B Calm and B Corp
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B Calm and B Corp

Making an Impact: our efforts for the local community

A local view of Valtellina

mondora has always had a strong focus on creating benefit for the local community and since becoming a B Corp in 2015 we have increased our efforts to have a more meaningful, systematic and measurable impact thanks to the work we do. We are always experimenting and learning new things along the way, and so far it has been a very creative journey in which we have used software as the driver to help local farmers, workers, children and families. Our ongoing work gave us a score increase of 11 points for the community section in our last B Corp re-certification and we would like to share what we have learned so far with everyone. As is common for a fast paced tech company, we have already moved beyond the practices that increased our score, and are continuously working on improving them and adding new features and ideas. It’s a fun learning journey that never stops!

Here is a snapshot of how far we have come… and keep an eye out for the new stuff we have planned!

New Opportunities

mondora has always been open to giving work opportunities to people regardless of their situation. Last year we formalised this practice by creating the “New Opportunities” work programme, a project that specifically targets workers that have faced burn out and workers with disabilities and mental health issues, providing an alternative environment in which they can recover and heal whilst accomplishing meaningful work. A few examples of this programme in practice: a software engineer has taken on an alternative position as a farmer; a worker with mental health issues has been given the possibility to learn sewing and doll-making with a skilled tutor, whilst taking a break from software testing; a physically disabled worker is in the process of being hired as a software tester.

Voluntary Hours

Everyone in the company is encouraged to participate in community service activities, both as part of the company and as individuals outside of work. However, we didn’t use to track the hours that employees committed to helping others so we were never sure of how much or how little we were actually doing for our local community. Since we started tracking hours, both paid and unpaid, we have a much clearer picture and we have been able to set targets we would like to reach together as a team too. We also have a policy in place whereby for every 5 days of community service that an employee works outside of office hours, the company matches those days with as much paid time off. In this way people can double the time they dedicate to the community without sacrificing their other commitments.

Suppliers

We always try to select our suppliers carefully whenever possible and, over time, we have developed a set of specific guidelines to help people make the right choices. Our company policy states that when choosing a supplier, we should do some market research and give priority to those businesses that are either local, or a Certified B Corp, or we are able to strike an Interdependence Agreement with (or all three!). This means that our choice of supplier requires more work on our part, and this ensures that we discover new companies that are following our shared purpose of making the world a better place, and with which we can collaborate and create a strong network of like-minded businesses!

Diversity and Inclusion

mondora is constantly working on the issue of diversity and inclusion in the company. After making everyone’s salaries public internally and adjusting the slight gender pay gap that we discovered, we have since been focusing on an inclusive approach to this subject. One of the actions we have taken is the organisation of recurring Inspiring People events (a more inclusive evolution of Inspiring Women) in which we invite an external inspirational speaker and share a few hours together in an informal workshop setting. Another practice we have in place is the inclusion on our team of a company philosopher, that helps us explore the subjects of diversity, inclusion and gender from a more ethical perspective during interactive classes in office hours.

Letter of Interdependence

Another practice that has been formalised in mondora is that of mutual helping and learning between colleagues. But how did this originate? During a team retrospective some time ago, people were voicing the problems they were having with their work tasks and all of these were being written on a whiteboard. People then began spontaneously offering to help colleagues on specific tasks, which were both technical issues and also personal concerns, for example improving speaking up at meetings. In order to fully commit to these proposals, everyone was encouraged to write a short email to the colleague they were helping, formalising what kind of help would be given, how long this would last, what the objective was and how this helped both parts interdependently. In this way our practice of writing internal Letters of Interdependence was born, and is currently widely used among teammates.

Interdependence Agreements with customers and suppliers

We have been working on interdependence agreements for quite some time now, and we continue to improve and refine how we set them up and measure them over time. Our biggest improvement in this activity is that of measuring impact: whenever we strike an interdependence agreement with a customer or a supplier, we also help them measure their activities and the benefit they create. This is done through software and gives everyone a much clearer picture of our joint efforts to support the community that hosts our businesses. Some Agreements specifically target the local community too, such as our MiniCoder project in which, together with a customer, we hold free coding classes for local primary schools.

Continuous Learning

Not a new practice in the company, but continuous learning opportunities for staff are always high on the list. A major improvement here has been that of measuring how many people attend courses, what learning opportunities we provide and how they help staff perform better. This is done through tracking numbers (days/hours/people) and also through Officevibe surveys. We encourage people to attend conferences and courses organised by our partners, and also to hold internal “4to5” meetings where they can share what they learned with the whole team. :m team players have travelled to Paris, New York, Portugal and many other places to benefit of learning opportunities through the company, and we continue to support this practice of learning and sharing.

Team learning opportunity with Microsoft in Paris!

There are many actions a company can take to support the local community in which it operates. Here I have tried to described some of ours, but we are always open to new ideas and would love to hear how other businesses are working locally! Feel free to reach out to us with comments and suggestions :)

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