Should businesses think like an immigrant to succeed?

Published October 1, 2021.

Author, entrepreneur & immigration activist, Nick Noorani, thinks so.

The majority of the global business community agrees that diverse organizations achieve better results.

Reports have been published everywhere, from Harvard Business Review to the Conference Board of Canada, and they all tell a similar story: Hiring diverse staff makes good business sense.

A similar hiring strategy can be argued for immigrants, says British Columbia-based author, entrepreneur and consultant, Nick Noorani, who immigrated to Canada from the United Arab Emirates, more than 20 years ago.

“Every organization in Canada should think like an immigrant,” says Noorani. “Businesses take calculated risks and you want people who are good at that in your organization. Immigrants take risks by coming to Canada and that is a quality that can help any business,” says Noorani.

Noorani is a subject matter expert on the value immigrants bring to organizations and to their communities. He’s a sought-after speaker and recently launched Immigrant Networks, a professional online community for mentoring and job matching. Noorani understands the value immigrants bring to businesses because his own professional story matches those of so many Canadian immigrants.

Nick Noorani

“I came to Canada with 23 years of experience in marketing and advertising with big global brands but none of that mattered when I first arrived here. At my first job, in a small publishing house, I proposed the idea of an Indian-focused advertising supplement that was very successful. They wouldn’t have gotten that idea from someone who didn’t bring the lived experiences I did,” says Noorani.

Noorani isn’t alone in highlighting the business power unleashed by immigrants. Last year, StatsCan reported immigrant-led organizations were more likely to rollout innovative processes, products and services.

According to Noorani, immigrants are able to contribute new and creative ideas to their employers because the job isn’t just about the paycheque.

“As an immigrant, I’m creating my space under the Canadian sun. Back home, I had a safety net, my networks, my friends, my family. I come here and I don’t have a safety net. I have nothing. In your first few years in Canada, you’re thinking, ‘How do I excel? How do I grow my opportunities?’ What I hear from Canadian employers, time and again, is that no one works harder than newcomers because they give their all to ensure they have a job,” says Noorani.

Noorani says immigrants coming to Canada today are different than those from previous generations. Their language skills are advanced, they are younger, bring strong knowledge of digital tools and, like those before them, are hungry to succeed.

“Organizations can attract top immigrant talent by creating workplaces that emphasize inclusion, mentorship and empower them to share their creativity and leverage their diverse experiences,” Noorani adds.

He says those organizations will be better for their immigrant hires, as will all Canadian businesses.

Read more on the Windmill blog about finding employment in organizations that value diversity and inclusion.

Categorized in: Career Success and Planning,