The day before yesterday I went to see a preview of the first episode in a television series on refugees and their quest to find suitable work in the Netherlands (Grenzeloos Talent - you can watch the episode here). It was hosted in a nearby theater by a valued partner, Refugee Talent Hub, and is broadcasted on national television soon. Through the stories of two newcomers from Syria, we were allowed to tag along with their journeys for a short while.
Our team at the preview of the tv series 'Grenzeloos Talent'
As my colleagues and I were having a quick drink before the preview started, we chatted with other professionals who work in integration and inclusion. We have a diverse team and my colleague Osama has only been in the Netherlands for 18 months. His Dutch is not perfect, but improving rapidly. He chatted along with all of us, which helps him improve his language skills even more.
Our partners and friends from the field praised Osama, and mentioned how it is such a wonderful thing that we employ people with a refugee background. To me, it is only logical. We cannot do the work we do if we try to come up with solutions FOR people. We have to do it WITH them. I actually think it is odd not more organizations employ people from the same background as the ones they aim to work for. Isn’t that a little counter-productive? And why is it so difficult to do in the first place?
Diverse teams make our workday more interesting and fun, and they make our solutions better equipped to serve those who participate in our traineeships. They make us more successful. That is what more companies and organizations need to see and what we aim to show them.
The inclusive teams of 'Wat We Doen' and NewBees toast to our collaboration and EU support
Recently, we convinced ‘Wat We Doen’, a creative company with whom we will be travelling the Netherlands in 2020 following a play on integration: 'Hoe ik talent voor het leven kreeg'. Around the show we will create additional programming to facilitate encounters between new and old Dutchies. ‘Wat We Doen’ hired several of their staff, like Seeryz and Mo and Ranwa, through NewBees, and is already learning from the increased diversity in their team.
Before I left for the preview, we learned that we will get support from the European Union to organize more traineeships across the Netherlands following our tour with ‘Wat We Doen’. This allowed NewBees to hire our intern, Nagham, who has been an amazing asset to the organization. And over the coming months we will hire many more newcomers across the Netherlands to help us create quality traineeships in their new home towns.
As the series will show you, there is a lot of work still to be done to really become an inclusive society. For that we should not only focus on newcomers, but also look to Dutch employers. And a day like the one before yesterday gives me high hopes.
Let's hire away!