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Diversity In Action

Sodexo seeks experienced staff and works to ensure engagement

A comprehensive inventory of programs, groups and initiatives covers every possible angle to include and propel all employees in their careers


Sodexo, a French multinational company with U.S. headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD, delivers a variety of quality of life management and service solutions to 15 million consumers at 8,000 client sites in North America. The company provides food service and facilities management for educational, healthcare, government and corporate entities, plus in-home care, corporate concierge services and more.

“Facilities and technical services are significant growth areas for Sodexo,” says Arie Ball, vice president of sourcing and talent acquisition. “We have a world of career and advancement opportunities for engineering and information technology candidates.”

Seeking skilled technical professionals
Candidates with degrees in mechanical, electrical, biomedical or industrial engineering can work as facilities and technical managers in areas like clinical technology and energy solutions. Most of these roles require operations management or project management experience in the facilities or building construction industry, with the exception of positions in clinical technology management, where proficiency with medical equipment is the focus.

“Sodexo facilities engineers are proficient in project management software and financial accounting systems, and have technical design knowledge of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems,” Ball notes.

For IT professionals with computer science or electrical engineering degrees, Sodexo can provide careers as project managers, directors, enterprise and integration architects, database administrators, developers, programmers and system analysts. Candidates should be able to install, configure, customize and deploy applications, and write and test code. Ball reports that Sodexo seeks experience with Oracle PL/SQL and MS-SQL databases, along with the ability to develop functional specifications based on business requirements and extensive skill in software development and design.

Sodexo’s growth in technical services has brought changes to Sodexo’s systems architecture and increased the need for senior-level IT experience, she adds. A complete listing of career opportunities can be found at www.sodexofacilitiesjobs.com.

Recruiting women, veterans and other diverse talent
Sodexo has received recognition as a top employer of diverse talent, including a 2012 Catalyst award honoring exceptional business initiatives in North America that advance women in the workplace.

“We find experienced diverse technical talent by networking with groups committed to supporting and promoting diversity,” Ball reports. Sodexo’s recruiters search membership directories of LinkedIn groups that represent minorities and women in engineering and technical career fields, and connect with a range of groups that advocate for diverse technical professionals.

The company has supported a scholarship and held webinars on resume writing and interviewing for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and sponsored women’s panel discussions and events at the National Facilities Management and Technology Expo and for the Council for Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership.

“We attend and sponsor virtual career events targeting women and military/veteran candidates,” Ball adds. “This year, we conducted virtual career fairs with Milicruit, Corporate Gray, University of Phoenix, Women for Hire, and Women in Technology International.”

Because most of Sodexo’s engineering and IT positions require five or more years of experience, the company does not recruit from colleges on a large scale. But it does maintain relationships with select IT departments at universities around the country.

Fostering awareness and closing gaps
Spirit of Inclusion, an in-person, full-day diversity awareness and skills training workshop, is mandatory for managers and exempt employees.

“Attendees gain insights that help them lead and serve a diverse workforce and community effectively,” says Sandy Harris, VP of corporate diversity strategy and internal operations. “Ninety-two percent of respondents to a post-workshop survey say their participation was valuable to building their diversity awareness and skills.

“Many offerings for management and frontline employees address topics from micro-inequities to cross cultural communication,” she says. “Each year we expand and update our diversity learning lab offerings.”

Councils and EBRGs
“Diversity councils have been in place for more than a decade. Their charter is to operationalize and embed D&I; more deeply in Sodexo’s culture. We continue to optimize the model, and have transitioned from a business line-specific model to a cross market council. This is a grassroots group focused on workforce inclusion initiatives like onboarding, recognition, mentoring and work-life effectiveness,” Harris reports.

Task forces develop and implement diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout Sodexo’s operations, she adds. And nine employee business resource groups (EBRGs) are organized around shared experiences.

“Our resource groups are key drivers as we work to create a fully inclusive and open environment, and have the endorsement of senior leaders,” Harris notes. The Women’s Network Group, Sodexo’s largest EBRG, supports women’s personal and professional growth. It has more than 1,450 members and twenty regional chapters.

“To reach members across Sodexo’s regions, the group presents training modules as webinars,” Harris says. “And it recently launched a peer-to-peer mentoring circle program that includes twenty mentors and sixty-five mentees.”

A Sodexo international women’s forum was created in 2009 to accelerate gender balance. It brings together thirty-four senior leaders representing fifteen different nationalities from four continents and all areas of the organization, she explains.

The companywide cross-divisional and cross-functional mentoring initiative has grown from forty-five partnerships in 2004 to 143 partnerships in 2018, Harris reports. “Most are cross-race, cross-gender, or both, and even more connect across business lines,” she says.

“A career at Sodexo provides an opportunity to expand skills in the technical arena, as well as management and leadership skills,” Ball declares. “Careers at Sodexo are about developing solutions that have a significant impact on our clients and their ability to achieve strategic objectives.”

D/C




www.sodexo.com

Headquarters: Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
Employees: 420,000 worldwide, 125,000 U.S.
Revenues: $8.8 billion
Business: Quality of life services

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