The Waterloo Region has been gaining momentum as a destination for both talent and for global companies looking to tap into our entrepreneurial culture, university research and highly capable workforce. But as a community full of people with small town roots, and with a dedication to the success of our home-grown companies, corporate newcomers will only be embraced if they demonstrate shared values.
Amazon’s call for bids to build out a second HQ has sparked passionate opinions about whether this would be really good or really bad news for our community. With our unique view on the talent pool, I have some thoughts on how Amazon, or any newcomer, can ensure a welcome and become a valuable corporate citizen.
1) Offer great experiences for employees to learn and grow. We know you’re coming to hire some of our great people, and this is a good thing IF they emerge from the experience with new and valuable learnings and skills. Invest in the development of the talent pool and we all win.
2) Participate actively in our community. With volunteers, donations, sponsorships and other levels of participation, enrich the social and cultural aspects of our community so that it continues to be a great place to live and work.
3) Build the broader tech ecosystem. Companies with global offices, whether big or small, also have opportunity to share advice, insights and learnings with the whole tech community, so that our start-ups can learn from experience gained in other markets and accelerate their own journey..
4) BYOT (Bring Your Own Talent) – when a foreign company brings along leaders and other professionals who are excited to live in the region, this signals a great level of commitment. These companies can also take advantage of favourable immigration policies and can make a positive long term impact by attracting top talent from outside Canada, to further grow the local economy and the talent pool.
A global company can either come in like a parasite, suck up our talent and siphon out our best ideas and IP – OR – they can invest in making our community a better place to live and work, and create long term economic growth. Those that show a commitment to the community should be welcomed and recognized for the positive impact they can make.