As a professional services firm with clients around the world, Deloitte understands the value of an internationally experienced workforce that can serve its diverse clientele. On top of wide-reaching recruitment strategies, the firm has formalized integration practices to better support skilled immigrant hires, their team and management. And it all starts with onboarding.

On their first day, new hires are introduced to a “buddy,” an initiative the firm sees as an opportunity for cross-cultural training for both participants. “The relationship I have with my buddy was open and friendly right from the start,” says Saleha Shafiq, Senior Associate at Deloitte, originally from Pakistan. “I know that I got up to speed so quickly because of our frank conversations about Deloitte and Canadian workplace etiquette.”

More formal meetings with a performance management coach identify development opportunities, including support for those pursuing their CA or other designation, and English and French language training, which increases confidence as well as skill sets. An interactive workshop helps immigrant hires understand local culture and practice.

In Toronto, 800-900 people are recruited annually from diverse channels including community agencies such as JVS. “We strive to be an ‘inclusive meritocracy’ – we bring people in based on merit, being as inclusive as possible,” notes Yezdi Pavri, Vice Chairman at Deloitte and also a TRIEC Board Member. “We have a solid business case for diversity, with a focus on helping individuals, including skilled immigrants, reach their highest potential. It’s good for them, and it’s good for the firm.”

The goal: to embed cultural awareness and diversity into Deloitte’s DNA. Five years ago, the company assembled 45 top executives to create its first national diversity council and then appointed its first Chief Diversity Officer to push the inclusion agenda forward. The firm has also established local talent and diversity councils in 15 cities, and the Chief Diversity Officer maintains a diversity blog to encourage ongoing dialogue.

Beginning this year, the firm is rolling out diversity training for all employees. As part of the performance management program, staff are asked to report on what they do to promote diversity in the firm, which helps the organization measure against its own goals as well as individual progression. Over 200 staff are already building cross-cultural skills as they mentor skilled immigrants through TRIEC’s Mentoring Partnership.


Deloitte won 2010 IS Awards Winner, Toronto Star Award for Excellence in Workplace Integration.