Recognized as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 20, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Sodexo Canada Ltd. was selected as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2019):
- Sodexo Canada helps employees plan for the future with contributions to a defined contribution pension plan, retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options once they near retirement -- the company also organizes social and volunteering activities for alumni to participate in post-retirement
- Sodexo Canada encourages employees to provide feedback on which charitable causes to support and maintains a focus on initiatives that fight hunger and poverty -- additionally, the company encourages employees to get involved with paid volunteer time and matching charitable donations
- Sodexo Canada encourages ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions (to $1,500 annually) and manages a variety of in-house training initiatives, including an international mobility mentorship program to provide employees with an opportunity to explore a career abroad
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 1, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Sodexo Canada Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018):
- Sodexo Canada maintains a "disABILITY" strategy to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities, and recently committed to hiring over 200 individuals with disabilities in 2017 and more than 500 hires in 2018 (in partnership with Ready Willing and Able Canada) -- the company also maintains a global Disability Voice Taskforce, which focuses on projects that encourage an inclusive, adapted work environment
- Sodexo Canada participated in the Disabilities Mentoring Day program, which pairs job-ready persons with disabilities with companies that use the skills they have or develop them through training
- With over 200 members, Sodexo Canada's Women in Leadership and Learning (WiLL) program provides development opportunities for female team leaders -- the company also created a subgroup within WiLL called Women in Facilities Management, to promote women in science, technology, engineering and math fields, and hosts the Sodexo Women's International Forum for Talent to help increase the number of women in senior leadership roles
"I've had experience working on teams that are mostly men, or teams that are mostly women, and now I have the pleasure of working on gender balanced teams. And it really does make a difference. You can tell people are more creative, they feel they can be themselves, and they participate more in discussions." Jennifer G., Senior Director, Business Development
There's a banquet of diverse opportunities at Sodexo
Robert Lebel knows a lot about diversity and inclusion, just from being who he is. Not only is he a member of the Oneida First Nation, he is also a person with a disability -- hearing impairment. So he has credibility when he tells you that his seven years at Sodexo Canada have been the best of his career, not only for his work and for the support he has received, but for Sodexo's full-on approach to diversity in the workplace.
"It's wonderful," says Lebel, now Claims Manager for Ontario. "It's energizing for individuals. It's welcoming, it's very open. There's no hiding it. It's out there in the forefront and that's what I really enjoy the most -- we promote it so much."
Lebel is speaking partly as a member of Sodexo's Diversity and Inclusion Council, but also from his varied career at the Burlington, Ont.-based food and facilities management company. Hearing impaired since he was 18, he has worked in human resources for some 30 years, for large organizations and for non-profits.
In 2010, he joined Sodexo as a compensation advisor at head office. He wears two hearing aids, and when he's in an office environment, has a telephone and computer headset provided by Sodexo. He has no difficulty talking on the phone or in person, but sometimes prefers to move out of large rooms into smaller ones for meetings.
In 2013, he took up an opportunity to move into Operations -- which runs Sodexo's many onsite cafeterias and other support services -- and work as First Nations relations manager in a northern Ontario power workers camp. "It was a chance to use my talents and my passion as an Aboriginal," he says. He later served as assistant general manager there and as a quality assurance manager in northern Manitoba.
In such remote areas, he says, Sodexo works hard to help Indigenous employees fit into a large, structured corporation, and to prepare them to move to other sites or other roles in the company if they want. "We also look at how we may have to do things differently as an organization, such as offer time off for an Indigenous person to go hunting with their family during hunting season, because it's part of their culture. We'll do our best to accommodate that."
When he had to return to head office in 2015 for family reasons, "Sodexo was really awesome in helping me transition back," he says. He was delighted to work on the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games held in Toronto that year as assistant HR manager.
Now he handles employees' injury claims lodged with Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, working mainly from home. He's also heavily involved in the Diversity council, currently serving as co-vice-chair of the Adept employee resource group for people with disabilities, one of six Sodexo ERGs. "We share best practices and look at how we can all work together," he says.
Katherine Power, Vice President Corporate Affairs, says diversity is "part of who we are" at Sodexo, a global company. "It's been part of our values since the company was founded 52 years ago in France," she says. "It's really embedded into our culture."
Given that food services and other facilities work often attracts new immigrants, Sodexo Canada especially takes those values to heart, she says. Currently, too, the global company is focused on gender balance. "In Canada, 87 per cent of our management teams are gender-balanced," she says, meaning "40 to 60 per cent, either way" between women and men.
In Canada, says Power, the number one priority is hiring people with disabilities, like Lebel. "It's an untapped population that is very educated and under-hired," she says. "So we see that as a great opportunity for us. We have so many different kinds of jobs where we can find a good fit."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2019):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 17, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Sodexo Canada Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2019):
- Sodexo Canada manages the "Sharing Across Generations" networking group, which organizes activities to help employees of all generations forge connections in the workplace -- the group also offers training on topics such as multigenerational management and engagement
- Through Sodexo Canada's "Rising Stars" program, the company provides paid internships and co-op placements, and hires promising participants into full-time entry-level management positions
- Sodexo Canada offers an international mobility program, allowing employees to work in one of the 80 countries Sodexo operates in -- participants work for up to 1 week in their chosen destination and are matched with a local mentor