Middle managers important in creating immigrant-inclusive teams in the workplace, finds report

A new report published by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) finds that one group that makes or breaks efforts to build immigrant-inclusive teams in the workplace is middle managers.

This report finds that while workplace inclusion starts with executive leadership, it is the everyday choices and actions of middle managers that pave the way for immigrant professionals to reach their full potential. This group has significant influence over what happens after an immigrant is hired, whether they feel part of their team, offering the feedback they need to grow, and ultimately the extent to which they progress in the organization.

“Middle managers are an interesting group to look at – while organizational change needs leadership from the top, they are not without power,” said Adwoa K. Buahene, CEO of TRIEC. “The beauty of this report is that it draws on the lived experience of people who understand all sides of this story – middle managers who are also immigrants, as well as experts in diversity and inclusion.”

Findings from the report include:

–  Not enough workplaces measure how they are faring in terms of hiring, retaining or promoting immigrant professionals.

– Diversity and inclusion trainings are not enough. Immigrant inclusion efforts by middle management have a greater chance of success if tied to organizational goals.

– Conscious and unconscious bias creates systemic barriers that prevent immigrants from achieving their full potential in the workplace.  Preconceived ideas about international education, perceived lack of soft skills, and different accents still affect immigrants’ ability to progress.

The report, Make or Break: How middle managers and executives can build immigrant-inclusive teams, shares practical actions that management can take to positively form and lead immigrant-inclusive teams, and how executives can support them.

The full report is available here.