HBI Awards 2018: Tapping the refugee workforce

Ambea has 6,200 elderly care beds and 2,000 school activity placements, in 460 units around Sweden and Norway.

Sweden’s population is getting older creating pressure on its labour market. At the same time, Europe is dealing with the fallout of conflict in Syria and Afghanistan where issues of higher education and language barriers make it difficult for immigrants to find fixed employment.  With this in mind, Ambea has begun to recruit from the refugee population.

In 2016 it offered 180 internships, with 20% leading to jobs or offers of continued education at Ambea. In 2017 a further 180 internships were offered with 25% leading to job offers. With female refugees often having the most difficulty seeking employment, Ambea offered two thirds of these internships to women.

Full Application

1. Briefly describe the organisation giving number of facilities, staff, revenue numbers.
Ambea is present within care services and has 14,000 employees. Ambea has approximately 6,200 beds and 2,000 school-/daily activity-placements in around 460 units across Sweden and Norway. Total revenue and adjusted EBITA for the 2017 financial year amounted to SEK 5,816 million and SEK 498 million. The company was founded in 1996 and its head office is located in Solna, Sweden.

2. Please briefly describe the medical service, which the organisation is delivering in where there has been HR innovation
Supporting integration and secure the need for qualified staff

Ambea offers services within disabled care, individual and family care and elderly care, with a focus on residential care and own management. We strive to be the quality leaders in all we do – and our vision is to make the world better, one person at a time – delivered through an individual-centric care approach.

As a response to the major challenge to recruit and to speed up the integration process Ambea started the “Integrations project”. The project started in 2016 at the same time as millions of people fled the war in Syria and Afghanistan and came to Europe. We wanted to take our corporate social responsibility and at the same time find new ways to attract and recruit new employees.

The idea was to offer refugees and immigrant’s internship so they could practice the language and at the same time get work experience. For Ambea it has been an opportunity to contribute to the society and the same time secure the need for new staff.

The project has been co-operation with the Sweden Migration Agency and Arbetsförmedlingen with an ambitious target that Ambea should offer more than 500 people internship under 36 months.

3. Please describe the HR changes the organisation has made which have led to better services.

Change 1 : Hard competition over qualified staff. The population in Sweden is getting older. Between 2015 and 2035 the group of people that’s 80 years and older will increase with 76% from 500 000 to 890 000. This demographic change will affect the elderly care but also the labor market. One of the major challenges for the health and elderly care in Sweden is the lack of employees. Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions estimate there is a need for 500 000 new employees in the care and health sector in 2026.

Change 2 : Integration.It takes 9 years for immigrants to get their first fixed employment according Statistic Sweden. Lack of higher education and language barrier is two common reason for the long process.

4. When did the HR changes start affecting service delivery?
Month : February
Year : 2016

5. What are the main key performance indicators? How does the organisation measure the success of the project?

– We have arranged 34 speed dates around Sweden to find people that are motivated to be part of the internship.

– 2016; 180 internship, 20 % was offered a job or education afterwards at Ambea

– 2017/2018; 180 internship, 25 % has been offered a job or education at Ambea

-150 employees are today active as mentors. To become a mentor you have attend a 12 hours education. We also have 30 “ambassadors” who have attend a two week education.

– To support the organization and to develop the processes to attract, educate and recruit new employees Ambeas has invested in a strong HR-department with specialists within employer branding and a diversity strategist.

Other Benefits
– Building a strong internal culture. People feel proud to be part of the project, which results in higher quality and more motivated employees.

-Ambea have created a mode to attract, educate and create work opportunities for immigrants and refugees. A group that´s traditionally has been far away from the labor market. Especially female refuges have had most difficulties to enter the labor market and Ambeas has given 2/3 of all placements to female applicants.

 

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Zhasmina Simeonova or call 0207 183 3779.