Professional services firm Accenture won a TRIEC Mentoring Partnership Award on February 26 for providing mentors to over 100 newcomers to Canada. The program’s Coordinator, Eric Madan, explains why mentoring is so important for a business that exists to solve complex problems.
- Why did Accenture decide to become an employer partner in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership?
Accenture is deeply committed to its corporate citizenship program; to helping community groups and giving back. We only succeed if everyone succeeds! TRIEC offered us a way to support immigrants to integrate into the Canadian workforce. As Accenture regularly hires Canadian immigrants, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
- What do Accenture’s employees gain from being mentors?
The most important thing that our mentors gain is a different perspective on all the challenges you can face in our line of work. When you’re working with someone from a different country, it broadens your experience. For me personally, it was a very fulfilling relationship because it helps in developing leadership ability and emotional intelligence. You get to work with people from all sorts of different backgrounds to solve different kinds of problems.
- Do you think mentoring is an effective way of helping newcomers find their first job in Canada?
I definitely think so. I’m an immigrant myself, plus my mom took part in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership as a mentor and mentee, and I know it helped her out a lot. Immigrants coming to Canada have a lot of experience. They just need support to understand how the job market works. Mentoring is a great way to help with this.
- What value do you think highly skilled immigrant employees bring to Accenture’s business?
One of the main things immigrants bring is a diversity of perspectives. We’re generally hired by clients to solve complex problems. It’s always good to have inclusion and diversity in your team, because when you have different perspectives it leads to better solutions. Having people who are immigrants on your team really helps with that.
- The theme of this year’s event is the Future of Mentoring. How do you think mentoring has changed since you became a partner, and how will it change in future?
Mentoring is definitely evolving but how it’s evolving varies from person to person. This is because mentoring is very personal – you are building a one-on-one relationship with someone, so everyone takes a slightly different approach.
As technology is becoming more and more part of our lives it makes it easier to connect. For example, I work on a lot of travelling projects, so I’m away a lot, but technology helps me keep in touch with my mentee and give that advice at that critical moment.
Organizations are also evolving and seeing more value in mentoring. Inclusion and diversity is becoming more ingrained in workplaces, and more employers are recognizing the benefits. At Accenture we have a huge inclusion and diversity program across Canada. A lot of that is about tapping into the value that Canadian immigrants bring.
- What advice would you give to employer partners who are striving reaching their first 100 matches?
What’s important for any organization is that you’ve got to have some buy-in from senior leadership. Participation only happens when you have made the program part of your organizational culture, not something you do on the side.
Accenture has made a huge push in terms of inclusion and diversity – it’s part of everything we do. Getting that buy-in is important to make sure employees participate.
- What are Accenture’s plans for getting to your next 100 matches?
Scale what we are doing right now! Our mentors and the organization overall are seeing the value of the program. Recruiting more mentors can be challenging when people are deployed in projects across North America, but technology can help find more ways of connecting people and getting the message across.
We’re also talking to our inclusion and diversity and corporate citizenship teams about the program because they want to be involved and showcase the great work that we are doing. We’re also promoting the program to different areas of leadership so that they too can bring their teams on board.