Sodexo's Employee Engagement = Gender Equity & Fighting World Hunger

Sodexo Global CEO Michel Landel's unwavering leadership commitment to equality is what led Sodexo to the top of the DiversityInc Top 50 list. Listen as he shares how gender-equity initiatives and fighting world hunger play big roles in Sodexo's approach to employee engagement.

Sodexo Global CEO Michel Landel's unwavering leadership commitment to equality is what led Sodexo to a top spot on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list—and what has helped to attract other great leaders to the company. Read more about this remarkable man. Outtakes from DiversityInc's candid conversation with Landel follow.

Maintaining Vigilance

[Diversity management] is not an exact science; we still have a lot of work to do. But the most important thing is probably [not] to give up or just let it go. Frankly, the day you give up, it's over. It's the JELL-O effect: You push and then you stop pushing and it goes back. If it's not entrenched in people's minds, it's so comfortable to get back to where you were before. I think we're still not at the critical mass in the world, so we have to push and be determined because, otherwise, I don't think it will last. Human beings are human beings. And if you don't push and continuously combat for human rights, then I think the risk of moving back to stupid things could happen—even if we say we're in the 21st century and people are more evolved than they were. I think we have to be very vigilant.

Motivating Employees

I was in Colombia two months ago and met this employee of Sodexo. We were celebrating 10 years of Sodexo Colombia, and she was there in the beginning. She is a single mother, has four children and started as an employee and now is a manager. The four kids have very good jobs—one is a doctor, one is a lawyer. She called her last daughter Sodexene, and she tells me that Sodexo has made her life, allowed her and her family to become the family that she has. That's why we're at Sodexo. The rest is just not important.

Striving for Gender Equity

Set a goal: Today women are 18 percent of our top 300 managers, and we want it to be 25 percent in several years.

Now, you could ask me why not 50 percent because 50 percent of the population [is comprised of] women. But we have to build this and it takes time; we cannot change a company of our size in five minutes. So it's setting the goal and doing women's initiatives. We have mentoring, women's groups, associations, outside groups, our SWIFt program and pushing to make sure we're not changing the direction. I think this is something that we'll move because more than 50 percent of college graduates are women and they are taking many more leading roles in society. We work very much on flexible time and making sure we organize solutions for daycare for the kids.


We also make it attractive for young men, because now the young generation of men wants to take care of their children. It's not a career barrier if you have men staying at home and taking care of children. We make sure there's equality for everybody.

Making this company attractive, changing the way we work and changing the status quo is very critical at Sodexo.

Fighting World Hunger

I started STOP Hunger Sodexo Foundation in the U.S. [because] I have always been shocked by the quantity of food that you get in a restaurant and the amount of waste. It is amazing and, frankly, it shocked me when I came to the U.S. back in the late '80s [from France]. After Sodexo merged with Marriott [Management Services], we started … talking about these issues a lot. One day, we said maybe we should do more and make sure at least at Sodexo that we try to avoid this waste. From that came the idea: Get all the food we don't use, give it back to communities and start this initiative. I think it fits with our culture, our objective and our mission and values.

After that, we extended it to other countries. Today, it is [active in 29 countries] and very powerful because it engages people. This is a business where if we want to be successful, we need to have all these people come in the morning and be happy to be here. It's not easy if you have a difficult life and home. One way to motivate people is [to let them see] how important they are in life and what they can contribute. By doing this, it's a good way for people to say, "I am important, what I do is important in life and I can really contribute." So engaging the Sodexo people is why this initiative is working, and I am very grateful.

Click here to read Part I of this interview with video.

Inspiring Women to Consider STEM Careers at Sodexo

While women have fought to win the rights that we have today, the battle is not over, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), where women are still significantly underrepresented.

By Connie Arnold

Originally Published by Sodexo.

Candidates who meet me now may not know my background (unless they visit my LinkedIn profile, of course), and while I am currently a Strategic Recruiter for Sodexo's Clinical Technology Management opportunities, I spent around 20 years in the field as a Biomed myself!

From what I've found, many people aren't sure what a Biomed career consists of - or sometimes they don't even realize it exists.

In a nutshell, biomedical equipment technicians, also called biomedical engineers, biomeds or BMETs for short, hold a critical position in filling the gap between medicine and technology. They make it possible for medical staff to use state of the art medical devices, providing the highest level of patient care.

So how did I end up there? In high school, I loved math and science, and it seemed to promise real opportunities for our changing world. This was when I discovered biomedical engineering, which combined my two passions - medicine and fixing things.

Unfortunately, there are some young girls who still grow up thinking that engineering and science aren't meant for women, so it is important to me to show that women can thrive in the world of engineering (or in any career they choose). Because of this, I have chosen to share my personal career path and experiences with the students at my daughter's local high school and with you on this blog.

Today, gender equality and diversity is just as important as ever. Imagine the great advances that could occur in engineering if men and women were working together more often to solve problems. While women have fought to win the rights that we have today, the battle is not over, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), where women are still significantly underrepresented.

In my current role, I have the great opportunity to search the country for Healthcare Technology Management professionals and hope that I can use my position to inspire more women to consider the field from an early age.

For those who may be interested in learning more about Sodexo and the jobs we have available, I highly recommend attending in person events, like the upcoming AAMI Conference & Convention, where Sodexo Clinical Technology Management operators and recruiters will be there in person to answer your questions and help you get to know our company better.

In the meantime, head over to our dedicated career page to read stories from both men and women in the Sodexo CTM organization and find out how you can become part of the team.

Sodexo: Understanding the Value of Veterans in the Workplace

Given the nature of missions, projects and experiences that they are have been exposed to, veterans possess key transferable skill sets and competencies that every organization can utilize.

By Bryan Hesse

Originally Published on Sodexo.

This August will be my fifth anniversary at Sodexo as a Senior Recruiter in Facilities Management for the Healthcare division, and as part of my development, I recently joined my fellow team member Yvonne Schuster as co-chair on the Military Recruitment Team.

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Sodexo VP Offers Advice to Women in Facilities Management

Lynn Baez is taking the facilities world by storm as a respected leader in the industry.

(A post from Sodexo's Career Blog)

This girl is on fire; hard hats and high heels, she is on fire!

While a slight variation from the inspirational Alicia Keys song about women finding their voice, it's quite fitting for Sodexo's Lynn Baez, CFM, SFP, FMP, CBCP, Vice President of Operations for Facilities Management. She oversees the facility operations of 130 sites in North and South America, including a $65 million portfolio in the United States.

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EY, Kaiser Permanente, Novartis, PwC and Sodexo have been inducted into DiversityInc's Top 50 Hall of Fame. The companies inducted into the Hall of Fame have demonstrated exceptional human capital management accomplishments and superior corporate values and culture.

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