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Sodexo: How diversity commitments have become part of its culture

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The biggest challenge, Horsburgh said, was to promote talented women to management and leadership positions. “The cornerstone of that strategy is SWIFt – the Sodexo Women’s International Forum for talent. Launched seven years ago, the forum brings together senior female leaders and aims to identify and put in place the right strategy and actions to promote the advancement of women.”

SWIFt has been instrumental in helping more than 2,000 women find mentors, she explained.

But more has been needed to further push the female agenda. Sodexo runs numerous employee networks, which are designed to be inclusive and open to all employees – Generations, Origins and Pride to name a few. But Horsburgh brought our attention to Women Work.

Launched in 2011, the Women Work network focuses on the progression of women within Sodexo. Over 300 members joined within two months of its launch. “There is a well established programme of events including an annual conference and mentoring scheme as well as initiatives to mark International Women’s Day,” said Horsburgh. The network is not exclusively for women, men are also encouraged to join.

“Since the network’s launch the engagement of female employees has improved and feedback about interaction throughout the organisation has been extremely positive,” she explained. And to ensure staff at managerial level are fully informed about Sodexo policies and equipped to deliver those messages throughout the company, they undergo something called Spirit of Inclusion training. This is a one-day face-to-face programme which aims to raise awareness of D&I as well as providing the legal context and business case for commitment to the strategy.

Sodexo’s approach to D&I also extends into Sodexo’s relationship with its clients – the company hosts workshops with them and other stakeholders to engage in discussion about gender diversity, for example. “It’s an ideal opportunity to share best practice and learn from each other’s experiences,” added Horsburgh.

Moving forward, Sodexo plans to make its D&I commitment even more visible and more front-of-mind among its workforce and clients. “We are continuously working closely with our employees to build the sense that Sodexo is a good company and a good place to work which they would recommend to their friends,” concluded Horsburgh.

We leave you with these parting words from Landel in his 2015 article on gender equality: “While acknowledging that we still have a long way to go, I am proud of our progress, and the hard work and commitment of teams around the world.”

THE POLL IS NOW CLOSED – RESULTS WILL BE REVEALED AT THE FIRST WOMEN AWARDS ON 22 JUNE.


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