IVY Works and Diamond Group work together on inclusive labor market

08 December 2022

Seeing an inclusive labor market as the ideal situation is not groundbreaking. But making active work of it is. And it must be said: few parties work as hard as IVY Works and the Diamond Group to offer people with a disadvantage on the labor market a suitable workplace. The data-driven talent management agency and the development and learning company have already been working together for a year on an innovative pilot. A pilot with game-based assessments and VR company tours for young people and status holders, to be exact. The firm figures are still being examined, but for the companions it has actually been clear for a long time: this method works. "We are now setting up the trajectories in a better, more efficient and effective way. We are convinced of that. The results of the experiential study are definitely going to confirm it," said Diamond Group team manager Stan van Gestel.

The collaboration between the parties has been operational since the summer of 2021. IVY Works' data-driven approach has already been deployed several dozen of times at the Diamond Group so far. "Because researchers from Fontys are currently examining the method and the results, we took assessments at the research group. But we have also used this working method several times elsewhere. Because we believe in this pilot and therefore want to gain further experience with game-based assessments," Van Gestel said. He deliberately still speaks of a pilot; as long as the research results are not in, he says he is holding back. "But we are actually already so convinced of this way of working that we have already used it - successfully - for a vacancy within our own organization.

Collaboration through MindLabs network
About a year and a half ago Diamond Group director Robert Bool contacted MindLabs. "We wanted to position people in the best possible way, but our tools did not adequately fit young people and status holders. This while we have to deal a lot with that target group. And so we sought out parties within the ecosystem that could help us," he explains. MindLabs partners Pascalle Ligtenberg (owner IVY Works) and Dionne van der Straten (senior advisor IVY Works) had been providing objective insights for optimal talent management within organizations with their game-based assessments for several years, and saw opportunities for a great collaboration. They therefore responded positively to Bool's call.

Ligtenberg: "We joined MindLabs because we know that digitalization and robotization are going to change how work is done. And because we think it is important to look at what that will mean for people; an angle that is often forgotten. Including employees in this transition is an important area of focus for the future. Through a collaboration such as the one with the Diamond Group, we are giving this a very concrete form. And our existing method is ideal for the organization's specific target groups. It really brings out the candidates' talents and offers them more perspective. So a wonderful opportunity."

Assessments and VR
The IVY Works game-based assessments provide - in whatever field - insight into all kinds of skills such as brain capacity, personality and into the interests and motivations of a person. The various games can also be used to determine precisely where a person's specific qualities lie. Van der Straten: "The target group of this pilot - young people and people with a residence permit - is ideal. Because the first group generally enjoys playing games more than filling in questionnaires. And for status holders, the visual aspect is a great help, because this way the language is no longer a barrier."

But so there is not only the assessment. The virtual reality component should also contribute to the job outlook. Because once a person's talents and the professions that fit them have been properly visualized, candidates take virtual company visits to the top favorites. Through their VR glasses, they are introduced to the work of a cleaner, tiler or caregiver, for example, in x number of minutes. With preparing the necessary items. Or cleaning up after a day's work. And there is opportunity for things like sitting on scaffolding to see if height really isn't a problem. All this for a realistic picture of the profession and - by extension - a solid choice.

Adjustments in response to experience
At the Diamond Group, experiences so far have been more than good, Bool and Van Gestel report. "Candidates like it, such a new way of assessing. It makes them enthusiastic. And when we discuss the results, we often see recognition. People who had always thought they had talent for a certain field now actually get it in black and white. Or they hoped they were suitable for it and now have confirmation that it is indeed something for them," says the team manager. Sometimes it works the other way as well. "That candidates think their strengths lie in a certain place, while that turns out not to be the case. Annoying. But that also is valuable information for the further process."

Based on the preliminary findings, some important adjustments were also made. For example, the assessment is now divided into stages. "We are dealing with a somewhat vulnerable target group here. Therefore, it was decided to start with the easiest part of the game, build up the difficulty, and stop the assessment when it becomes too difficult for the person in question," Van der Straten said. "The experience and the feeling are important for the success of the process, because you want to keep the confidence and motivation among candidates as high as possible. Therefore, none of the participants for whom the assessment stops 'early' will find that that was the case. It just is then what it is. And that's totally okay."

The oil spill effect
The future? The two parties view that positively. The Fontys research into the effectiveness of the tool will most likely be completed soon. In that area, they expect nothing but good results, which may make the designation 'pilot' unnecessary and further rollout an option. That confidence is also reflected in the number of Diamond Group employees released for the pilot. For example, several new supervisors were trained again in the recent period, in addition to the 6 people already associated with the project since its launch.

Bool: "In addition, it's great to see that IVY Works is now working at colleagues around the country. It is really becoming an oil spill. That we as Diamond Group have to deal with the law of the inhibiting lead, so be it. For our mission, the development is good news. And then it is wonderful to have been at the cradle of such a success."

Further development toward other segments
"There is indeed a growing noticeable interest in our approach," Ligtenberg reveals. "Because of the good initial experiences, we have now had other interested social development companies over for coffee. These are great developments. Because it enables us to help even more people find the right place in the work field." The IVY Works owner is also looking forward to the possibilities that the MindLabs new building will soon offer. "The place lends itself perfectly to organizing meetings about an inclusive labor market, for example. We are totally into that."

Ligtenberg also continues to look for connections with other parties, both employers and (future) employees. "Because what we are forming here can be further developed in every field. We prefer to do that right the first time and with maximum benefit for the target group. It would be a waste of time to reinvent the wheel several times. That takes time that you can use for wonderful other plans."