Webinar: Innnovating for Employment Success


>>Greg Lockwood: Good afternoon and welcome
to today’s webinar, Innovating for Employment Success. My name is Greg Lockwood and I’m Stakeholder
Coordinator at the BC Centre for Employment Excellence. For those of you who are not familiar with
the Centre, it was created in 2012 with funding from the provincial and federal governments
to act as a research and knowledge sharing organization for BC Employment Service Centre’s
mandate is not only to do innovative research, but also to find ways to share best practices
with BC practitioners and employers, and better integrate evidence into practice. We created this webinar series as a way to
reach out and connect with practitioners. Through this series, we have highlighted new
research by the Centre, but are also tapping into the knowledge and expertise within the
employment services community. You are invited to view the video recordings
of previous webinars that we have posted on our website. Today’s webinar showcases the Innovating for
Employment Success Project or IES and its impact on internationally trained professionals,
ITPs. IES was a demonstration project implemented
by MOSAIC from February 2015 to December 2016 and funded by the Ministry of Social Development
and Social Innovation’s Research and Innovation fund. IES tested whether or not training ITPs in
Design Thinking could reduce the lengthy labour market transitions they face in BC, and help
them to attach to jobs that were matched to their pre arrival skills and experience. To tell us more about this innovative project,
we are thrilled to welcome the IES project team. Joan Andersen, is the Director of Employment
and Language Services at MOSAIC, a multi lingual, multi service provider in Metro Vancouver
that empowers newcomers and facilitates their meaningful participation in Canadian society. MOSAIC has a long history of working with
ITPs through, among other programs, the Skills Connect for Immigrants Program and the Employment
Program of BC. Joan was one of the creators of the IES project
and directed its implementation. She has a Masters of Industrial Relations
from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Library Science from UBC. Natasha Bailey is a researcher, coach and
organizational development consultant who has been working in the non profit sector
since the start of her career 16 years ago. Her work is focused on developing and implementing
innovative processes in a range of contexts, including: Evaluation framework development,
quality assurance benchmarking, and funding proposal development. She also leads research projects on a regular
basis, emphasizing participatory action research methods. Natasha was the lead researcher on the IES
project. Marina Gherman is the coordinator of two of
the new Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants programs at MOSAIC and was the coordinator
of IES. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International
Relations and has several years’ experience coordinating projects in both private and
non profit sectors from initiation and planning stages to implementation, monitoring, evaluation
and completion. Today’s presentation will last about 45 minutes,
leaving some time for questions and discussion. You are encouraged to submit questions and
comments to our presenters in the “questions” feature of your panel. We will address questions during and at the
end of the presentation. We will be showing a video near the end of
the presentation. For most of you, those of you who are using
a pc, you should be able to see the video and hear the audio. For those of you on a Mac, you might only
be able to hear the audio. It’s about a 6 minute video, so if you can
only hear the audio, we apologize and advance, and we hope that the audio will provide some
insight into the project. We now have available
Remote CART (or live closed captioning) is now available during the Centre’s webinars. You can find the link in the reminder email
that was sent out this morning. With that, it is my pleasure to hand the microphone
over to Joan.>>Joan Andersen: Thank you, Greg: And thanks,
everybody, for joining us this afternoon. Just to review in grief the research question
if internationally trained professionals or ITPs are trained, and Design Thinking are
trained in teams does it increase their employment readiness, give them some needed labour market
skills and ultimately help them to gain employment that is more aligned to their pre arrival
skills and experience. And the types of labour market skills I’m
referring to here are things such as innovation, communication, leadership and team work. And the focus today will be less on the research
activities that were carried out and more on the lessons that could be drawn on the
implementation of the project for providing employment services to this particular group. If you have questions about the research activities,
please don’t hesitate to ask them at the end of the webinar. So just a little bit of an outline of what
we’re going to go through, we’ll start with the rationale and how we implemented the project,
and then move into the assessments that we use to measure impact. We thought it would be interesting for you
to hear about these assessments because we know you’re working with clients and you’re
curious about the use of various assessments and how they can support your work. We’ll also talk about the impact of the program
and how we engaged employers. We know that employer engagement is a priority
for many of you, and so we wanted to focus on the lessons learned from this program,
both for engaging employers and for employment services to this population in general. And of course there’s the time at the end
for questions and comments. Before we get into the meat of it, we thought
we would do a quick poll question. And the question is: Have you heard about
Design Thinking? And your options are three. They’re up on the slide there. So answer “A,” yes, you have heard of Design
Thinking but you just basically know the title and you don’t know much about the approach. Selected “B” if you know about Design Thinking
and what the approach involves. And then “C,” if you haven’t heard of the
title at all, or what the approach entails. And we will pause for a minute while you vote. I should say, while you’re voting, that the
idea for this project actually came from an immigrant professional himself who is an expert
in Design Thinking. He approached MOSAIC and said: How about trying
this out for employment services? I would like to see if this will work, and
if it will really if internationally trained professionals will be able to increase their
employability through using a Design Thinking approach. And we looked at it for a few months and thought,
yes, there’s merit to it. So we went ahead and did it. So thanks to Oscar for bringing that forward
to us.>>Greg Lockwood: It’s Greg here. I’m just going to jump in with the results
because our team here isn’t able to see them on the screen in our boardroom. And I’m not sure if this would be a surprise
to the team but with 70 or so voted voting, we have 14% choosing “A”; 14% choosing “B,”
but a large majority of 71% choosing “C.” Never having heard of the approach.>>Speaker: Fantastic! Well, that’s great! [ Laughter ]
>>Joan Andersen: You’ll at least learn about Design Thinking today and I’ll call on Natasha
in a minute to explain to you what we understand the term “Design Thinking” to be and how it’s
been used by other organizations. But first of all, why do we do this? And as an immigrant serving organization,
MOSAIC is always looking for different ways to address the barriers that internationally
trained professionals face. And that result in the dystopic situation
that’s set out on the quote on the slide from Fuller and Martin. To summarize, ITPs in Canada are underemployed
and overqualified. Their credentials, education and experience
are often not recognized. This has a significant negative impact on
the economy. And I’m sorry to say we have not been making
much progress in this regard. And why use Design Thinking? Why do we think it could potentially make
a difference? Well, two reasons, really. Design Thinking is aimed at addressing tough
or what they call “wicked” problems. We certainly thought this was one of them. And secondly, Design Thinking is an innovation
related skill, and we know that innovation is something that employers are becoming more
and more interested in. So to tell you more about Design Thinking
I’m going to turn it over to Natasha.>>Natasha Bailey: Thanks, Joan. Okay, what is Design Thinking all about? Well, you can see on the slide, and I’ll come
to it now in a second, a range of consumer products that have been developed using a
Design Thinking approach. I’ll run through them now in a minute. What is Design Thinking? It is meant to be an innovative problem solving
process that is increasingly part of business school curriculum, and the toolkits for a
range of sectors. So I certainly know that there’s an organization
called Ideo, they’re a social enterprise and they use Design Thinking to create products
and services to improve the lives of people living in poverty. For those of us in non profit, Design Thinking
is a set of skills that’s become being more prominent. Basically Design Thinking is a way of accelerating
the production of prototypes for services and products that emphasize a really deep
insight of the end user, the client or the customer. So multi disciplinary teams come together
and they collaborate and use a variety of methods in this toolkit to really dig deep
into the user’s experience. So the kind of methods that you might hear
of as part of a Design Thinking approach might be something like user interviews, something
called point of view analogy, journey mapping, ranking, user driven prototypes and user observation. What happens is these methods really allow
development of solution that are creative and highly responsive to user needs. So you can see on the slide a small sample
of the kind of products that have been created using this approach. So the iPhone, the iPad, the apple watch,
the Mac book. And also the star books loyalty program. They were all created using Design Thinking. And so the key thing about Design Thinking
and ITPs, just to reiterate, is if we trained ITPs in this approach it would give them a
set of skills that are valued in the BC labour market because there are companies out there
looking for these skills. Many companies these days have innovation
as a core business strategy or competence. That’s it. I’m going to turn it over now to Marina who
is going to talk a bit about implementation.>>Marina Gherman: Thank you, Natasha. So just a reminder, all the clients were also
in typical case managed services at their local WorkBC centres in addition to participating
in the project. As the project sought to assess if this approach
could enhance just to take a look at the program, a breakdown in week number 1, participants
were learning about workplace communication. Also presentation and team work skills. In week number 2 and 3, they really focused
on Design Thinking approach and methods. They also had meetings with employers. Every cohort had two meetings with employers,
and they also worked on solution design and presentation to employers about the solution
that they have developed. And in the week number 4, it was called next
steps. And this is the week where participants really
learned to apply Design Thinking skills to their job search. They also learned how to leverage and highlight
the skills developed for their own job search. And also strengthen job search tools and strategies. So if we take a look at the IES participants,
most of them were between the ages of 30 and 50. Most came to Canada as skilled workers. 53% were in Canada for less than two years. 55% of our participants had held senior positions
in their home countries. 46% of them had Master’s degrees and up. Some of them were Ph.Ds. And the main occupations of our sample were
engineers, business development professionals, HR professionals and accountants. In terms of statistics, 37 out of 40 completed
the program. Natasha?>>Speaker: Thanks Marina. We thought it would be interesting today to
review the kinds of inventories or assessments that were used to measure the impact of the
program because we thought there might be some utility for practitioners hearing about
them. We would be interesting in hearing from people
listening today whether or not they have used these assessments and the utility of them
in delivery of services. So there were three different assessments. And the first one that was used is the employment
readiness scale. You may be familiar with this because I know
some BC work centres are using it, particularly because it helps with the MD&A around when
someone starts, in terms of their readiness. So some people did the ERS at the start, pre
intervention, and then immediately after, to see whether their training had an impact
on their employment readiness in Canada. You can see the dimensions that it measures. There’s 8 dimensions there that add up to
employment readiness. When the assessment, it tells you whether
or not they are self sufficient in the dimensions. And when you look at scores what’s interesting
in terms of the validity of this tool is if you’re deemed to be fully ready for employment,
usually in about 79% of cases, clients will be employed within 12 weeks. Okay? And I suppose the value of this particular
tool is you can take it many times and it can be used for action planning. We’ll tell you a bit more about what happened
in terms of the impact in relation to employment readiness with this particular project in
a minute but first I want to finish going through the tools. So the other one that was used this is just
a smaller inventory and you may already be familiar with it, was the job search self
efficacy scale from Sikic and Zacs. It looks at investigating participant competence
to enact a job search. So whether or not they have the confidence
to actually carry it out. So it does ask in relation to each item: How
confident are you, in relation to this? It’s a good predictor of intention to carry
out job search, and the actual behaviours that somebody will be engaged, that the client
will engage in. So say you’ve got a client who is saying that
their confidence generally is low or their language confidence is low around job search. You could potentially use this particular
assessment to see where they’re at, and you could in their action plan ask them to do
some work around some of those items. Then you could retest them to see whether
or not they are able to actually carry out those job search tasks on their own. The third assessment that was used to measure
impact in this particular project was called an MDQN which is a reliable inventory for
measuring a set of management professional competencies that are allotted in the marketplace
today. Because it was focused on ITPs we needed a
focus that was on measuring professional skills. You have 7 different competencies divided
into 5 meta competencies. You can see 4 of them up there. Basically what was explored in this particular
project is an increasing leadership which is in the results orientation and leadership
meta competencies. We wanted to see if there was an increase
which was in the managing change meta competency, and also interpersonal skills which is in
the we did look at results across all competencies to see if anything came up in terms of impact. This is a useful assessment for ITPs who may
think their management skills are where they need to be for the Canadian labour market,
but potentially their practitioner is not quite sure about that and wants to either
validate that or have an objective means to communicate with the client about that. An interesting finding was when you look at
the mean scores for participants in relation to these competencies, they’re below the Canadian
mean. So yes, it could be interesting in that context,
then, for practitioners. High scores in relation to particular competencies
as well could be used in client self marketing to employers or in job development. That’s another way to use the inventory. So we wanted to ask you another poll in relation
to these assessments. Just to get you thinking a little bit about
their relevance for this particular project. So we wanted to ask you to answer this question:
Which of the dimensions or skills measured do you think IES would have had the largest
predictive impact on. So when I say “predictive impact,” I mean
when you statistically analyze the data you can see that any increase in relation to these
inventories is due directly to the Design Thinking training that they did. So you can choose from that range of answers
there. Employment readiness, job search self efficacy,
or management competencies. So which do you think that this project had
the most predictive impact on?>>Greg Lockwood: It’s Greg again here with
the results. This time I was able to share the results,
so hopefully you can see them on your screen, and I’m sharing them here with the team as
well. The majority chose employment readiness as
what they thought would have the most predictive impact, 53%. Then it was 27% for job search self efficacy. And finally, 20% thinking it would be management
competencies.>>Natasha Bailey: Thanks, Greg. You’ll find out now in a couple of slides
what the actual impact of the project was. But before we get to that, you can see whether
or not you chose the one that had the most predictive impact. Marina is going to talk a little bit about
employer engagement for this project.>>Marina Gherman: Let’s take a look at what
the participants actually do in the project. As you can see from the pictures, they were
very engaged, very busy and happy. So consulted with employers to identify non
critical business problems using the following criteria: Something that needed to be solved
that could benefit from fresh eyes or that had been around for a while and the employer
didn’t have the resources or the time to focus on. And the slide shows participants working on
the challenges. And some of those challenges were new internet
file structure. Another one was promoting internal training. Fostering diversity and learning about best
practices in the workplace. Improving customer experience at the front
desk. And enhancing promotional materials. Employer engagement comprised of conversations
with MOSAIC to identify the problem, and initial meeting/interview with our innovation team. Also employers were available to answer any
questions or provide any background information throughout the process. And a final presentation where participants
had a chance to present their solutions to the employer team. And the employer staff commitment was around
5 hours per employer. Very interesting, all employers said that
they would participate again. They indicated that they were going to use
some of the recommendations made and reported that they would value interacting more frequently
with participants during the solution design process. So more than 5 hours they were allocated. Some of the employers that we worked with
all of them, actually, was Zaber, Camp Pacific, Seaspan, Sinclair Dental. And we worked with the City of Vancouver Engineering
Department and Diversity Services. Here’s what we learned from this experience…first
of all, take the stance that the client can help the employer by bringing fresh eyes and
a wealth of experience. It is not about the employer helping the poor
client, but the client helping the employer. Also at the earliest opportunity, tell the
employer a story about the client. Maybe I’m at a project a client was very proud
of. A key workplace success. Or an innovative solution that they developed. So let that be the front edge of the engagement,
not just the fact that the client needs a job desperately. Another lesson was draw out the challenges
that employers are facing and show how the client can address them. Know the demand shortages that are facing
employers at a sectoral level in the local area and demonstrate your awareness of these
challenges. And last, meet with employers in person. Mirror their communication style and workplace
norms. And take a recruiter stance for ITPs that
may be more of a typical corporate approach.>>Speaker: So now to look at the impact that
this project actually had on our test group. For those of you who voted that the positive
impact on employment readiness was the biggest impact, ding ding ding, five stars! You’re right. That was the area in which this project had
the most impact. But overall the project had a positive impact
on the test group compared with those in control who were only receiving regular EPBC services
in terms of all three of the major areas we assessed: Employment readiness, job search
self efficacy; and management competencies. But the most impact was on employment readiness. Using the employment readiness scale we found
that 46% of the test group increased their readiness compared to 19% of the control group. So quite a dramatic difference, which led
us to employer further and learn that the test group was 3.6 times more likely to be
employment ready as a result, a direct correlation to the training provided. In terms of management competencies, the impact
that was found to be significant, statistically, not surprisingly, was on innovation skills. And we’ll get to the impact on in terms of
the impact we were hoping to have on commensurate employment, at the 12 month follow up the
test group was slightly ahead of control in terms of finding commensurate employment,
although the training was not predictive of that. Of note is that we decided to analyze both
test and control on all those that did not get commensurate employment, to see if there
was anything they could learn about whether they had anything in common. And interestingly enough, we found that there
were some statistically significant characteristics of those who did not get commensurate employment. They were generally older, over 40 years of
age, had been in the country longer more than 3.5 years and were more likely to belong to
a visible minority group. Now, looking at the impact on the job search
self efficacy of the IES program, the chart on this page shows a positive impact on that
scale. You can see that the average change for individuals
in relationship to the job search self efficacy measure was higher for the test group, which
is on the right in this slide than for control, although it was not predictive of the change. Overall there was a greater average increase
for the test group in 7 out of the 10 items in the job search self efficacy scale. Qualitatively we received lots of different
kinds of feedback from the participants about the impact on job search. We did 10 in depth interviews with 10 participants. Participate 9 for example described how the
program impacted his motivation, “just that the program gave me many motivation in different
ways, just the confidence in myself and ideas like interviewing structure and resume.” And participant 4 said “I understood that
networking is a very complicated process. It’s not just being in contact with one person. It was a very good result for me that you
have to be in different people, in different process, with different relationships. It was not so easy.” And one of the things that the person who
suggested this program to us wanted to achieve was treating the internationally trained professionals
as consultants, as people with a tremendous amount of experience, knowledge, education
to contribute to employers, and I think that was achieved and you can see that in the results
that I have been sharing with you today. In terms of lessons for employment services,
Natasha will address that.>>Natasha Bailey: Thanks, Joan. So MOSAIC wanted to highlight three key lessons
from the implementation of this particular project, and I’m just going to run through
those now. What’s the learning, then, for employment
services from this. I suppose one of the main unanticipated qualitative
impacts of IES I mean the participants reported it themselves in evaluation feedback forms
from training, and from in depth interviews that were carried out was this chance for
participants to gain team working skills in a way that they knew was really reflective
of the Canadian Workplace. Participants were really clear that they knew
that working in the Canadian work environment involved being in contact and working productively
with multicultural teams, with lots of cultural diversity; and they really wanted the chance
to experience that, learn that, and be able to, I suppose, say to future employers that
they had done that and that they were prepared for the Canadian work environment in that
way. They perceived that they would not have been
able to get that type of experience through traditional employment service. So I suppose the lesson is that employment
services could think about how they can design interventions so that ITPs get the chance
to develop their cultural intelligence and team work skills through multicultural group
work. I think what’s key about multicultural teams
is that it also allows participants to foster pride and confidence in their own culturally
specific knowledge, which does two things. One is that it instills confidence which is
really important. Because as an ITP, when you come and you experience
the transition penalty here in the labour market, obviously your confidence decreases. So when your own cultural knowledge is used
in a productive fashion, it increases confidence. And it allows this also this culture of origin
knowledge to contribute positively to the Design Thinking process as well, which is
also key. The second lesson for employment services,
then, that MOSAIC wants to highlight is this employer enthusiasm for the problem solving
approach, whether it’s Design Thinking or not. The notion of going to employers and saying,
hey, have you got a problem that we could solve made the MOSAIC thought the employer
engagement an easier venture than they originally thought it might be. So it’s just employment services could think
how they might integrate a problem solving approach through their key job development. Key informants said that it could be important
to target businesses that have innovation as a core strategy or value as well, when
you’re thinking about using a problem solving approach. That last bullet there reckons back to what
Joan was saying around who is it that is experiencing the most barriers to the labour market within
this particular cohort? And it was around older clients, those from
visible minorities groups, and those who had been longer in the country. So all of the research talks about how early
support is better, and you can see from this particular cohort how, if you were longer
in country, that that made it more difficult to find commensurate employment. So I guess it’s just to keep putting that
message out there, that that’s those are it’s easier to validate those barriers but also
that those kinds of clients will need extra supports. And I suppose further participants in this
project expressed strong for employment services that were tailored to their needs. So these particular barriers just give you
a bit more of a sense of the needs of this client group. MOSAIC would welcome your reflections or ideas
in relation to the integration of these lessons into employment services during the Q&A. But now I’ll turn it over to Marina.>>Marina Gherman: Thank you, Natasha. We are going to conclude by showing an excerpt
from a video within IES program, putting some faces and voices into the program. And we’ll start with hearing from some of
the employers involved in the project. And then we’ll move into hearing from the
participants in our first test group. The video is going to run for about 6 minutes. And after the video we will be happy to take
your questions and listen to any other comments that you have.

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