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Progi: A Company Helping Auto Recyclers Overcome Staffing Challenges

Progi is an information technology company specializing in the automotive industry. Many of its solutions directly assist auto recyclers. Alexandre Rocheleau, Director of Human Resources, explains how the company tackled the labour shortage challenge.


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Alexandre Rocheleau

Located in Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada, our small and medium-sized business face the common challenge of labor shortages. Despite our diverse team and good retention rates, we needed to find new talent to support our growth.

Before the pandemic, we explored the possibility of recruiting new immigrants, carefully selected in their countries of origin, to join our team in Trois-Rivières. However, the immigration process was complex and time-consuming, involving heavy regulations and obligations, such as finding suitable housing for newcomers. Even with some government incentives, bringing new talent on board could take six months to two years.

The pandemic taught us that we could work remotely as effectively as in person. This realization led us to consider a new approach: what if we went to them instead of bringing them here? We conducted a socio-economic study of countries in Latin America that shared our time zone and could provide the skills we needed. Since we primarily needed programmers, we were not restricted by the need for physical labor in our facilities.

We selected Colombia as the best choice and quickly launched our project there. Fortunately, we found a contractor who later became our first employee, capable of supporting us with the financial and legal foundation of the company and helping us recruit new talent. We hired Angelica in August, and we had new programmers on board by September. The process was very fast.

Many Western companies are already established in Medellin, Colombia. Through our business network, a partner invited us to their office to kick-start our Colombian project.

Now, even our Canadian team members sometimes work from our Colombian office, which is one of the benefits we offer.

Colombian employees are now part of Progi, and it has been a wonderful adventure. They are intelligent, friendly, and talented.

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Progi’s Columbian Team

The key to the success of such a project is undoubtedly the people involved, including a good leader. Our CEO, Diane Chaîné, believed in the project, pushed for it, and demonstrated great open-mindedness that mobilized the team. Progi was already a fertile ground for people of all nationalities.

Additionally, having needs for labor that remote employees can meet was essential. Our intern slogan at Progi is: “Dare to build”. I believe we live up to these words.

Of course, there were some hurdles, such as adapting to the banking system and government requirements, but they were minor compared to completing a single Canadian immigration application.

Overall, this project has made us a better organization.

The Colombian project is one of Progi’s recruitment methods to grow its organization. We have also established an internal school to welcome junior talent in a supportive environment to help them develop. We have opened our doors to talent from all over Canada.

Overcoming labor and skills shortages in Western countries is a significant challenge. However, it can become a positive human adventure. The key is to focus on innovation and break away from our old routines, allowing solutions to come to us.

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