Employer Engagement Toolkit

Overview

Career Mentorship bridges newcomer talent to Canadian employers through a mentoring relationship. Newcomers benefit to orient their career transition to Canada. Mentors and Employers benefit by better understanding what newcomer talent brings to the Canadian workplace.

This toolkit is for organizations offering career mentoring programs to newcomers, in a service agency or within a business or industry organization. This toolkit is based on research on employer engagement and mentorship programs to support best practices in engaging employers to participate in career mentorship.

The toolkit will support you to strategically review and plan your organization’s employer engagement strategies toward the desired outcomes for your mentoring program. This toolkit is organized in modules so you can select the topic most relevant to you and your organization’s needs. For first-time users, we do recommend that you review the Roadmap for Employer Engagement for Mentoring prior to using the rest of the toolkit.

For organizations who are interested in a strategic review of their current mentoring practices, we suggest that you use the Audit tool. This self-reflective tool will help you identify strengths in your current mentoring program and potential places to grow your employer engagement strategies.

Roadmap for Employer Engagement

A successful career mentoring program follows a program life cycle from needs assessment to evaluating success. It is helpful to design your employer engagement pipeline in a similar way. Looking at your employer engagement strategies systematically can help you be purposeful to attract mentors and keep them connected to your program longer.

The roadmap outlines both the mentoring program lifecycle and the employer/mentor pipeline.

1. Prepare to Contact Employers

Who You Want to Contact?

  1. Who are the key employers, business, and professional organizations in your community?
  2. Where are the hubs where employers and business organizations gather?
  3. What are the workforce and talent sourcing issues for local businesses?
  4. Who are the contacts you want to connect with in these organizations?

Use your network and who you know to find answers to these questions. This research can be a way to spread news about your mentoring program.

Write a message for this audience on the benefits of mentoring. If possible, share your message with one or two contacts in your employer audience and ask for feedback on how well you are aligning the benefits of mentoring with employer needs and pain points. You can convene an employer roundtable to listen to challenges facing local employers and brainstorm ways that mentoring can help address these challenges.

2. Raise Your Presence

Look for ways to raise your presence at business, industry, and community events, including hosting your own events. Be prepared with clear, brief messaging of how mentoring can create benefits for employers, business/industry/professional organizations and for individuals. Building presence is an ongoing activity. For each engagement, ask your event convener who else you should talk to about promoting mentoring.

3. Recruit Mentors

Be ready to recruit mentors with clear, concrete information on what a mentor will be asked to do and how a mentor will be supported. Make the onboarding process easy with clear steps. Be polite, persistent, and patient when communicating with potential mentors. Recruit to fill a warm roster of potential mentors as well as finding specific matches for your mentees.

4. Retain Mentors

Support your mentors so they feel listened to, supported, and valued. Find ways to offer value and connect with all the people on your mentoring roster. Commit to collecting feedback to refine the mentor’s experience. Celebrate publicly your mentors and mentees success.

5. Build Partnerships

When appropriate, develop partnership agreements with employers and business organizations to ensure alignment of mentoring participation with professional development or other professional reward processes. This strategy is often one that can be helpful when you are looking to scale up participation or support from an organization.

Audit Tool

The Audit Tool is a tool designed to help you assess your mentoring program. Use this interactive survey to pinpoint areas of strength and potential improvement. You will receive a report with actionable insights for future development.

Preparing for Engagement

To maximize the impact of your employer engagement activities, it’s essential to establish processes and tools for planning, contact management, and feedback. Use a systematic approach to track contact points for volunteer mentors or employer contacts. In larger organizations, you may need to collaborate across programs and services to monitor contacts effectively. This approach typically includes:

Listing Employers/Contacts: A list of employers or individuals you engage with, including the contact date and details.

Recording Details: Note details or commitments made during the contact.

Identifying Next Steps: Define clear next steps, such as follow-up communication dates, invitations for upcoming events, or other relevant actions to maintain and strengthen the connection.

Industry-Specific Engagement: You may want to create profiles for specific industries. This approach helps in gaining a deeper understanding of workforce needs and emerging trends within specific sectors. Subscribe to industry-specific newsletters for valuable updates on industry events, to stay informed about trends, trade shows, or conferences that offer opportunities to promote your mentoring program.

Employer Engagement Strategies for Volunteer Mentors

This section offers you options to recruit and retain mentors.

Promote Program to Professional, Business & Industry Associations

Purpose:

Professional associations are key stakeholders for regulated professions. Ongoing promotion can help inform these associations about career mentoring and the issues newcomers face transitioning their career to Canada.

Strategy:

Ongoing promotion including emails, invitations to events, profiling mentors and mentees from the profession/industry, presentations.

Resources:

  1. Sample email template to recruit mentors
  2. Sample email invitation to networking event
  3. Sample posters, fliers, FAQs and presentation slides to recruit mentors
  4. Video: Top 6 Reasons to Become a Mentor 
  5. Video: CCIS Mentorship for Integration program

Hosting (or Guesting) at Workforce Conference or Event

Purpose:

Convening or participating at local workforce events helps raise awareness of your career mentoring program. Participating as a thought-leader on panel discussions raises both the awareness of mentoring and your credibility. You want to build your organization’s profile as a serious participant in workforce development in your community.

Strategy:

To guest: Approach local organizers to present on career mentoring.
To host: Partner with event organizers to sponsor and host a workforce event. Hosting events raises the perception of your organization’s influence related to newcomer talent for business and industry stakeholders.

Resources:

  1. Speaker Sheet Template
  2. List of conference, events related to workforce development, talent pool and labour market

Cross-Program Collaboration

Purpose:

You may recruit mentors from other programs or program alumni in your organization. This pool of people know and like your organization so may be interested in becoming mentors.

Strategy:

Create ongoing opportunities to invite current or past participants to become mentors. This could include adding reminders in other program events and working with program managers to refer potential mentors to your program.

Resources:

  1. Email Template to recruit mentors from other programs

Invite Immigrant Led Employers

Purpose:

Established immigrants are an audience that are often thrilled and fulfilled by an opportunity to give back to their community.

Strategy:

Invite and showcase immigrant led employers as a form of free promotion for their personal success, their business, and their contribution as a mentor.

Resources:

  1. Invite Immigrant Led Employers

Publicly Thank Mentors

Purpose:

The more people see that mentoring is celebrated, the more they are interested in being part of a mentoring program.

Strategy:

Find opportunities to publicly thank mentors. People who value contributing feel valued when their contribution and the impact they make is shared. Organizations who publicly thank mentors are viewed as attractive places to volunteer.

Resources:

  1. List of Mentor and Mentee Profiles

Social Media Promotion

Purpose:

Promotion on social media channels used by employers increase top-of-mind awareness for career mentoring and the business benefits for participation.

Strategy:

Profiling mentors with a call to action to become a mentor can attract professionals interested in becoming mentors.

Resources:

  1. Sample social media posts

Employer Engagement Strategies to Build Partnerships

This section offers you options to build and strengthen partnerships with employers.

Partnership Agreements

Purpose:

Mentoring Program Partnership agreements create a formal foundation for mentor recruitment. This strategy may consolidate multiple points of connection with an employer to formalize how you will work together. (e.g. with a larger employer with more than one department participating in your programs). An agreement to acknowledge mentoring for professional development credits can increase the desirability for potential mentors.

Strategy:

Developing a formal written agreement with a business or stakeholder organization outlining specific activities, roles and timelines agreed upon between your organizations.

Resources:

  1. Sample partnership agreement.

Business Organization acknowledgements and awards

Purpose:

Hosting awards targeting business organizations as leaders in the community on inclusive workplaces is a way to draw positive attention to mentoring participation. Awards and public acknowledgement raise employer profiles as inclusive workplaces.

Strategy:

Creating awards and/or publicly acknowledging the support of business organizations for your mentoring program.

Resources:

  1. List of Mentoring Awards

Add Employers to Your Board of Directors

Purpose:

Adding local employers to your organization’s board can create champions for your organization within their organization and the business community.

Strategy:

Recruit representatives from key stakeholders in your local business community to become board members.

Resources:

  1. List of organizations with business representation on board.
  2. Profile of Business Board Directors

Organize events for your business audience

Purpose:

Organize events around topics of interest to your employer audience. Networking events also give your audience a taste of engagement that can make them more willing to make a commitment to mentoring

Strategy:

Hosting events with topics and networking that interests and attracts your target business audience creates a perception of your organization as a source of valuable information and connections.

Resources:

  1. List of Sample Topics for Business Audiences

Ask Businesses About Workforce Needs

Purpose:

Collecting current information about an employer’s workforce needs can help develop a stronger relationship and position mentoring (and other programs) as solutions to workforce challenges.

Strategy:

Hosting events like a business breakfast to ask business leaders about their workforce needs, issues and pain points.

Resources:

  1. Sample Employer Roundtable questions

Partner with Local Hub Organizations

Purpose:

Creating partnerships with hub organizations for employers can improve the visibility of your mentoring program and help you keep in touch with employers in your area. (e.g., Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development)

Strategy:

Become a member, subscribe to their newsletter, connect to discuss potential presentations, workshops, or participation at events hosted by the organization.

Create Networks to Bridge Between Cultural Communities, Employers, and Service Providers

Purpose:

In communities or rural regions that do not have enough need to support ongoing mentoring programs, creating networks between cultural communities and employers can help flag emerging needs for support.

Strategy:

Your organization can provide value by stewarding a network between cultural groups, employers, and service providers. You can use this network to identify needs from cultural communities or within companies for just-in-time mentoring supports.

Resources:

  1. Rural Manitoba Case Study

Providing Third Party Mentoring

Purpose:

Employers may want to develop internal career mentoring programs. Providing consulting services to create organization-specific mentoring cohorts or a customized mentoring program is another way to partner with employers.

Strategy:

Create a partnership agreement with employers to create a mentoring program within their business. This can be a short term, set up consulting partnership or an ongoing program coordination role.

Resources:

  1. Organizational mentorship template

Employer Engagement Strategies to Leverage Mentors

This section offers you options to acknowledge your mentors.

Volunteer Mentor Acknowledgements and Awards

Purpose:

Tangible acknowledgement or awards can add to your mentors’ professional development portfolio.

Strategy:

Provide acknowledgements like letters outlining skills and abilities addressed while mentoring and awards to celebrate mentors.

Resources:

  1. Sample Letter of Completion
  2. List of mentoring awards for volunteer mentors

Knowledge and Skill Building Workshops

Purpose:

Provide workshops for mentors as a free professional learning opportunity. You can provide certificates of completion to help mentors gain credit for professional continuing education.

Strategy:

Ask mentors for feedback on topics of interest. Offer workshops or a short series of workshops that lead to a certificate of completion. Consider offering workshops online, inviting local experts to present or partnering with local training providers to develop a training program.

Resources:

  1. List of sample workshop topics for mentors

Ambassador Program

Purpose:

Leverage mentors who are passionate volunteers by giving them an opportunity to do more for your mentoring program. This could include asking mentors to take on roles at events (e.g., table captains, panel speakers) or to participate in the creation of program promotional videos or other kinds of promotional assets.

Strategy:

Start an ambassador program to ask mentors who are experienced and passionate about mentoring to act as spokespeople for mentoring at events in their organization.

Strategy:

  1. Sample Ambassador Program Plan

Mentoring with Other Career Building Strategies

This section provides you with resources to help you integrate mentoring with other career building strategies like internships or work placements.

Internship/Work Placement

Purpose: Mentoring can be embedded within an internship or work placement program to support mentees within their work environment. This combination can create a rich, practical environment to learn to succeed within that field. This option may be attractive to employers looking to try out newcomer talent by bringing the benefits of mentoring into the term position.

Strategy: Embed a mentoring component into internships, work placements or other career building programming.

Resources:

  1. Email Template to Recruiting Mentors
  2. Sample Email Invitation to Networking Event

Evaluating Employer Engagement

This section provides resources to help you set up an evaluation of the employer engagement strategies you use to support the success of your mentoring program.

Evaluating Employer Engagement

Purpose: Collect information from the employers you engage with for your mentoring program helps you monitor what works for them, what doesn’t work and their ongoing needs.

Strategy: Evaluation can include surveys, focus groups or roundtable discussions. With employers, it is more strategic to embed the collection of information within events that they are attending, such as business breakfasts, workshops, or networking events.

Resources:

  1. Sample Evaluation Questions

Acknowledgments

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada/ / Ce projet est financé en partie par le gouvernement du Canada

Questions? Contact Us

Ready to unlock successful employer relationships for your mentoring program? Explore our Employer Engagement Toolkit designed to build and strengthen collaborative connections. Need more insights? We’re just a click away. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to speak with someone to learn more.

Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council
#900, 105 – 12th Avenue SE Calgary, AB T2G 1A1
(587) 894-7583

mentorship@criec.ca

Stay connected

Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on upcoming events, mentor and mentee highlights, community connections and much more.