3 Effective HR Practices to Include Indigenous Peoples

Looking to make your company more inclusive of Indigenous people? Implement these 3 effective HR practices!

6 minutes

29th of October, 2021 Adecco

To make your company more inclusive of Indigenous people, you need to start with your human resources department. Check out our top 3 HR practices that you can put in place today!

diversity at work

One of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action is to ensure “that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector” and to train “management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples” and “intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.”

In our workplaces, how do we take up this call to action? How do we establish inclusive human resources policies and practices that support the recruitment and retention of Indigenous talent?

Is your business building a more inclusive and diverse work environment? Are you following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action to ensure “that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector” and that managers and workers are trained regarding “the history of Aboriginal peoples” and “intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.”?

In this article, we’ll walk you through 3 effective human resources practices that you can start implementing today to help make your company more inclusive of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

What is an inclusive HR strategy?

What is an inclusive workplace and why this is so important in 2021? Inclusion can be defined as a company-wide culture that encourages and invites Indigenous people to participate in all areas of an organization’s operations. All levels of the company are welcoming of Indigenous candidates and employees and take their experiences and worldview into account as part of a broader appreciation of diverse ways of thinking and living. A truly inclusive approach to inclusion also prioritizes access to training and education for all employees, including Indigenous people.

A proper inclusion strategy holds a lot of value, not only for society as a whole, but also for your business. Inclusivity policies can lead to a range of benefits like greater innovation, access to a wider talent pool, improved employee retention, and it may even increase your company’s revenue!

Plus, the Local Employment Planning Council emphasizes that Indigenous inclusivity can contribute to a reputation as an employer of choice and help establish your company as a mature and desirable business for partnership prospects.

The LEPC also outlines several blueprints that you can put to work at your company depending on the needs of your employees and your long-term business goals. These blueprints are effective because they offer standardized and proven methods that will help you celebrate Indigenous culture, promote education within your organization, combat racism, establish transparent policies and cultivate an inclusive culture in a short amount of time.

1. Include land acknowledgements in your business practices

Land acknowledgements are a way of recognizing the historical and traditional meaning of a place in the context of First Nations, Métis or Inuit cultures. They are a display of respect towards Indigenous culture and serve as a clear indicator of the importance you place on including Indigenous people and their history as a part of your organization.

This historical recognition can be done in a variety of ways. For example, during company events, you might begin by verbally acknowledging the history of the land you’re meeting on and recognize the First Nations communities that have lived there. You might print land acknowledgements in published company materials or include them on your website or in your company email signatures.

Talking to your Indigenous employees is also a great way to find out what types of land acknowledgments would work best for your company and its employees.

2. Implement a culturally sensitive interviewing process

The interview process is often where Indigenous candidates first face discrimination in the world of work. Many traditional interview evaluation criteria penalize Indigenous cultural differences. For example, IndigenousWorks states that “soft-spoken words carry farthest” in Aboriginal culture. In a traditional interview, a soft-spoken candidate may be written off as shy or lacking confidence.

Interviewers should be trained to understand the culture, experiences, and possible disadvantages their candidates face when applying for a job at your company. Hiring managers should be taught to assess people based on individual merit, hard and soft skills, and the benefits they’ll bring to a position. Coupling this knowledge with the ability to understand how Indigenous candidates may be more likely to have inconsistent work experience, a lack of formal training, and being located outside of major urban-economic hubs will help managers and recruiters process resumes in a more accurate and less biased way.

By making sure your recruiters are well trained and know how to carry out culturally sensitive interviews, you’ll be creating a much more inclusive organization from the first point of contact.

Your company can make its recruitment efforts more inclusive and fairer by developing a standardized process that evaluates incoming resumes, skill tests, and interview results in a way that considers Indigenous perspectives. IndigenousWorks provides a list of points for you to include in your recruitment guidelines to give Indigenous candidates an unbiased assessment.

3. Invest in company-wide cultural sensitivity training

Cultural sensitivity training is one of the most impactful investments you can make to guarantee your workplace is inclusive of Indigenous workers and candidates. Cultural workshops and training will give your employees the chance to learn about true and deeper Indigenous culture and history while providing them with the tools to make their Indigenous co-workers feel welcome in a respectful working environment.

By including leadership in your cultural training efforts, you’ll be able to transform your company’s culture of inclusion with a powerful top-down approach as well as make it easier for managers and C-suite executives to make adjustments to the organization’s daily operations where needed.

Now that you know how to make your organization more inclusive of Indigenous employees and candidates, it’s time to take action! Your company plays an essential role in the reconciliation process, and your workforce will benefit massively from these inclusion strategies in the workplace. For more insights into the latest trends from the world of work, check out our other blog posts!