Home » Diversity & Inclusion » CivicAction’s HireNext Helps Companies Offer Opportunities to Youth

HireNext is a free program from CivicAction that helps employers attract and retain the diverse, young talent their organizations need to thrive.

Tamara Balan

Chief Operating Officer, CivicAction

Dean Delpeache

Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Fiix Software

Fiix Software has seen a shift in its workforce toward increased diversity, creativity, and engagement. Dean Delpeache, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager at Fiix Software, attributes this to hiring more youth. “We believe that youth bring a certain type of creativity and vision to our business. They may not be as experienced, but they bring a form of innovation, and that contributes to improving our bottom line,” says Delpeache.

To learn how to attract and retain young talent, Fiix became a CivicAction HireNext EmployerCivicAction is a non-profit organization that boosts civic engagement through programs that address social and economic challenges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and beyond. In 2018, it launched HireNext to help employers find and develop young and diverse talent.

Free tools provide actionable steps

A historic number of youth, a historic number of youth are seeking jobs and employers are looking for ways to tap into creative, diverse thinking to figure out how to operate and thrive during the pandemic. Having the right tools to connect with a broad and diverse young talent pool has never been more relevant.  

HireNext is a set of free, made-in-Canada tools to make sourcing, screening, and onboarding for entry-level candidates more inclusive and efficient. Organizations can take a brief online questionnaire to assess their human resources (HR) practices and receive three recommendations tailored to their organization. They can download a free guide that shares best practices and provides recommendations for hiring and retaining young talent. Templates and other resources help users implement the recommendations. As they move forward, organizations can track their progress and receive new recommendations.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic,” says Delpeache. “[HireNext] really helped us bring youth into our organization and opened channels for communicating and working with young people. The youth we’ve hired have brought amazing expertise, outperformed our expectations, and contributed to our bottom line.”

The first step Fiix took was changing the language it uses in job descriptions. “For example, if you write ‘we’re looking for a strong leader,’ a young person may not think they have enough experience,” says Delpeache. “So, using phrases like ‘someone who’s creative,’ or ‘someone who looks at problems differently,’ helps attract youth.”

For some jobs, Fix doesn’t specify the necessary years of experience, which encourages candidates with little experience or transferable skills to apply. Other recommendations from HireNext include recruiting youth through platforms like Instagram and Snapchat or asking for short essays and skills assessments rather than resumes.

CivicAction’s HireNext toolkit makes recruiting, hiring and retaining young, diverse talent easier than ever, and all at no cost (seriously!)

Program helps eliminate barriers

“HireNext aims to help young Canadians overcome challenges in accessing great first jobs and to help employers access the talent they need to thrive and position themselves for the future,” says Tamara Balan, Chief Operating Officer at CivicAction.

Balan says this is especially important because of the high youth unemployment rate in Canada. Some groups, including those who are racialized, living in poverty, LGBTQ2S+, and those who are differently abled, face even bigger challenges due to structural and systemic barriers.

“It’s economically and socially important for employers to open up opportunities for youth. Employers should be thinking about building hope for young people,” she says. “And there’s a lot of evidence that more diversity and inclusion in the workplace delivers better returns for companies, financially and in employee engagement.”

“HireNext is a great chance for employers to examine their current practices and make specific changes to give young people access to opportunities, and to attract the young talent they’ll need to grow and thrive.”

Next article