Tackling your talent strategy with Sodexo webinar summary

To celebrate the reopening of Hospitality venues Indeed Flex hosted a series of webinars. The webinars supported business owners and workers alike,...

Indeed Flex

24 May 2021

5 min read

To celebrate the reopening of Hospitality venues Indeed Flex hosted a series of webinars. The webinars supported business owners and workers alike, with up to date information on regulations and useful insights from professionals in the hospitality industry. 

Indeed, Flex’s Phil Houlihan was joined by 3 HR leaders from industry giants Sodexo.

  • Ryan Candy, Change, Engagement, Wellbeing & Performance Leader
  • Katherine Bell, Head of Talent Acquisition and Resourcing 
  • Ryan Underhill, Business Support Director

Who is Sodexo?

Sodexo is a food and facilities management company. With a mission to improve quality of life, they offer a wide range of On-site, Benefits and Rewards and Personal and Home Services. The Sodexo team discussed a range of topics surrounding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the organisation. 

How has Sodexo handled the pandemic?

Ryan Candy began the discussion by talking through the incredible initiatives Sodexo put in place to help minimise the impact of the pandemic on its employees. “I couldn’t be more proud of working for an organisation that’s handled the pandemic in the way that we have.” The initiatives included:

  1. Employee relief fund – Senior executives at Sodexo collated a €30 million fund to support any in-need colleagues and their families. It was for those who had been impacted by the pandemic.
  2. Counselling service – In June 2020 Sodexo launched a face-to-face counselling service to support over 6000 frontline workers.
  3. Enhanced sick pay provision – Frontline workers at Sodexo received support to enable them to take off time from work due to health. 

Katherine Bell shared how Sodexo tackled the pandemic from a staffing and resources point of view. “Putting in place a really well-constructed redeployment plan and implementing that for our employees facing redundancy was really important…in order to find individuals alternative opportunities across the business.”

Sodexo’s outplacement hub 

This delivered clear guidelines to anyone in the business facing the risk of redundancy. The hub included interview techniques, personal brand tips, networking skills and more. “The future of work is going to look different but it’s exciting. What the pandemic has taught us more than anything is that individuals do have transferable skills.”

Ryan Underhill gave us some specific insights into what Sodexo achieved through their quick reaction to the pandemic. “We managed to redeploy over 100 staff into different segments within the first week of lockdown” Sodexo also redeployed over 600 staff into testing centres and healthcare to support within the peak period.

What are the key staffing challenges as restrictions begin to ease?

Katherine Bell told us the biggest challenge currently faced is the issue of uncertainty.

What is really supporting us and what will continue to support us as a business moving forward is really smart technology. I know a lot of our competitors are really utilising that and channelling a lot of their budgets and time in looking at smart tech… The use of artificial intelligence and the use of a CRM system, which we are in the process of building is really going to support us in communicating to a wider audience”

Moving onto the topic of Brexit Katherine explained that Sodexo’s employer brand will be key to ensure they are enticing new talent to their organisation.

“We’ve been planning for Brexit, as a business, for a year now. We’ve looked at shortages, we’ve looked at numerous alternative options and our internal teams have really worked hard to mitigate risk. What I will say is communication. One of the things that has really stood out to me coming out of the pandemic is the importance of communication.”

What are the strategies and tactics Sodexo has put in place for 2021?

Ryan Underhill spoke about the mixed emotions of anxiety and optimism as the hospitality industry reopens.

“We decided at the beginning of this year that we needed to put together a bit of a project around re-engagement…some of our teams would have been out of their sites for 15 months so in essence, we needed to start to consider how these people would feel.”

Sodexo conducted an engagement survey to find out how their workers had been impacted by the pandemic, meaning they would have a better understanding of their mindsets. The survey also asked the employees what they would need to come back to work as efficiently as possible.

“[The survey] was fantastic. It allowed us to build a plan to get these people back”

What health and wellbeing services do Sodexo offer their workers?

Ryan Candy took the lead in this question to explore what Sodexo does to care for its workers’ mental and physical well-being across the company. “We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellbeing just doesn’t work… Our strategy is reflective of this.” Sodexo offers their employees a list of helpful services and support, including…

  • Employee assistance programmes
  • Financial wellbeing support
  • Access to a private GP
  • Self-help learning content

“The word of the year – agile” – Katherine Bell, Sodexo

The full discussion went into further detail across these topics and more. Ending on a Q&A, the webinar gave us a fantastic deep dive into why Sodexo’s wins throughout the pandemic and their strategic plans for the future.