Posts Tagged ‘social responsibility’

World FM Day: Creating, Sharing & Learning

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Gary Herald

Each year, there is a celebration around the world of all things Facilities Management (FM); it’s World FM Day.

It’s a day that the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), along with Global FM, set aside to harness the power of many to raise the profile of the FM profession.

This year’s theme, “creating, sharing, learning,” resonates with us at Sodexo as we strive to create new ways to look at FM, share best practices and learn from the great things we are accomplishing with our clients.

The role of the Facilities Management Professional is changing as the FM function is earning a seat at the strategy table in more and more organizations.

Corporate Real Estate executives have a chance to shape the future of their organization.

Click the picture for a look at Sodexo's latest workplace trends research.

It’s an exciting time not only from the cost and efficiency perspective, but also the asset and infrastructure planning perspective, and perhaps, most importantly, delivering increased performance of individuals and organizations.

With a climate of change afoot, it’s important to look at things differently, and that’s just what we are doing — from creating a way to measure impact in Quality of Life per Square Foot, to sharing our industry insights via our Workplace Trends Report.

For these reasons, our team of talented and committed professionals is excited to use World FM Day as a platform to celebrate all of the amazing work going on in the world of FM and to learn from other forward thinking professionals in our industry.

The role of Facilities Manager is changing.

We know that facilities management is a critical component in caring for the assets and infrastructure of a business, but it’s also critical for employee performance and engagement.

Believe me when I say C-Suites know that a company can only be as good as the engaging, innovative, and thriving environment they provide their employees.

But, whether it’s an energy management solution, an infrastructure renewal project, or a facility redesign to optimize work space, the conversations are taking place at all levels.

Today’s facilities solutions are mission critical to an organization’s culture and ultimately their future.

Join the conversation with us @SDX_Solutions and #worldfmday on Twitter.

Gary Herald is senior vice president of Sodexo Facilities Management Solutions

Working Moms Make History

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Carol Evans

During this Women’s History Month I am struck by just how much history is being made for working moms right now. In fact, it’s hard to remember when, in my lifetime, we have been the subjects of so much attention.

First there is Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. At first, working moms of all stripes were excited last summer when Yahoo! named Marissa Mayer CEO, even as her maternity leave loomed just a few months away. But soon she began concerning us–first with her two-week maternity leave and most recently with her ban on work-from-home policies across the company. Was she discounting all the progress made by corporate America and documented by the Working Mother 100 Best Companies over the past 27 years?  Doesn’t she realize that flexibility is an incredibly powerful benefit that can boost employee engagement and loyalty, while lowering absenteeism and ‘presenteeism’…not to mention being a boon to the bottom line?

On a brighter note, there’s Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. Last year I wrote a blog post about how Sandberg is living the working mother’s dream. She set a great example of how flex can work even at the highest levels of the corporate world when she announced that she would be leaving work at 5:30 pm each day so that she could have dinner with her family. And now, with her new book, Lean In, she tells women not to doubt their ability to combine work and family. She believes women who “lean in” and believe in themselves succeed professionally, and that they are in better position to ask for what they need and make changes that can benefit others.  It is especially telling that the book was reviewed by Anne Marie Slaughter, who made her own headlines by quitting a high-profile government job after only two years because she hadn’t taken steps to ensure work life balance in her own life, and she needed it back.

Now, a new study by the Pew Research Center shows that the number of moms who prefer to work full-time has risen to 32 percent from just 20 percent five years ago, according to a report released on March 14. Additionally, the study shows that moms and dads increasingly share not only the duties of earning money and taking care of kids, but also the emotional burdens associated with each. The new data showing that dads want to spend more time at home and moms are pursuing substantial careers illustrate the cultural shift we’ve all been living, and that the Working Mother Research Institute has been tracking.

What can we take away from all this? I believe that If both parents –those at all levels, not just the high-profile ones in the C-suite—had the option to work flexible hours we’d all feel more positive about our kids, our families, and ourselves, and more hopeful about our careers and companies. Working Mother supports companies like Sodexo that are openly committed to flex, making it a true business focus. Sodexo’s Flexibility Implementation Team continues to work to embed flex into the complete Sodexo culture. Sodexo understands that flex is not only the right thing to do; it’s also good for business. As more companies follow Sodexo’s lead, they will all fare the better for it, as will our families. And working moms will continue to make history.

Carol Evans is president of Working Mother Media. You can also find both her and her company on Twitter.

The Long Road to Relief and Recovery

Monday, September 19th, 2011

The emergency shelter set up at Binghamton University.

As most of us on the east coast saw first-hand, Hurricane Irene, then the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, wreaked havoc in our towns and communities. Power outages, wind damage and flooding were commonplace up and down the eastern portion of the United States.

From Virginia to Vermont, Sodexo employees showed true Sodexo spirit in preparing for and managing the storms and their aftermath.

Our team in New York at Binghamton University worked valiantly 24/7 to provide those affected with three meals per day; not to mention special diets for the elderly and small children, people with religious dietary needs and food allergies, and soft food diets.

In upstate New York at SUNY New Paltz, our team persevered through extensive power outages to serve 13 residential halls, as well as a temporary Red Cross shelter about 5,000 meals a day.

In Southern Vermont, the damage was particularly bad – widespread power outages and massive floods hit large areas of the state. Roads and bridges in places like Wilmington, Dover, Northfield, Brattleboro, Bennington and Rutland were either washed out, destroyed or impassable.

At the World Learning in Brattleboro, Sodexo produced 600 meals that were distributed to area residents. Brattleboro was all but cut off to the outside world because of washed out bridges and roads. Even though the local grocery store shelves were empty, Sodexo was able to utilize its resources to feed those affected by the storm for seven days straight.

In hard hit Rutland, the onsite Sodexo team was able to create a make-shift food distribution center. Our team was able to recruit almost 60 volunteers to help with the production of 1,200 sandwiches.  These meals were packed into several Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles, which then made dangerous treks to more than 25 communities without even the most basic of services. The Sodexo Rutland location continued this emergency response for 10 days.

Finally, on a personal note, at Norwich University, in Northfield, Sodexo had nine employees lose much of their belongings. In addition to providing them with food, the Sodexo Employee Disaster Relief Fund is currently assisting with rebuilding their lives.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who is helping out with efforts for displaced members of their community and those affected by this extreme weather. The inspiring Sodexo teams in New York and Vermont, along with many others, are doing important and meaningful work, and no doubt there are more selfless acts of generosity to come – it’s the Spirit of Sodexo.

Tom Post is the President of Sodexo Education – Campus

Showing our spirit of service with Sodexo Servathon

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

For additional photos, click on the picture above

As a service organization and culture, Sodexo demonstrates care for our communities and the people we interact with every day and in many ways. It’s one of the things that truly energizes me in my leadership role. This month, and every April, is one of the most exciting for our company and for me personally. This is when we come together as a global company for Sodexo’s own “Servathon,” in a month of service around the cause of stopping hunger.

Part of our overall contribution is through financial support through grants that fund important anti-hunger programs, operated by expert organizations. It’s important, but we believe it’s not enough to write checks — We need to get out there and give hands-on assistance wherever we can.

The Sodexo Servathon began 14 years ago, right here in the U.S. That first year, hundreds of Sodexo employees nationwide devoted one week to community service, volunteering at food banks, shelters, and other hunger-relief organizations. Since then, sadly, the issue of hunger has grown – with it, so has the Sodexo Servathon. The entire month of April is now devoted to this initiative at Sodexo accounts worldwide.

Sodexo Servathon PSA

Over the years, Sodexo Servathon has grown so much that in one year, more than 33,000 global Sodexo employees have joined forces to donate more than 100,000 pounds of food to hunger relief organizations and serve 50,000 meals to hungry men, women and children. This year, in at least 30 countries, Sodexo employees will partner with several non-profits and organizations to serve food, raise funds, and empower those in need by providing nutrition, hygiene and food safety education, among other activities.

With millions of people now at risk for hunger in the United States, including 17 million children, food stamp rolls at record numbers, and food banks struggling to keep up with demand, programs like Sodexo’s Servathon have never been more important. 

Its one way this company is making a difference, but we couldn’t do that without the commitment of our employees.

That’s the Sodexo way… that’s the spirit of service. I invite all of you to join us in the important fight against hunger. However you choose to do it, every one of us has the power to make every day a better day for those in need.

George Chavel is president and CEO of Sodexo North America.

A Commitment to 31 Million Children

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Click to watch President Obama sign the Healthy & Hunger-Free Kids Act into law.

Today I joined the students of Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington, DC as we witnessed President Barack Obama signing into law the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, boosting the health, quality and wellness of school nutrition.

Congress hasn’t made a significant increase to funding for school nutrition since their parents were in elementary school – 30 years ago! I am so excited about this legislation because it paves the way for the most significant improvement to school lunches and childhood nutrition in three decades. Not to mention 31 million children will benefit.

Sodexo has long supported USDA programs and is a strong partner in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to end childhood obesity in this generation. The well being of our nation’s students is a top priority for us. Sodexo understands the link between student health, academic performance and lifelong success.

We make our long-term commitments to our nation’s young come to life in a number of ways, which are reinforced in the new law. For example, we are working with our suppliers to look for new ways to make food healthier, but yet still appealing to kids. That means reducing sodium and fat, and increasing whole grain consumption while still producing food kids will eat – remember it’s not nutritious if they’re not eating it.

We at Sodexo are also finding ways to increase physical activity, educate kids about healthy eating and fighting the root causes of hunger – all outside school cafeterias. Some of our most innovative programs include teaching kids to cook, which fosters lifelong good nutrition. Our A to Z Salad Bar exposes students to healthy and exciting new flavors. Our backpack and summer feeding programs ensure that students at risk of hunger are nourished even when school is closed.

But perhaps the most important role we can play is to increase students’ access to meal programs. Several studies tell us that academic success is fueled by good nutrition. We encourage parents to visit the school meal information page to learn more. If you are eligible, sign up and give your child the best chance at success. 

I wrote about several programs geared toward student success and would love to hear your stories of educational achievement through better nutrition or physical activity.

Lorna Donatone is chief operating officer and president of the Education Segment for Sodexo.

Our People: The True Spirit of Sodexo

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

A few months ago, Sodexo was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 2010 by the Ethisphere Institute. You’ll see it on our website and in other places – we are obviously pleased to have this honor for the second consecutive year. Although this is a corporate award, it really belongs to the Sodexo employees who live our values every day. It is they who truly reflect Sodexo’s commitment to ethical leadership, compliance practices and corporate social responsibility.

Sodexo has more than 120,000 employees in North America, all focused on providing solutions to our clients’ biggest challenges, and so many of them regularly go above and beyond, continually raising the bar for all of us.  I was reminded in a delightful way recently at Sodexo’s annual Spirit of Sodexo awards ceremony a few weeks ago. Here, we recognize Sodexo employees who go above and beyond the call of duty to represent Sodexo in the community. Two of the award-winning stories really stood out for me.

Anne Marie Brown, a general manager at a New Jersey senior living center, works with community organizations like The Arc and Employment Horizons to provide job opportunities for persons with disabilities. Thanks to her efforts, Sodexo hired 10 new employees to work in our dietary and laundry departments and the company was recognized by the community specifically for her work. In fact, the New Jersey state legislature created a “Sodexo Day” proclamation based solely on Anne Marie’s work with the disabled.

Another great example is Keith Nocco, a general manager at a New Jersey school district. Without hesitating, Keith flew to American Samoa immediately after last year’s devastating tsunami disaster to help our local team feed students and the community as part of the island’s recovery efforts. Despite limited equipment and facilities, Keith and the rest of our team managed to produce 1,000 meals every hour! He led such a significant recovery efforts for Sodexo that Fono, the American Samoa legislature, formally thanked Keith and his colleagues during a legislative session last October.

When I hear the stories of Anne Marie, Keith and countless other employees across the country, I am humbled by their work and honored to be part of what I truly believe to be one of the world’s most ethical companies.

I know many companies have good stories to tell, too – we always want to learn, so please comment here and tell me your stories – what companies have you come across recently that show their values by treating their customers and employees well?

It might just give you, and me, even more reasons to be thankful during this season. From all of us at Sodexo, Happy Thanksgiving.

George Chavel is president and chief executive officer of Sodexo North America

Feeding Hope in Chile

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Click the picture for additional photos of our Sodexo team at the Chile Mine Rescue

A few days after the mine accident in Chile, which trapped 33 men 2000 feet below the earth, our Sodexo Chile team mobilized all its capabilities and experience to deliver a requirement of every rescue worker – food.

Our teammates in Chile worked tirelessly to come up with a creative way to feed warm, nutritious meals to almost 300 people working 24 hours a day on the rescue effort. Our own Sodexo heroes were able to come up with the means necessary to move the required supplies and food from Santiago, the Capital of Chile, all the way to the rescue site, about 560 miles away.

A dozen of Sodexo’s people worked daily in this operation, who with great dedication and professionalism, ensured that nothing was lacking to those working in the rescue of 33 miners.

Sodexo began “feeding hope” on August 16th. At that time we didn’t know what the outcome would be. Six days later, on August 22nd, an incredible piece of good news filled the camp – all 33 miners were alive. The message out of the shaft: “Estamos bien en el refugio los 33” — – Translated, “All 33 of us are well inside the shelter.” We were so inspired day after day up to and including the moment each miner brought to the surface alive and well.

In almost two months of volunteer work, and in coordination with the authorities, Sodexo distributed more than 50,000 thousand meals, equivalent to 40 tons of food to rescuers, authorities, police and army forces, among other representatives.

We at Sodexo offered the donation of food and services to the local Government, because we realize during events such as these, we become one united people, all hoping for the same outcome. We had the means and the supplies, so we considered our involvement just part of our commitment as good corporate citizens. We are incredibly happy to see this mission of hope turn into a celebration of joy.

Janet Awad is director general of Sodexo operations in Chile.

“Be the Change” from the inside out.

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Click the picture to see more photos from our "Be the Change" events.

Most companies say they have a mission. If you’re like most people, you are skeptical about what that means, especially these days when it seems there are so many reasons not to trust large companies.

After all, can companies really operate their businesses successfully, keep their stockholders, employees and partners happy AND fulfill a mission that has to do with public or social needs? I can tell you how one company makes it work — from the inside out.

This weekend, for the fourth consecutive year, in seven cities across the nation, Sodexo employees participated in a national day of community service called Be the ChangeSodexo is the primary corporate sponsor for the event, which is organized by one of our nonprofit partners, a DC area-based organization called South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).

Be the Change, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote “you must be the change you wish to see in the world,” galvanizes volunteers, beginning with college students, to come together to make a difference through helping nonprofits and charities in one grand day of collaborative service. The day of service is intended to draw attention to the needs of communities as well as provide help that lasts.

In 2009, more than 3,000 people contributed 6,000 service hours in 70 cities and campuses across the country for Be the Change. This year, in Washington DC, after a kickoff meeting at George Washington University, Sodexo employees volunteered at Capital Area Food Bank. The team, joined by volunteers from other areas, bagged canned and dry foods for a special distribution to more than 1,200 seniors in the nation’s capitol.

It was a special weekend, but you’ll find Sodexo employees volunteering in communities on any given weekend. You see, Sodexo is a service company, and we like to say that hospitality is in our DNA. We see a need, and we respond immediately. It’s why the work of the Sodexo Foundation, which is focused on stopping hunger, is a great fit as the company’s charitable mission. To Sodexo, helping means much more than making grants to hunger related organizations. We engage our employees to provide direct service and help the families who need us.

Right now, the need has never been greater. With 49 million Americans hungry or at risk of hunger, an estimated 17 million of them children, in one of the most prosperous nations on earth, hunger is truly a critical issue that must be solved before yet another generation suffers from hunger and its ill effects.

In the face of this dire need, we are all called upon to be generous in sharing our strengths and expertise wherever possible, whether as individuals, nonprofits or large corporations.

I ask that you think about what small or large action you can take today that can shine a light on a need in your community, and maybe even help to solve that need. I encourage you to take some time to reflect on the impact that your personal leadership can have, and how you can be the change.

Jaya K. Bohlmann is vice president of public relations for Sodexo.

Interested in finding out more about South Asian Americans Leading Together or SAALT? Click here to read their blog, The SAALT Spot.