At the moment, we are faced with one of the largest displacements caused by war since World War II. In the Netherlands only, more than 25.000 refugees arrived this year, and the numbers are rapidly increasing. The refugees – have been living for months in camps under difficult conditions. One of the biggest challenges for them is to acclimatize in a new country, while at the same time adapting to and integrating in a new culture. We want to help by ensuring that refugees are successfully hired at positions where they will be both happy and productive.
The integration challenge
Fleeing from war and violence, refugees take on the enormous challenge of crossing the continent in a hope of a safer life. Yet, even after reaching their destination point, the challenge is far from complete. Resettlement is often difficult and stressful, and integration even more so.
To assist, various centers provide programs that empower newly-arrived refugees with necessary resources for rebuilding their lives. They are helped with setting up a home and learning the language. And at an increasing rate, we see the development of initiatives that help them find their first jobs. Try to imagine yourself fleeing from a war-torn country, going into a new life. The first thing you’d likely want to do is be safe and rest. And the next thing you would want is to provide a solid future for your family.
Refugee work placement
Refugees arrive with a wide variety of skills, from factory worker to professional. Many of them are highly educated. Just from Syria, 543 peoplevolunteered last year at UAF, an organization that provides study and work to highly educated refugees. With over 130.000 vacancies in the second quarter of 2015, the leading Dutch Employer’s organization, VNO-NCW, started considering whether refugees can fill some of those vacancies. The existing vacancies mostly fall within the sectors of trade, healthcare, specialist services, manufacturing, and hospitality. And we know from research on organizations that increased diversity drives innovation and market growth. But that needs to be done under right conditions.
The question then becomes: How can we ensure that these people are matched to positions which will aid their integration, and at which they will excel, while actively contributing to the society they have come to?
Ensuring person-job & person-organization fit
Psychology research reveals that employees, regardless if they are refugees or natives, reap most personal and work-related benefits from jobs and organizations that fit them. When fit is ensured, employees experience less stress, keep their jobs for longer, are happier, more committed and more motivated, and thus also perform better (for literature reviews on these and similar benefits, see here, here, and here). And place yourself in the shoes of that refugee again – would life not be easier if you are in the social environment that suits you most?
It is easy to see why tools that ensure person-job and person-organization fit would be useful in hiring refugees. Through their use, organizations that find jobs to refugees will save time and money, and even more importantly, increase the success of allocation. Refugees, on the other hand, will be hired at positions where they will feel happy and satisfied. Ensured fit will also increase their job retention rate, thus allowing them to integrate in society at a quicker pace. Finally, employers will benefit as well, as the successful fit also ensures enhanced performance, and this translates to higher productivity and profitability. And we are quite sure that refugees will then become more integrated in society.
How can we help?
At HIJSA, we create solutions that rely on in-depth psychological research. We are a business, but we have an ideological background: We want to help society. And we have a solution that will help ensure the fit between refugees and their future jobs and organizations.
We will match refugees’ personalities to personality-related requirements for the vacancies that our society has. We do so in multiple steps: First, our existing tests will be translated into Arabic. Second, we will need to automatize our testing process. When this is finished, the supervisors at said vacancies will indicate which personality traits are important for successful performance at these positions, and which values characterize their organization. The refugees’ personalities will then be assessed, making it easy to see which applicant fits the job the most. We will also assess what values the refugee finds important, so as to fit them with these different jobs in different organizations.
We offer our solution for free
The integration of refugees is a current pressing concern and we want to help, by offering our solution for free. We have tests available, but we need help to implement them. And let’s collaborate. In order to achieve our goals, we will need help from other parties. We need 1) a professional translator (Dutch-Arabic; Arabic-Dutch) and 2) a programmer who will help automatize the assessment and the creation of the reports.
What is in for us? Well, we mainly hope to gain some extra experience that will help improve our solution. And while doing so, we hope to help refugees integrate and find jobs at which they will excel.
Do you want to support our initiative by helping us find a translator and a programmer? Or do you want to collaborate to jointly match refugees to jobs? All you need to do is contact us and specify how you can contribute.