At the beginning of 2023, we launched the Vermaat Food Vision 2027 with ambitious goals on three pillars: People, Product, and Planet. For the People pillar, we interviewed Dorieke Looije, Lead Diversity and Inclusion.
Anyone who wants to know more about diversity at Vermaat or is curious about inclusivity in the workplace can turn to Dorieke Looije. Together with job coaches Priscilla, Frank, Koen, and Stijn, she ensures that everyone can enjoy working at Vermaat. “Because we believe everyone deserves a fair chance at suitable work, and we do everything we can to make that happen.”
Whether you have a mental or physical disability, don't speak the language well, or for any other reason feel distanced to the labor market: At Vermaat, you are welcome. Dorieke: “For us, diversity within teams is extremely important. Different backgrounds and experiences lead to different ideas. If everyone feels free to share these ideas and listens to each other, creativity flourishes, and you come to new insights. Making sure our employees reflect the population is important for us. This asks for being open to everyone who wants to work in the hospitality industry and knowing how to reach them.”
Open Hiring is the purest form of being open to everyone. Because anyone who signs up can come work with us. Dorieke: “We only schedule an introductory meeting with the new colleague and organize a tour of the location. This way, the colleague can decide whether it is a match. Many of the colleagues hired through Open Hiring are still working there. They feel incredibly welcome and are very loyal.”
To reach all target groups, Vermaat collaborates closely with all municipalities, (practical) schools, neighborhood teams, and organizations such as UWV. They know exactly who is looking for work and what form of guidance is needed. Dorieke: “This all happens very formally with the signing of documents, but that way you can hold each other accountable. For instance, we have signed an agreement with UWV and the National Employers Service Point to mutually help people who are distanced to the labor market with getting a job. And with the Social Economic Council, we have agreed to work towards more diversity in the company, so that we become a reflection of the population – also within the management. In short: everyone deserves a fair chance at suitable work, and we do everything we can to make that happen.”
Our Vermaat colleagues Priscilla, Frank, Koen, and Stijn share their personal motivations for becoming job coaches.
Priscilla: “A personal leadership program made me aware of how valuable personal development is. As a job coach at Vermaat, I can help others with this. It is exciting to be able to contribute to this!”
Stijn: “We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world with almost unlimited possibilities. Especially for people who have more difficulty finding and keeping a job. I want to make an impact with the knowledge I bring from the hospitality industry. Because I believe that the hospitality industry is the ideal place to gain work experience.”
Koen: “I visited a restaurant where I had never been before. A young lady came to ask what we wanted to drink, so I asked what kind of beer they had on tap. She went inside to ask. After more than 10 minutes, she returned with the answer: “A smaller and a larger beer.” She turned out to be an ex-convict. That was the moment I decided to work with this group of people.”
Frank: “When I trained people with a distance to the labor market to become chefs, I fell in love with this group of people. They are unique, honest, vulnerable, grateful, loyal, and I learn from them every day. As a job coach at Vermaat, I can combine my background in hospitality with my experience with this group.”