Many companies these days are dealing with SROI (Social Return on Investment). What does SROI entail and how can you put it into practice? Amsterdam – Diverse & Inclusive (ADI) spoke to OGD-ICT about how they approached this. OGD is a national ICT service provider with 1,200 employees, which has been providing ICT support to businesses for 30 years.

How did you come across SROI?

Five years ago, we started participating in tenders with government clients. Since 2013, all government contracts above €250,000 have been subject to certain conditions regarding SROI. This means that professional buyers must take maximum sustainable value into account when procuring products and services: in addition to price, the impact on people and the environment must also be considered. By doing so, you support the organisation where procurement is carried out. As OGD, we believe in giving opportunities and encouraging development. SROI fits in well with this: with part of the amount of the tender, we create employment for people with a distance to the labour market.

How do you concretely implement SROI?

In line with the agreements with our client, we undertook to employ a minimum of three people with a distance to the labour market per year and provide additional guidance in the workplace. As a first step, we approached a party that guides status holders to work and saw if they could help bring in candidates. We then met with all interested parties. Within three months, we had hired three status holders and soon six more will also get a place. That means they no longer have to claim benefits. We also make sure they can develop and upskill themselves in the ICT field. This and the work experience they gain is positive for their later position in the labour market. We are also working on setting up a buddy system: OGD employees who enjoy providing extra guidance to these new colleagues and showing them around the organisation. This way, the status holders expand their network.

Do you have any tips for other companies looking to get started with SROI?

What we have noticed and learned at OGD above all is that it is a matter of starting. Make a call, get to know a candidate, find a specific place where necessary and see how it goes. It is also useful to maintain close contact with UWV. In some cases, you can apply for the safety net scheme, which reduces your risk as an employer in case a candidate drops out due to illness. We do not see SROI merely as an obligatory part of a tender, as something that ‘also has to be done’. As OGD, we are very pleased that we can also do our bit for society in this way. In the process, we have brought in smart, ambitious people who were, for whatever reason, at a distance from the labour market. We give them a push in the right direction and it pays off both for them and for us!

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