1st Edition

Recruiting, Retaining and Promoting Culturally Different Employees

ISBN 9780750682404
Published August 15, 2011 by Routledge
318 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

The USA and Canada welcomes every year significant numbers of immigrant professionals who have high levels of formal education (Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D.) as well as extensive experience; yet a significant fraction of these immigrants are unemployed or underemployed. The purpose of this book is to help US and Canadian organizations make full use of the significant human capital that immigrants represent. This book will help organizations:

• Modify their recruitment and selection process to avoid rejecting culturally different candidates for reasons that are not related to their ability to do the job
• Develop and promote culturally diverse employees to ensure that they retain and capitalize on the new ideas that these employees bring

Highly- practical the book is divided into two parts:-

• The first part focuses on the recruiting process. It takes readers through the recruiting process used by most organizations and examines why cultural differences can throw this process off . The discussion is framed by an introduction explaining what cultural differences are and a description of cross-cultural communication issues and suggested solutions.
• The second part examines the retention and promotion of culturally different employees. The turnover of culturally different people is often higher than average and they are proportionately less represented in the higher echelons of large organizations. The work examines the root causes of these issues and proposes solutions that individuals and organizations can implement.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Recruiting from a culturally diverse talent pool
Chapter 1
Introduction: What are cultural differences?
Key points to be made in this chapter:

„X People attempt to achieve the same objectives in different ways depending on their cultural backgrounds.
„X In most cases, immigrants were successful in their home countries, so they attempt to apply the same approaches in North America as they would use back home. When they come from countries that are very different from the USA and Canada, this does not yield the desired results.
„X Cultural differences can be described as an iceberg. In most cases, people notice visible differences in dress code, food, etc. As they work more frequently with culturally different people, Canadians and Americans start to notice differences in the sense of hierarchy, male-female relationships, communication styles, etc. Few notice differences in teamwork approaches.
„X The recruiting process is particularly prone to cross-cultural misunderstanding because it involves interactions between people who have never met before and who therefore rely on their cultural programming to interpret the other¡¦s behaviour. Recruiters identify best candidates based on their responses to specific questions or their behaviours in specific situations. Candidates try to demonstrate that they are the best for the job by displaying the behaviours or saying the words that they anticipate to be expected by recruiters. Unfortunately, when candidates and recruiters come from different cultural backgrounds, they use different grids of interpretation of behaviours and words; as a result, recruiters misinterpret the actions and words of culturally-different candidates and reject them for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job.
„X Awareness is 50% of the solution: Readers are encouraged to suspend judgement and to try and interpret the meaning of candidates¡¦ behaviours and words from the candidates¡¦ perspectives.

Chapter 2
Screening resumes
Key points to be covered in this chapter:
Issues commonly encountered when screening piles of resumes
„X Keyword screening
„X Website access
„X ¡§Jack of all trades, master of none¡¨
„X Resume sent to the wrong organization
„X Candidates who have ¡§jumped around¡¨
„X Assessing correctly their level of qualification:
¡V Over-qualified
¡V Under-qualified
¡V Average
„X Inappropriate cover letters
„X Resume sent to the wrong person
Action steps that organizations can take to solve these issues:
„X Explain in extensive details, using many examples, the recruiting process used in your organization.
„X Look for transferable skills and experience
„X Don¡¦t reject resumes because they only describe responsibilities
„X Focus on progression in the U.S. or Canada, not on the level at which they are right now
„X Select culturally different candidates who are slightly over-qualified
„X Overlook frequent changes of positions after and immediately before the time they immigrated
„X Look for evaluation of academic credentials by World Education Services, universities, etc.
„X Creating clear and specific position descriptions by identifying, listing and clearly differentiating ¡§must have¡¨ and ¡§nice to have¡¨ skills
„X Check for bona fide requirements (skills and physical abilities)
„X Check for actual communication skill requirements of the job

Chapter 3
Screening candidates
Key points to be covered in this chapter:
„X Telephone screening interviews
„X Face-to-face interviews
¡V Different verbal / non-verbal communication styles
¡V Excessive deference (hierarchy)
¡V No or downplayed accomplishment
¡V No personal accomplishment
¡V Emphasis on points of limited importance
¡V Sense of time
¡V Lack of knowledge of American / Canadian system (laws, regulations, rules, etc.)
Action steps that organizations can take to solve these issues:
„X Avoid rejecting ESL candidates based on telephone interviews
„X Include HR / diverse people in recruiting team
„X Look past communication style differences
„X Focus on transferable skills
„X Create situations that test candidates in real-life conditions
„X Hire diverse candidates who need to learn more about the American / Canadian system at the low end of the pay scale and put them in developmental positions with managers who know how to handle such situations
„X Use short-term contracts to test candidates
„X Use internships and/or volunteer/shadow positions to build candidates
„X Determine upfront specific candidate-ranking criteria
„X Use behavioral interview style
„X Email questions to candidates 48 hours before interview and ask them to respond in writing by email
„X Describe recruiting process on organization¡¦s website, including sample interview questions

Chapter 4
Probation period
Key points to be covered in this chapter:
„X Lack of initiative
„X Poor working relationships with their direct manager
„X Aggressive work style
„X Different approaches to problem solving and to decision making
„X Involvement in areas unrelated to their role and responsibilities

Action steps that organizations can take to solve these issues:
„X Provide extensive orientation to culturally diverse new hires ¡V 1 day is often insufficient
„X Provide coaching and/or mentoring to culturally diverse new hires
„X Prepare and support the managers of culturally diverse new hires
„X Schedule monthly meeting to discuss cultural integration within organization

Chapter 5
Job search advice for immigrants and non-profit organizations that help them find employment in Canada and the U.S.
Key points to be covered in this chapter

„X Immigrants need to learn a new set of unwritten rules in order to get a job that makes use of their expertise and experience
„X They need to learn to think of themselves as specialists rather than generalists and to organize their job search accordingly.
„X They need to learn how to create a resume that conveys concisely and accurately their experience, skills and competencies to recruiters and line managers.
„X They need to learn how to network effectively.
„X They need to learn how to handle interviews the American / Canadian way. In particular, they need to learn to describe the projects they worked and their individual accomplishments the way Canadians or Americans would.
This chapter will provide:

„X Specific tips on how to do this by oneself (for immigrants) or to help immigrants do it (for employees of non-profit organizations).
„X Tools and approaches to make the job searches of immigrants more effective.

Chapter 6
Cross-cultural communication issues
Key points to be covered in this chapter:
Cross-cultural communication issues may arise from a wide range of non-verbal and verbal communication style differences.
„X Non-verbal communication style differences
¡V Space
¡V Gestures
¡V Body language
¡V Tone of voice / emotions
¡V Humor
¡V Dress code
„X Verbal communication style differences
¡V English as a Second Language
¡V Silence
¡V Underlying language assumptions
¡V Background noise
¡V Speaking face-to-face versus side-by-side
¡V Accents
¡V Acronyms / abbreviations
¡V Context / direct versus indirect
¡V Different versions of English
¡V Sports English
¡V Connotations
¡V ¡§Yes¡¨
¡V ¡§Tomorrow¡¨
¡V Chit-chat
¡V ¡§The medium is the message¡¨

Action steps:
„X There are many action steps that can be taken both individually and collectively; these will be examined here in details.
¡V Steps that individual employees and managers can take to communicate more effectively with others
¡V Steps that organizations can take to improve cross-cultural communication within the organization and with the outside.
„X One important point is that effective cross-cultural communication comes from doing a lot of little things well.

Part 2: Retaining and promoting culturally different employees
Chapter 7
Introduction: Retention and promotion issues resulting from cultural differences
Key points to be made in this chapter:

„X Many of the points made in the introduction of the first book continue to apply after culturally different people have been hired. In particular, most immigrants want to move up in organizations and they attempt to do so by working hard the way they would have worked back home. This approach does not always yield the desired results because of cultural differences.
„X Failures to retain culturally different employees has a negative impact on organizations for several reasons:
¡V They miss their Affirmative Action targets or fail to make progress on their Employment Equity numbers
¡V Culturally different employees who leave because they feel that their skills are not fully used eventually leave, taking their skills away to a competitor or they end up creating competing organizations
Chapter 8
Manager-employee relationships
Key points to be made in this chapter:
„X Getting along and understanding what your manager wants from you are critical to the success of any employee. When an employee comes from a cultural background that is different from his or her manager, employee and manager may have completely different ideas of what being a good employee and being a good manager mean. As a result, they may work very poorly together, even though each is convinced that he or she is doing a great job. Unfortunately, they are using different yardsticks to measure their performances because they have different senses of hierarchy.
„X Differences in hierarchy have a major impact on the following:
¡V Titles and protocol
¡V Compensation
¡V Making decisions
¡V Delegation of tasks and responsibilities
¡V Promotion process
¡V Performance evaluation
„X Giving and receiving feedback is an integral part of progress in an organization. When we give feedback to people who come from different cultural backgrounds, the message may be received in a completely different way than it was meant.
Action steps:
„X At the individual level:
¡V Discuss with your manager / employees who should make what decisions
¡V Determine whether your manager employees are more or less hierarchical than you are and adapt to their style
¡V Adapt your feedback style to their sensitivity
„X At the organizational level:
¡V Train managers to manage culturally different reports
¡V Train employees
¡V Provide coaching and/or mentoring
¡V Adapt high potential programs
Chapter 9
Key points to be made in this chapter:
„X Being a good team player is essential to the success of individual employees. People coming from different cultural backgrounds have different ideas of what being a good team player means and their definitions may be incompatible because they have a different sense of individualism.
„X Differences in individualism have a major impact on the following:
¡V Office lay-out
¡V Vacations
¡V Teamwork
¡V Decision-making
¡V Compensation
¡V Promotion process
„X Risk tolerance varies significantly from one culture to the next. In the workplace, risk tolerance translates into how much information people need to make a decision and be comfortable that they are making the right decision. When members of a team have different levels of risk tolerance, teams can easily and quickly fall apart.
„X Difference in risk tolerance have a major impact on the following:
¡V Problem-solving
¡V Presentations
¡V Decision-making
¡V Career planning
¡V Compensation
¡V Project planning
Action steps:
„X At the individual level
„X At the organizational level
Chapter 10
Promotion process
Key points to be covered in this chapter:
„X Hierarchical versus non-hierarchical promotion process
„X Collective versus individualistic promotion process
„X Glass ceiling
Action steps:
„X Helping culturally different employees move up through:
¡V High potential programs
¡V Special / developmental assignments
¡V Mentorship
¡V Internal / external coaching
„X Changing the organizational culture through:
¡V Training
¡V Recruiting (internships, shadow positions, etc.)
¡V Supporting the managers of culturally diverse employees through training, mentorship, coaching, and foreign assignments
Chapter 11
Conclusion: Benefits of cultural diversity
Key points to be covered in this chapter:
„X Cultural differences are a source of both challenges and opportunities. In most cases, the challenges come first, the opportunities later, when culturally diverse people have learned to work together effectively.
„X Creating a corporate culture where cultural diversity is valued can be a significant competitive advantage, because it is very difficult to duplicate.
„X Culturally diverse people create synergies and innovate by approaching the same problem from very different angles and by bringing different experiences to the solution.
„X Culturally diverse organizations can expand into cultural / ethnic / foreign markets

Demographics of immigrants in the USA and Canada.

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