The goal of the Living In Program is to retain international talent. Talent is a crucial factor for the province of Brabant and the high-tech Eindhoven Brainport region. The mission of the program is to create an international-friendly ecosystem in which every talent can feel at home and develop.
The Living In program focuses on helping to internationalize SME companies, knowledge institutions, local government, as well as sports and cultural facilities, using the international talent present in the region.
In the vision of Living In, (knowledge) migration is a family strategy. That is why the program focuses explicitly not only on the first hire -- who comes to work for the companies and knowledge institutions in the region -- but also on the talent that travels with him/her as a partner.
The Living In Program contains six action lines:
Warm welcome and community
There is no second chance for a first impression. In addition to your own events for and communication with your international audience, we call on you to think about what you yourself can mean to the area in this, as an employer, but also as a cultural institution, sports organization or other 'player in the field'.
Support for your new employee and the family that comes with him or her, in practical and personal matters, is essential. Often such an international family starts from scratch. They are confronted with an immense amount of 'regulatory affairs' and information. A point of contact in the form of an HR officer or a colleague (or a good relocator) is literally worth its weight in gold and plants the seed for a longer stay of your employee.
Visible and accessible facilities
As an environment, we also have the interesting challenge of making the facilities that are so obvious to us accessible to talent from abroad. This often involves clear communication in English. The Living In program pays special attention to cultural and sports facilities, because good access to these contributes enormously to the feeling of being at home and therefore promotes the retention of international talent.
In order to understand how all kinds of facilities work, Living In also often explains the underlying system, which after all is almost always different from the home country.
When recruiting an international talent, usually a highly educated 'dual career couple' comes to the region. But upon arrival, only one of the two partners has a job. This translates into a substantial untapped talent pool.
In the work environment of the 'first hire', English is often the professional working language. Yet, for both partners, learning the Dutch language is crucial to really become part of the new environment.
First and foremost, this is important for both partners, for their social integration. For the highly educated partners, the so-called "spouses", the language is also important for their professional integration. In many cases her or his professional future lies in the (mainly Dutch speaking) SME's.
This concerns the employers of the 1st hire as well as the (future) employer of the spouse. Both are potential game changers for the Living In program when it comes to retaining international talent. The program motivates the "Tech" - employer to be more attentive to the needs of employee, spouse and family. Think of dual career facilities or for example paying the language course for the spouse.
Living In supports the potential employer of the spouse to make the organization "international ready", for example, with the help of the International Talent Scan (in Dutch).
Create opportunities for the talent that happens to be a spouse
The co-traveling spouse is often at least as talented as the " 1st hire". Therefore Living In pays a lot of attention to their professional integration. We look at what is needed for the talent to enter the labor market.
At the same time, we look at how a potential employer can become more aware of this untapped talent pool, and what it takes to help that talent land. If both partners see their professional future in the region, that offers the best chances for a long-term stay here.
The program motivates the environment to create opportunities for spouses.
A particularly strong example is the Women for Women program, in which Living In and Expat Spouses Initiative, with the help of local mentors or ‘ambassadors’ help spouses integrate professionally.
Create a long-term strategy
In designing the Living In program, we formulated 4 strategic principles for the longer term. These are:
- Family is key: To effectively retain international talent, we need to look at the big picture. Or as migration expert and TiU researcher Camilla Spadavecchia puts it: "You don't hire a brain, you engage a family". In the Living In program, we invite the environment to find an answer to the family strategy called migration;
-We talk with the community and not about the community: In the Living In program, we expand the acclaimed " Triple Helix" cooperation of the region to a "Multiple Helix" cooperation with the target group of international talent as equal partners in conversation. Other European regions look with admiration at this way of working, the intensive cooperation of government and international target group is unique in Europe;
- Focus on talent: Spouses are often at least as talented as the "1st hire", the employee who comes to the region for the job. These spouses are therefore an asset to the region. Hence the Living In program puts a lot of effort into the professional integration of spouses. This not only helps to retain international talent, but also to solve the talent shortage in SMEs.
- We are in this together: If we really want to be that more welcoming and international region, then we need to work together as much as possible: everyone is a stakeholder!