European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards winner - Buitengewoon-Facilicom

20th of April 2020
European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards winner - Buitengewoon-Facilicom

Buitengewoon-Facilicom does its utmost to recruit candidates who are keen to work – however poor their job prospects may seem on paper. So the ground-breaking social enterprise was a worthy winner of the 2019 European Cleaning & Hygiene Award for Commitment to Diversity in the Workforce.

Looking for a job can be a daunting process. Interviews are often particularly stressful because it is here in the interview room where candidates are challenged about their lack of relevant experience, their exam results and any gaps in their CV. There is also the lurking fear that their face might not fit because they are perceived to have come from “the wrong background”.

But imagine how it would be if our prospective employer were completely sympathetic and totally invested in finding us a job – whether we were ideal for the role or not?

This is way in which Buitengewoon-Facilicom operates. Its parent company the Facilicom Group employes 31,000 people in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium.

“Facilicom has plenty of work on offer - and many of the available roles are of a practical nature,” says the company’s social entrepreneur Etienne Friederichs. “This means there are good opportunities within the company’s operational activities for those who could do with a helping hand.” As far as Buitengewoon-Facilicom is concerned this category includes former refugees, those on welfare benefits and people with a disability who have been declared partly or fully unable to work.

Job vacancies within Facilicom are offered through Buitengewoon. “We also set up tailor-made jobs for people who would have difficulty filling a ‘normal’ vacancy,” said Friederichs. “We help candidates to surmount any obstacle by offering internships, work experience and intense guidance and supervision.

“We take a person’s abilities as a starting point, offering them both a job and a path. Buitengewoon helps to remove practical obstacles, for example by arranging coaching or helping with transport or day-care provision for children. We are happy to make that extra effort to enable people to return to work or enter the work environment for the first time.”

The key requirement for finding employment within the company is simply the motivation to work, says Friederichs. “We don’t want people to have to worry about whether they have enough diplomas, whether there’s a language barrier or whether they lack skills,” he said. “We simply consider what they can do and we then work together on a plan to get them started.

“Whatever work hindrance they experience whether it is a disability, age, low literacy, origin, gap in their CV, or whatever: they are welcome, and we will put our heads together to determine what is possible.”

Buitengewoon provides a culture that offers room for differences, he says. “It is an environment where people see diversity as an added value,” said Friederichs. “In this way we work alongside our partners towards a labour market that excludes no-one.”

Established in 2018, Buitengewoon-Facilicom means “Facilicom Extraordinary” in Dutch - and this is a fitting name. “Buitengewoon is an independent entity within the company’s holding,” he said. “A social enterprise within such an organisation is unique and the fact that a family business like Facilicom Group offers such a platform is both distinctive and unequalled.”

He believes there to be an ever-widening gap between the working and non-working populations. “This affects the distribution of wealth and the spread of wellbeing,” says Friederichs. “And this makes the social role of companies increasingly important.

“We work alongside local partners, industry peers and social neighbourhood teams to put people in jobs. It’s not commercial interest that comes first – it’s the group effort to find jobs for people who would otherwise not be considered.”

People taken on by Buitengewoon-Facilicom appreciate the opportunities they are given, he says. “This contributes to a huge sense of company pride,” said Friederichs. “People are proud to work for an organisation that has a social heart and together we will fight for a job market where there’s a place for everyone and where everyone matters.”

This is Buitengewoon-Facilicom’s first European Cleaning & Hygiene Award. “Winning has confirmed to us that we are on the right track and that our decision to launch was the right one,” said Friederichs. We’re grateful to Facilicom Group for the opportunities it offers us and for supporting us unconditionally in our mission.”


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