. If you’re a good writer, you can create your own content. Those active on other platforms like Twitter and Facebook, ensure that your content and actions reinforce your brand image.

Tell Stories

Ultimately, the secret to building your brand is storytelling. People are naturally enraptured by stories. They catch our attention and move us in ways that facts, figures, and statements simply don’t.

Building your brand through storytelling can take many forms. It can include sharing your thoughts and experiences. It can also include sharing the stories of others that reinforce your brand, such as people you have helped or organizations you have succeeded with.

Consistency Is Critical

Building your personal brand means that people need to think of your brand when they think of you. The key to accomplishing this is consistency. Everything you do and say should help reinforce your brand. The more someone encounters you and a specific message together, the more likely they will associate the two.

In this sense, it’s incredibly important that your brand aligns with your own personal values. Failing to be consistent will send mixed messages. People will either fail to see your brand or, even worse, think of you as not representing it.

Look at Examples

When trying to establish a personal brand for yourself, it can be helpful to look at examples of people who have succeeded. This is not to say that you will copy others’ examples. After all, your personal brand is unique from theirs. Rather, you can look to these examples for guidance.

Maybe you follow other professionals in your field who have a strong brand. What do they do to reinforce it? You can look at how a particular celebrity or athlete cultivates their brand and get ideas from their efforts.

Help Others Tell Your Story

One of the most influential ways to grow your brand is through the words of others. For example, if you want to be known as a strong data analyst, you have to work hard in your field and produce high-quality work. If people see value in your skills and work ethic, they will tell your story to others.

The best form of PR is word of mouth. It’s free, and people often trust it more. As you begin creating a personal brand for yourself and getting that out into the public sphere, having others tell your story will start to come to fruition. Just ensure that your interactions with others facilitate your brand.

Final Thoughts

Creating a personal brand takes its root in the lessons of marketing. Ultimately, you are marketing yourself to others professionally using a common theme or values. Building a personal brand is a long-term project that you have to work on continually. However, you will see improved rewards over time. Keep at it and this strategy can pay off significantly in furthering your career.

At Achēv, our Employment Ontario Services offers a wide range of resources to support your career and employment needs. Our employment centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Contact us today to register for our free employment services.

Skilled Trades Worker
May 12, 2023

Are you looking for a career in the skilled trades that is both in-demand and rewarding? You’re in luck! There are currently a variety of jobs in the trades that are in high demand, and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. From electricians to welders to machinists, there is an array of opportunities in the skilled trades that can give you the satisfying career you’ve been searching for. Achēv holds regular job fairs, information sessions, and webinars for skilled tradespersons. Contact Achēv today to learn how Achēv can help you land a career in the trade of your choice in Canada.

Read on to learn more about the top 8 in-demand jobs in the skilled trades.

Electricians

Electricians are skilled trades professionals who install, maintain, and repair electrical systems. These systems include wiring, lighting fixtures, circuit boards, and other electrical components in homes and businesses. They also inspect existing systems to ensure they are up to code and locate potential problems. Electricians are in high demand due to the rapidly growing demand for energy in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. In addition, electricians can specialize in various fields, such as security systems, data communications, renewable energy, and lighting. With the increasing complexity of modern electrical systems, electricians must stay abreast of the latest technology and techniques to meet the needs of their clients. As such, electricians can expect to benefit from a strong job market for many years.

HVAC Technicians

HVAC technicians are highly trained professionals who specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. They are in demand because their expertise is necessary to maintain comfort in residential and commercial settings. In addition, with technological advances and the growing popularity of green energy solutions, HVAC technicians need to understand the latest trends to Design and install efficient systems. With the ever-increasing demand for these services, there is an ever-increasing need for skilled HVAC technicians.

Plumbers

A plumber is a skilled trades person responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining a building’s plumbing system, including piping, fixtures, and other components. They also call them upon to install appliances such as dishwashers and water heaters and work on heating and cooling systems. The demand for plumbers is increasing due to the increased construction of new buildings and the need for repairs in older homes and units. As the population grows, so does the need for plumbers to provide necessary services. Additionally, the demand for qualified plumbers has increased due to cities and municipalities introducing more complex water systems, which include water softeners, water treatment systems, and sprinkler systems.

Welders

Welders join, fabricate, and repair metal and other types of weldable material using specialized equipment. Welding is in demand due to its continuous need in many industries, including aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, and construction. Welders must have good eyesight and can interpret blueprints and drawings accurately. Major infrastructure projects are rolling out across Canada, increasing the need for welders.

Due to the prevalence of welding in many sectors, the demand for trained welders is increasing. Additionally, older welding machinery is becoming obsolete due to technological advances, creating a need for more highly-skilled welders. Welders are a skilled trade who play an essential role in the development of renewable energy sources. Many renewable energy sources require specific welding techniques. With the rising popularity of green energy initiatives, the demand for skilled welders will continue to increase.

Pipefitters

Pipefitters are skilled tradespeople who install and maintain piping systems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings. They are responsible for installing and maintaining pipes used to transport a variety of liquids, gases, and other materials. Pipefitters may also be responsible for repairing or replacing faulty pipes. They may also weld and solder pipes and inspect new pipe systems to ensure they are up to code. The demand for pipefitters is rising due to the increasing number of industries that need their services. The growth of energy, water and waste management industries has created a greater need for pipefitters to manage their networks.

Many provinces are introducing regulations requiring more rigorous inspections and maintenance of existing pipelines, creating additional demand for qualified pipefitters. With the growing popularity of renewable energy sources there is an increased demand to help install and maintain these systems. Pipefitters with specialized skills such as welding and brazing can also find additional job opportunities.

Boilermakers

Boilermakers are skilled trades workers specializing in constructing, installing, and maintaining large containers holding liquids or gases. These containers, called boilers, are used in many industries, such as manufacturing, power plants, and oil refineries. Boilermakers must have the technical skills to understand and interpret complex drawings correctly. They also require specialized welding and cutting skills to construct the boilers correctly. Boilermakers are in high demand due to their technical skill set. Industrial sectors are continuing to grow and expand, causing an increased need for skilled boilermakers.

As existing plants and refineries’ infrastructure ages, experienced boilermakers are needed to help maintain and repair existing boilers. As new boiler projects appear and older boiler systems need continued care, the demand for Boilermakers continues to grow.

Machinists

Machinists are skilled professionals who specialize in manufacturing and repairing precision tools and parts using machine tools. Often working from blueprints and CAD (Computer-Aided Design) drawings Machinists fabricate intricate components. These components can include anything from tiny parts for medical equipment to more significant components needed for industrial machinery. The demand for machinists has increased in recent years due to various factors. Automation is a powerful driver in the increased demand for machinists. The machinist role will continue to be critical as the need for human oversight and complexity of created components grow.

Additionally, the aging population of skilled machinists is creating an even greater need for skilled new Machinists. With the rise of new technologies such as 3D printing, demand grows for machinists who use computers to create intricate parts. Furthermore, manufacturers rely more on outsourcing, which has resulted in an increased need for machinists to help meet production demands.

Maintenance Workers

Maintenance workers are essential members of the skilled trades team who specialize in the upkeep of various structures and equipment. These workers keep the daily operations of businesses, homes, and industrial sites running smoothly. Procedures can include maintenance of air conditioners, boilers, heating systems, elevators, electrical wiring, and more. The demand for maintenance workers is rising as people continue to invest in their homes, businesses, and industrial sites. As technology advances and new materials become available, maintenance workers must ensure everything runs properly and efficiently. Maintenance workers are in high demand due to the need for regular upkeep and preventive maintenance of various structures and equipment. Often required for emergency repairs, maintenance workers may work on jobs such as restoring power during an outage or fixing a broken water pipe. With the need for continuous maintenance, many businesses rely on experienced maintenance workers to keep their operations running smoothly.

Achēv’s Employment Services’ career counselors can help you find the career of your dreams in the skilled trades sector. Click here to reach out to an Achēv career counselor today and take the next step in your journey toward a professional tradesperson career in Canada!

You can also click here to learn about the other career, language, women, and newcomer services Achēv offers!

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