Inbox: Joining the ethnic dots

NZIM and the Office of Ethnic Affairs (OEA) are bedding down new joint initiative aimed at helping Kiwi business leaders unlock the potential of our country’s increasingly multinational workforce.
Despite the current war for talent, many mainstream businesses remain disconnected from the widening opportunities to recruit from within our ethnic communities.
NZIM’s GM business development Tait Grindley says, “More often than not, people who are not born in New Zealand but who have come here to make this country their home, have been thrust into an environment where they’re only working within their own circles or communities.
“One of the hardest things for New Zealand businesses to grasp is how much these people have to offer their organisations.
“So we’ve decided to get involved in bringing those two things together.”
NZIM and the OEA signed memorandum of understanding setting out the framework for their partnership on this project at the end of November.
The new joint initiative will focus on three main areas. It aims to enhance leadership capability in New Zealand businesses to better manage ethnic diversity in the workplace. It will promote the benefits of ethnic diversity in the workplace. And it will help international students and potential entrepreneurs to integrate into New Zealand’s business environment.
Grindley says it’s not just about putting the emphasis on the ethnic community. “We’re also trying to empower New Zealand businesses to be proactive in educating themselves about what these people can offer.
“NZIM will deliver leadership and management programmes to help provide vision for organisations to become more diverse and strategies to make that happen.”
On the HR side, for example, NZIM will provide tools for recruitment and selection so the best people are employed based on their merits rather than on their ethnic background.
By 2021 quarter of our workforce is expected to have been born overseas.
The MOU says anecdotal evidence suggests NZ has not sufficiently invested in the development and maximisation of ethnic and migrant commercial activities.
Ben White, acting director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs, says making the most of the advantages that ethnically diverse staff can offer has been shown to benefit companies financially.
“But to unlock these advantages managers and staff often need help to upskill and that’s where this agreement comes in. It will boost training opportunities for the workplace.”
‘Leading ethnic diversity in the workplace’, the first of series of new programmes, will roll out in February next year in Auckland. For more information on the initiative and upcoming programmes: www.nzim.co.nz M

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