Amsterdam – Every day, Divers & Inclusive speaks to companies trying to improve diversity and inclusion within their organisations in various ways. Studentflex, an employment agency that guides highly educated students to interesting and substantive side jobs, explains the steps it has taken to increase internal support for D&I.
What is Studentflex and what is your mission?
Studentflex connects talent to companies across the country on a daily basis. We talk to (young) talent, ask about their ambitions, discuss their development points and look for the story behind the CV. We talk, research, analyse. Then we see where, and if, we can mediate someone. That process is what sets us apart. That is also why we do not have endless pages of vacancies and do not present a long list of CVs to our clients.
What prompted you to start working on diversity and inclusion?
Studentflex started looking into diversity and inclusion because, as an employment intermediary, we have a direct impact on the workplace. We want to be a sparring partner for every young talent, but noticed that we were still struggling to reach certain groups. We are looking for sustainable, long-term connections and did not want to just make a few easy adjustments and pat ourselves on the back; we wanted to go in-depth and make sure our findings were supported by the entire organisation. Only then could we make diversity & inclusion tangible in our work and communicate its importance to our clients. Creating support: internal Research Paper ‘Diversity in the workplace’ From our vision on job placement, we believe that everyone, at whatever age, should continue to develop. Our motivation was to learn from professionals on this topic. A group of colleagues spoke with experts who work hard every day for equal opportunities in the labour market and attended webinars, events and talk shows. Each conversation with professionals brought new insights and ended with the question, “What are concrete actions we can implement today to do our bit?” A nice list of action points emerged and our knowledge gained was compiled into a Research Paper with tips for both organisations and individual employees. Among other things, the paper addresses the added value of diversity in the workplace, (possible) assumptions and challenges.
How did internal awareness come about?
After completing the Research Paper, internal awareness-raising began. We organised an online kick-off for colleagues, where we presented the conclusions of our research and concluded with Fatima’s personal, inspiring and gripping story. She talked about her experiences on the labour market as a young, highly educated lady with a migration background. According to Fatima, the lack of social capital among young people with a migration background is a major problem. Her story made a deep impression: colleagues who had never experienced labour market discrimination themselves were surprised and disappointed by the reality of everyday life. After raising awareness internally, we continued working on external support by talking to our clients (companies) as well as our candidates (students and young professionals). Thanks to our research and sharing our findings with colleagues, our first goal has been achieved and the internal mindset is changing. Because they can substantiate their story well, colleagues enter the conversation on diversity with our clients more easily.
Who are you working with?
During the research phase, to make our community more diverse, we partnered with different organisations. By actively seeking out and recruiting different new target groups for our candidate pool, we have a larger group of students with more diversity in background, education and talent. We believe this will increase both the quantity and quality of our services. The first students from this network have already registered: a nice and concrete result of our efforts!