Thought Leadership

Upskilling indigenous people and creating a locally based workforce

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The mining industry is the largest private-sector employer of Indigenous people, with over 455 active agreements with Indigenous communities in Canada alone. Mining continues to have a major impact on the development of sustainable communities across the globe. With accessibility to these Indigenous communities hamstrung due to COVID-19, the need for employees to take on more accountability in the workplace presents itself as an opportunity.

Developing Indigenous employees into roles that have historically been held by non-Indigenous people provides an opportunity for the community to develop greater resilience and sustainability well beyond the life of the mine, or viability of any asset or ore body.

Attract and Retain

Recent research reveals that the criteria more likely to attract and retain Indigenous talent include:

  • Companies with facilities and activities valuing Indigenous cultures
  • A critical mass of Indigenous employees
  • Quality work relationships within communities

Cultural diversity training for Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees has also been emphasized as important in fostering a healthy work environment.

Mining companies must develop a roadmap to address challenges in attracting and collaborating with Indigenous people and their communities to create a sustainable state.

Commit and Empower

Firms that value sustainability in the communities where they operate should prioritize upskilling locally based workforces beyond basic training. By developing employees into supervisory and management role-players, firms will aid in balancing employee needs and ambitions. Supporting already existing programs, such as the Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs) at Canadian mines, provides clearly defined career paths for Indigenous employees along with the training and mentorship opportunities that are key to a sustainable program.

COVID-19 and Localization: Indigenous People for a Robust Workforce

An Opportunity to Reset – The Time Is Now

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has greatly impacted how we work with physical distancing protocols and intensified concerns of exposure as transient workers enter Indigenous communities. This paradigm shift created the opportunity to rethink business models, organizational structure and design, and what work is necessary to get done and how.

Though this global pandemic introduced many challenges to organizations and workforces, it also provided companies and communities the opportunity to rectify what could be considered poor practices with human capital. Localized workforces can minimize exposure to COVID-19 and help protect elders and others residing in Indigenous communities.

Now is the time to develop and motivate local talent and build capabilities in-house

  • Keep your communities safe by minimizing Covid transmission
  • Attract, retain, and empower local employees
  • Build greater sustainability through community engagement
  • Prevent negative impacts to communities and business operations

Sustainability, Environment, Social Responsibility

Success in breaking through the barriers to developing Indigenous employees in communities greatly enhances the level of innovation, creativity, confidence, and capabilities that enable communities to become sustainable. The opportunity and impact this growth and development has will outlast the life of any mine; it is directly transferable to other industries in the area.

The development of local talent enhances the communities’ ability to take advantage of opportunities brought about through business development in the knowledge economy.  These trades and skills can potentially have a great impact beyond the local community. Economies across the globe will benefit from developing businesses, products, and services by extending the use of knowledge around the industry, community values and needs, and innovative thinking.

Including the community in discussions around safety, environment, sustainability, economic impact, and business development are crucial to the inclusion and alignment of goals between companies and the communities they are working with. Inclusion – and the transparency it fosters – is important across every industry in every community. In our global economy and mining’s place in it, inclusion is transferable and relatable to how we treat ourselves, each other, our communities, and our planet.

Proudfoot Gets People Involved and Engaged

What If you could empower your workforce by enhancing local leadership capabilities and building stronger community engagement? With Proudfoot, you can.

At Proudfoot, we understand the challenges and barriers that companies face due to COVID-19 and with employee engagement. We have had great success partnering with mining companies to coach and train their employees, whether they are indigenous people or employees with diverse background.

The gains we have seen in improving company culture and elevating levels of employee engagement have been remarkable. Upskilling your employees through critical programs such as #HeadsUP Leadership and 8 Active Behaviors will help further support the retention, development, and sustainable employment of Indigenous people in mining communities worldwide.

See how Proudfoot can help tackle a wide range of sustainable development goals that align with environmental, social, and governance best practices, learn more here.

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Posted on November 17, 2020

By David Warren

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