Like any cultural group, Indigenous people offer unique attributes that contribute in important ways to business performance. Some companies cite that Indigenous people bring unique decision-making processes to their workplace, along with their traditional knowledge of lands and environmental stewardship, and other characteristics that make their contribution to workplaces especially valuable.

The theme of diversity guides many larger companies in their recruitment strategies, seeking to develop a workforce with many different skill sets and perspectives. A diverse workforce offers companies a competitive edge and a more attractive workplace environment that invites new ideas and innovations. Companies that know how to harness the power of diversity by capitalizing on their Indigenous human capital assets tend to be very successful.

The same basic observation may be made about Indigenous businesses that represent a unique segment in Canada’s business community. As one of the fastest growing segments of small business in Canada, Indigenous businesses are developing niche offerings in both goods and services in a wide variety of sectors. Indigenous businesses will continue to grow so many larger mainstream companies are making efforts to insert Indigenous businesses into their supply chain as part of an overarching strategy to build their networks and stakeholder relationships.

Companies see in Indigenous people important niche markets for their products and services. As Indigenous people become increasingly prosperous they become increasingly attractive as a customer base for a wide range of goods and services – a unique marketing opportunity for many companies worth millions of dollars each year.

Over the last two decades, many companies have learned to regard the diversity of employees, within all areas of the workplace, as one of their greatest assets. These companies have fine-tuned their recruitment methods to seek out diversity, and they have adapted policies around training and advancing employees in order to achieve workplace diversity. To this end, these companies have mastered diversity, and its business case, and they are poised to take full advantage of all labour pools, including Indigenous talent.  Others companies have advanced diversity in a big way but they struggle with Indigenous workplace inclusion, and how they can recruit, retain and advance Indigenous employees in a big way.

According to Diversity Best Practices survey of CEO’s, they found that 89 per cent of CEO’s surveyed viewed diversity as a competitive advantage in improving employee retention. They also found that 85% believe diversity helps position their company as an employer-of-choice, and 80 per cent correlate diversity goals with large corporate goals.

Some corporations must report on their diversity practices and outcomes as part of the compliance with Canada’s Employment Equity Act. Many firms have struggled with the Indigenous component of their diversity agenda. Targeting practices and strategies to Indigenous workforce, community and education streams can generate better performance outcomes.


Share this page