Extending Career Paths across Borders for Young Talent

International development agency Plan Canada designed the myXchange program to leverage the skills of its young talent. The unique program moves beyond conversations about career paths with action offering three-to-nine month Talent Exchanges across borders for sharing talent.

The Toronto-based Plan Canada is a global movement for change, mobilizing millions of people around the world to support social justice for children in developing countries. The organization works in 70 countries to end poverty and improve the lives of children.

“Over the years, recruiting into our call center has created a pool of talented junior staffers who have extensive education in international development, but do not have the field/practical experience of working in countries where our work is based,” the agency’s Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness Deborah Singh said.

Providing Opportunities throughout the Organization

The objective of myXchange program is to provide short term entry-level development opportunities within the organizations for staff members who demonstrate an interest and exhibit strong performance in their current roles. The opportunities benefit both the staff member and the organization. The staff member receives exposure and the ability to work on projects related to their academic and career interests. The organization benefits from receiving assistance from an engaged staff member.

Opportunities in the program are identified by the department and business leaders, who occasionally require additional resources based on changes to their scope of work, environmental factors, or internal business demands.

The myXchange program stands out in innovativeness as it’s creating a talent pool while incorporating cost savings measures. The organization utilizes its own call center as an entry point to move talent into and across the organization. This minimizes costs, while retaining top talent and leveraging valuable academic background and experience. The program acts as a feeder pool of talent that is used widely, with up to 40 myXchanges each year. The numbers are increasing in October there were eight myXchanges processed.

Growing Program Recognized for Excellence

The long term benefits of this program provide senior staff with resources and additional time to perform work, while providing young, motivated, educated professionals with training in international development, according to Singh.

“It acts as a retention tool for staff and allows the business to continue to grow in a meaningful, cost-effective way,” Singh said. The myXchanges often times result in longer term contracts and permanent roles.

Earlier this year, Plan Canada was recognized for global leadership excellence, winning second place in the 2015 Leadership 500 Awards for excellence in the non-profit innovative hiring practices for young people. LEAD is an international platform designed to inspire every individual to make the world a better place. The program recognized the top 500 leadership organizations and their development programs from around the world.