More Than Just A Number : International Migrants Day 2023
When Fredrik Hillelson established Novare Human Capital in 2001, he knew that he wanted to use his expertise to be a change agent. A former HR executive and officer in the Swedish Marines, Fredrik has a passion for unlocking hidden potential, which was why, when Farzad Golchin approached him in 2016 to set up a company to assist recent arrivals in Sweden – many of whom were fleeing the war in Syria – he jumped at the opportunity.
Novare Potential was born, and, today, eight years later, it has helped more than 300 people to start new lives in Sweden with dignity and respect and helped up-skill 500 IT and health care professionals.
In return, says Anna Werner, chief commercial officer, clients get skilled workers who are particularly conscientious and loyal to the company that gave them the chance to start anew.
“Many people with a multicultural background have skills that complement the needs of local companies, but without a network, it is virtually impossible for them to find employment. They are not on LinkedIn and are often very far removed from the formal workplace, having no mainstream business contacts of their own. Novare Potential aims to be the bridge between their skills and vacancies in the workplace.”
The six-person team at Novare Potential has their roots in these communities – they speak seven languages between them – and can advertise, source, and vouch for applicants, many of whom have lost everything and endured extreme hardships to escape dangerous situations. Interviewing candidates in their mother tongue helps to put multicultural applicants at ease and makes it easier to drill down into a job-seeker’s experience and expertise. Placements tend to be in IT, finance, construction and administration, although increasingly companies are turning to Novare Potential to source people who can grow into roles in industries such as the energy sector, where there is a shortage of talent. Once matched with a company, the team ensures that the new hires are supported during their first 12 months in their new job.
Anna uses the term multicultural because it’s not only new arrivals that need help matching their skills to opportunities.
“These days, we help new arrivals, as well as people who have been in Sweden a while. For example, a mother who has spent the last five years rearing children, and having become proficient in the language, is now looking for new opportunities.”
This is not the only social change initiative being driven by Novare. In the Spring of 2020, the company established the Skill Shift Initiative, Beredskapslyftet, as a way for laid-off employees to support health workers during COVID-19. Working together with the Wallenberg Foundations and Sophiahemmet University, Novare helped create a training course to reskill cabin crew from Scandinavian Airlines who were placed on furlough due to the pandemic, to enable them to support and relieve healthcare workers at the height of the pandemic. Today the Skill Shift Initiative continues its work as a non-profit organization, serving as a platform for mobilizing resources from the corporate world to support NGOs and civil society during crises.
Says Anna: “Since then we have added several initiatives, including Rätt Kurva, which is aimed at preventing recidivism, and the Ukrainian Professional Support Center, established in the spring of 2022 to assist Ukrainians who relocated to Sweden following the invasion of Ukraine. The goal is to connect Swedish employers with Ukrainians who have fled the war, creating matches that benefit both the companies and the Ukrainian workers.”
Since May 2022, 460 Ukrainians have managed to find a job in Sweden thanks to the efforts of the Novare initiative.
“The teams who work on these projects are incredibly special. They combine a commitment to their client with deep compassion and understanding for the applicants. From homesickness to PTSD and papers destroyed by violence – our staff have the skills to calmly and empathetically assist people to integrate into Swedish society.
“For many new arrivals, getting a suitable job is the first step to getting their lives back on track. Every placement is a step towards a more inclusive environment and a society in which people can thrive and reach their potential, regardless of their circumstances.”
For more information on integrating skilled multicultural workers into your company, please contact Farzad Golchin, CEO Novare Potential, at Farzad.firstname.lastname@example.org
Read other initiatives by our partners here