Iwona is one of the newest members of IMPACT's international team, but the Polish native has lived in Belgium for more than a decade now. Immediately after graduating, she and her husband moved to Belgium when her husband was offered a job. She began working as an IDM coach in 2020, helping temporary international workers like herself and her husband who have found jobs in Belgium.
The seeds for moving abroad were sown when Iwona and her husband were on holiday in Belgium. Her brother-in-law was working in Belgium at the time and her husband had the opportunity to shadow him for a day. He was immediately offered a contract. The couple decided to take the plunge and stay in Belgium.
The first job through an employment agency
For Iwona, this meant leaving her homeland immediately after earning her degree in accounting. ‘It was a big challenge and I decided to learn Dutch right away. But I was able to use my Polish language skills in my first job; a job I found through an employment agency no less! The same agency, in fact, where I got my first job as a recruiter – a position I held for ten years.’
When Iwona saw the vacancy for an IDM coach at IMPACT, she knew it was time for a new challenge. With its carefully developed International Distance Matching Concept, IMPACT offers international experts the opportunity to work in Belgium with personally tailored guidance and support. ‘With my background and a similar story, I found my perfect match: in 2020, after some pandemic-related delays, I started working at IMPACT.’
Personal experience as common ground
As an IDM coach, Iwona advises and assists international temporary workers from the moment they sign their contract to the moment they start working in Belgium. ‘My duties are quite broad, ranging from processing administrative requests to arranging the start-up process for newcomers, which includes housing. During the pandemic, this also includes scheduling the necessary tests and preparing and submitting the necessary documents. I also assist experts who already work in Belgium, following up on important issues and answering any questions they may have.’
Her own experience makes Iwona the perfect person for the job. ‘My strength is that I really understand what they're going through. I went through the same thing and try to take away any doubts they have. You shouldn’t underestimate the impact of leaving your family behind. On the upside, a lot of the experts who work through IMPACT are Polish. I can discuss all information, review all documents and have all conversations with them in their native language.’
Advantages for and because of temporary workers
As a Polish native, Iwona can assess the added value of both Belgium and IMPACT from personal experience. ‘When I first arrived in Belgium, I had to figure everything out on my own. It's such a relief to have someone who can arrange things for you and make you feel at home – especially in a new country where you don’t speak the language. I can reassure them that Belgium is a great country to live in and work in. It's a country that doesn’t stand in the way of your development but encourages it.’
Iwona also knows how to sell the advantages of hiring international temporary workers for Belgian companies. ‘They're hard workers with a broad knowledge base; experts who choose to come to our country to pursue a good career. They're also flexible, which is an extremely important trait in a world where everything is moving fast and companies want to provide their customers with fast and reliable service.’
We asked Iwona one final question: How do you make an impact?
‘By being patient, understanding and always willing to help. Everyone is different and has their own story. You have to listen with an open mind and gauge the kind of support someone needs. It’s all about personal contact. Belgium has become my home and I’m truly happy here. My goal is to help our international temporary workers feel the same thing.’