Research On Indigenous Partnerships: Building Successful Indigenous Engagements, Relationships & Partnerships
Indigenous Works is a national, not-for-profit Indigenous organization that helps companies develop and execute their Indigenous employment and other workplace inclusion strategies. In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools’ (TRC’s) call to action, Indigenous Works sought to benchmark engagement levels and partnership competencies of mainstream Canadian businesses to answer the question “What is the current level of corporate-Indigenous engagement and partnership in Canada?”
For this innovative research, we worked closely with the client and other stakeholders to refine Indigenous Works’ Seven Stage Partnership Model and develop a new tool for assessing businesses’ commitment to engage: the Partnership Matrix. The Partnership Matrix included benchmarks created to measure organizational competencies, strategies and practices in the TRC’s focus areas of employment, business development, and community development.
We validated the developed matrix with guidance from corporate, Indigenous, and government leaders. The finalized matrix was used to survey more than 500 medium and large Canadian businesses across sectors and regions. Engagement for each business was scored based on their awareness, readiness, strategies, consultations, and partnerships. Findings were contextualized through follow-up interviews with businesses, Indigenous groups, and other stakeholders (e.g. industry associations).
Several years after the initial study, we again worked with Indigenous Works to complete follow-up research with the industries that had scored lowest on engagement in the initial study. Medium and large companies in these sectors were contacted to determine if their engagement levels had changed since the completion of the baseline study.
Our innovative approach to Indigenous Work’s research questions allowed the identification of gaps and opportunities for advancement within corporate Canada and Indigenous communities to support Indigenous Works’ critical work in addressing the TRC’s calls to action.
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