Many employers want more diversity in their workplace, but wonder where to find more diverse employees. One of the strategies they can employ is to involve specialized organizations and agencies Aukje Smulders, HR Manager of Hotel Casa Amsterdam, shares her experiences with us regarding entering into such collaborations.
Currently, Hotel Casa collaborates with a number of different agencies such as JINC, a party that is committed to young people and helps them get started in the labor market, the Employer Service Point, and contacts have been made with Werkom(a party that mediates people with a distance to the labor market to work). A special partnership has been established with educational institution ROC van Amsterdam. The hotel offers work experience placements through its entrance training program, and many young people from immigrant backgrounds attend.
“We are constantly looking at which parties can connect even more with Hotel Casa’s DNA,” Smulders says. In that DNA has long been a commitment to contribute to greater diversity and inclusion. As a signatory to the Diversity Charter since 2017, Hotel Casa has been committed to increasing diversity and making the best use of differences in the workplace. We are proud of our diverse organization and seek to further encourage this through collaboration with external parties. We also dedicate ourselves as employees to social causes; such as language and reading coaching, helping refugees and job training for young people. We believe in reciprocity and find it important to contribute something to people and society.
What is the added value of these collaborations and how did they come about?
“Our partners strengthen us, and we strengthen them. As a medium-sized hotel, we are constantly looking for motivated employees in different departments and fields. Through the collaborations mentioned above, we can find new employees and they can also find us. We offer these employees an opportunity by training them within our organization and helping them build a social network with colleagues.”
What did it accomplish?
“Some of our current colleagues came in through one of the aforementioned partners and now have permanent contracts. Many have also made tremendous progress in the Dutch language thanks to the work. We see this as benefits both for the employee himself and for us as an employer.
There are no big things we have run into when it comes to working with diverse talent. There are sometimes cultural differences, but when you have an open and transparent conversation about that, it almost always works out.
We have also found that our employees who are originally from outside the Netherlands have a very good connection with our guests. So that diversity also ensures better service toward our customers.”
How diverse is your workforce now?
“Casa is a diverse organization in every way; we work with employees in all age groups, the workforce includes more than 20 nationalities and the male/female ratio is about equal. We also give many people a chance to learn within our organization. For example, we often work with interns and apprentices, as well as employees with an immigrant background or who are distanced from the labor market. We are, of course, a hotel – and it is important to us that not only our guests, but also our employees feel at home!
That is our motto at Casa. Whether you are a guest in the hotel, a student living with us or an employee, you may feel at home when you are here. Because some of our colleagues are not fully proficient in the Dutch language, we feel it is important to help and support them where necessary. What we as an employer do extra for these employees is that we give them Dutch language training once a month. Here we cover various topics, which can range from prepositions to the theme of autumn. This way, these colleagues too, whether with us or with their next employer, will soon be able to express themselves in Dutch making them feel a little more at home with us, but also in the Netherlands.”