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How Diversity and Inclusion Drive Employee Engagement

Eighty-three percent of Sodexo employees believe diverse colleagues are valued for their differences. How can you measure your employees' engagement?

By Dr. Rohini Anand

Globally Sodexo is one of the largest companies in the world operating in 80 countries and employing nearly 420,000 employees. While the decentralized nature of our business model allows Sodexo to operate with agility and speed, it poses a challenge with regard to employee engagement.  As a service company, employee involvement and enthusiasm are essential components to delivering the optimal products and services Sodexo is known for.

Research has shown that companies who disregard diversity as a component of their business strategy have a higher percentage of disengaged workers. Organizations that effectively capitalize on the strengths of all employees and leverage their differences and unique values have the most engaged employees. In addition, employees with the highest level of engagement perform 20 percent better and are 87 percent less likely to leave the organization, according to a survey by TowersPerrin. A study by the Hay Group found engaged employees were as much as 43% more productive.

Over a decade ago Sodexo embarked on a journey to drive employee engagement through a sustained and comprehensive commitment to diversity and inclusion. Employee Business Resource Groups, Mentoring, Training & Development, Flexible Work Arrangements and Recognition all became instrumental in fostering a culture of inclusion and engagement. Sodexo held itself accountable for progress through various measures and metrics. The result has been systemic culture change that has differentiated Sodexo for our clients, customers and employees.

Measuring the impact diversity and inclusion has on engagement is key. Sodexo conducts an enterprise-wide Employee Engagement Survey as well as special surveys targeted at Employee Business Resource Group members and mentoring participants.  The results of these surveys clearly demonstrate improved engagement as a result of participation in diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Sodexo's Employee Engagement Survey has reflected increases in the engagement of women and people of color since the survey was first conducted in 2006.  In fact, 2012 results show that diversity is one of the top two key engagement drivers for employees.

Despite several years of economic challenges, Sodexo's total management population reached an engagement high of 69 percent, which represents an increase at a time when most companies experienced a decline in overall employee engagement.   According to Aon Hewitt, this is considered Best Employer Range.  In addition, 83 percent of employees believe "At Sodexo, employees who are diverse are valued for the differences they bring to the workplace."  That is up 16 percentage points since 2006.

Engagement for women and people of color also experienced increases that are at or above Aon Hewitt's Best Employer Range.  Qualitative research findings revealed that both groups feel good about being able to bring "all of themselves" to work.  One of the most interesting findings was with regard to white male managers who said that they were proud to be a part of a company that is committed to diversity and inclusion.

Employee Business Resource Group members were also recently surveyed about their level of engagement and 65% said that Resource Groups enhanced their engagement and connection to the business.  Results from this survey are incorporated into Employee Business Resource Group's strategic plans. Participants indicated Networking, Engagement and Opportunities as the three top reasons for increased engagement.  Participants also noted their performance improved and they were more likely to stay with Sodexo due to their involvement with a Resource Group.

Sodexo has experienced firsthand the link between employee engagement and business results.  When employees feel valued and empowered to focus on their strengths and honor their differences, diversity becomes one of the organization's strongest competitive advantages.




Sodexo: Face Your Fears to Find New Opportunities, Passion in Your Career

Breaking down cooking to step-by-step instructions can empower individuals to prepare meals using fresh, whole ingredients.

Originally Published by Sodexo.

My name is Ki Keys, and I am a NYC Sodexo Dietetic Intern. I am based at Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Hospital (HMMS), located in Montclair, NJ and have the best commute among my DI cohort. It's less than 10 minutes door-to-door!

As a longtime resident of Montclair, it's rewarding to be helping my neighbors as they face various health conditions.

To date, I have encountered patients with cardiovascular, renal, diabetic, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, bariatric, and pancreatic disorders. I have also worked with those who have more severe complications requiring tube feeding, parenteral nutrition, and mechanical ventilation. It's remarkable how far I have come in three short months.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I entered the clinical rotations with great trepidation, but I learned that I really enjoy meeting new patients, learning about their challenges, and providing information about how nutrition impacts their conditions. Needless to say, I am thoroughly enjoying my rotations, especially the advanced one. Diseases requiring inventive solutions that demand complex feeding calculations and beckon me to crank away at the calculator are very exciting!

Do you know what's even more exciting? Transforming food ingredients into a delicious and nutritious dish. As a part of my hospital's monthly community nutrition event "Harvesting Fall Flavors," I had an opportunity to create turkey spring rolls using leftover turkey, complete with a cranberry dipping sauce, repurposed leftover condiment spiced with hot chili oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar. An appetizer made of roasted sweet potato disks topped with ricotta cheese, roasted pecans and fall spices was also served, and dark chocolate bites rounded out the menu for dessert.

I believe live demonstrations are a great way to foster healthy cooking and eating. Breaking down cooking to step-by-step instructions can empower individuals to prepare meals using fresh, whole ingredients. I've encountered countless patients who fear cooking because they see it as daunting and unconquerable. I look forward to continuing to share my love of food and cooking with as many patients who are willing to listen.

EPA Recognizes Sodexo for Food Recovery Achievements

Sodexo was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its food recovery achievements during the 2017 EPA Food Recovery Challenge.

Originally Published by Sodexo.

Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company committed to Quality of Life, was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its food recovery achievements during the 2017 EPA Food Recovery Challenge. In honor of the company's ongoing commitment toward food waste prevention, Sodexo was named as the EPA's national Endorser of the Year.

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Peta2 Recognizes Sodexo at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for Vegan Cuisine

Sodexo at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa receives an A+ on Peta2's 2018 Vegan Report Card.

Originally Published by Sodexo.

Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company committed to Quality of Life, was recognized by Peta2, the largest youth animal rights group in the world, with an A+ on Peta2's 2018 Vegan Report Card. Sodexo at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa was also listed on Peta2's "Dean's List," an elite group of institutions that have accrued enough Vegan Report Card points to rank among the highest tier of A-rated schools.

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Sodexo's Rohini Anand: We Want to Have Diverse Leadership Styles that Women Bring to the Table

Anand, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer at Sodexo discusses the importance of companies having an inclusive culture where women can ask for prmotions and not get penalized.

Sodexo: University Dining Teams Partner to Give Back and Address Hunger on College Campuses

Sodexo's work to fight hunger follows the entire student journey from primary to higher education.

Originally Published by Sodexo.

Every holiday season, Sodexo dining teams across more than 650 university locations extend their service spirit to students in need. Here are six great examples of partnerships with students, faculty and University leadership that are making an impact beyond the classroom.

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