RMCS Dialogue

RMCS Dialogue

August 09, 2013 By Janko Predovic

Last night I attended the Richmond Multicultural Community Services (RMCS) Business Dialogue Evening, held at Richmond City Hall.

This was a “dinner and dialogue event” designed to address issues of diversity in business, the value that diversity can bring to one’s business, and some of the challenges that come with training team members and serving clientele who belong to minority or immigrant groups. This is of particular relevance to Richmond which is a “majority of minorities” city – that is, most of the population of Richmond belongs to a minority group, visible or otherwise. Further, Richmond has the highest proportion of foreign-born population among all of Canada’s municipalities!

Guest Speakers included Erin Robinson (Impact and Innovation Consultant at VanCity) and Rory Barrow (Branch Manager at Royal Bank of Canada). Both speakers discussed some of the ways their respective organizations had diversified their workforce and addressed the needs of minority and immigrant clients over the last several years.

Several questions were asked of attendees concerning hurdles faced in employing minorities and immigrants, or serving minority clients and immigrant clients: it was asked how attendees train staff in issues of diversity, how their businesses have approached minority communities which are not using or consuming products or services to discover why they are not doing so, and how attendees confront team members who may be prejudiced or predisposed to exclude particular minority or immigrant classes.

It was ultimately felt that skilled immigrants provide a competitive advantage to companies; the buying power of ethnic minorities has increased and skilled immigrant employees inform companies about the needs of immigrant customers. Moreover, skilled immigrants are typically bilingual, sometimes multilingual, act as cultural bridges for communication and have a higher retention rate.

A culturally diverse workforce improves the bottom line, work teams, and the quality of the workplace. Employing people from different parts of the world improves the team’s diversity of thought and experience, and adds to the overall creativity and ultimate strength of the organization.

RMCS will be holding additional events in the future. For more information, contact Taushif Kara at Richmond Multicultural Community Services (RMCS).

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