At SOMO, we are committed to aligning our internal structures with our fundamental principles. We take pride in being a non-hierarchical organisation where collaborative decision-making shapes our strategic direction.
In 2021, we embarked on creating a comprehensive five-year operational strategy to ensure that our organisational growth is seamlessly aligned with our core strategies. We made sure that every team member had a voice in this process.
Our strategy outlined four key priorities that were endorsed through a staff-wide vote:
- Fostering a mission-centric environment at SOMO, where collective efforts converge towards the strategic objectives defined in our core strategy.
- Establishing a secure, healthy, and dynamic workspace.
- Securing financial resilience and ensuring the well-being of the organisation
- Strengthening governance and oversight mechanisms, promoting clarity and effectiveness.
During the second half of 2022, we conducted a thorough review of our structure and responsibilities, leading to the introduction of new roles and modifications in team configurations.
The adjustments clarified staff and team mandates while preserving our non-hierarchical ethos. The emphasis remained on role-based responsibilities rather than a rigid hierarchy.
SOMO Code of Conduct
Our aspiration encompasses being an exemplary employer and a steadfast collaborator. As a research-oriented organisation, our primary obligation is to ensure accountability in research and network-related pursuits. As a vigilant entity, we shoulder the responsibility of preventing harm.
Our Code of Conduct and Complaints Procedure embodies this principle. In 2022, we revised our Code of Conduct. In 2023, all personnel were requested to endorse the Code, marking an ongoing endeavour to firmly embed SOMO’s values within our work culture and practices significantly as our organisation expands.
Upholding our integrity framework, as outlined in our integrity policy, we received a report from an external confidential advisor. This report indicated that, in 2022, two instances were reported to the confidential advisor by staff members. Our Management Team engaged in dialogue with the advisor to identify areas for improvement, culminating in measures to enhance workplace well-being and safety. These initiatives included training in non-violent communication and deep democracy approaches within the workspace. We also initiated a process to enhance annual performance evaluations and feedback mechanisms.
Addressing staff well-being
Our dedication extends to addressing workplace stress, ensuring staff safety, and fostering well-being. In 2022, we introduced revamped project planning procedures designed to align our work more strategically and to prevent excessive workloads for individuals.
Facilitated by the newly established Project Management Unit, SOMO’s leadership evaluates projected workloads and collaborates with team members to define manageable commitments at the start of each year. This process is subject to regular assessment.
In 2022, we also introduced temporary staff members in specific project areas to ensure efficient delivery and mitigate stress-induced illnesses associated with excessive work demands.
Striving for sustainability
In our endeavour for sustainability, we diligently select suppliers and service providers that adhere to the most sustainable practices. We prioritise fair trade, eco-friendly, organic, recycled, and second-hand items whenever feasible.
Our travel policy is rooted in environmental consciousness and sustainability. Commuting costs via public transport are reimbursed for SOMO employees. For work-related travel, we strongly discourage air travel within a 700-kilometre radius of Amsterdam, taking on board climate change concerns.
In 2023, we underwent re-certification for two distinguished quality certificates:
- the international NEN-EN-ISO 9001:2015 certification; and
- the Dutch Partos 9001:2015 certificate – a specialised application of the ISO 9001:2015 standard for the development sector.