Recognized as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 22, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Sodexo Canada Ltd. was selected as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2018):
- Employees at Sodexo Canada's head office are encouraged to keep fit at the onsite shared-use fitness facility and also receive a fitness club subsidy as part of their health benefits plan
- 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 Top Employers for Young People
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Sodexo Canada Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018):
- 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
- Sodexo Canada offers an international mobility program, allowing employees to work in one of the 79 countries Sodexo operates in -- participants work for up to 1 week in their chosen destination and are matched with a local mentor
- 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 -- young hires are paired with a "hosting manager" who helps prepare them for their new roles, as well as understand the company's mission and values
Sodexo Canada cooks up flexibility and opportunity
When Jamie Kreiner started at Sodexo Canada Ltd., she was sure she wanted to be president one day. "I always shoot for the stars," she says. But now that she's been at the global food and facilities management firm for a while, she finds she really enjoys the area where she works -- Operations. "So I'd still like to go up the ladder but be more Operations-focused," she says. "I'm kind of in a transition phase."
She should have no problem fulfilling her changing ambitions, because Sodexo is all about flexibility and a wide-ranging set of opportunities for young people. "We promote internally for 80 per cent of our roles, and we aim for 100 per cent at the top level," says Suzanne Bergeron, Vice-President Human Resources. Bergeron herself started as an administrative assistant 13 years ago.
Kreiner, a graduate of Brock University's media and communications program, entered as a summer intern in Sodexo's Burlington, Ont. head office before her post-grad year in public relations at Niagara College, not far from the famous falls. She continued with Sodexo during her studies. "They were very flexible and understanding about my hours," she says.
That led to full-time roles in marketing and in the field, and eventually to a talk with a senior executive about her future. "He said you need to go back into Operations to understand how the company works," she says. So Kreiner helped oversee food services at one of the many cafeteria operations that Sodexo runs for major corporations and then, in 2017, she became one of the company's youngest General Managers.
Kreiner now watches over the Sodexo operations, including food and cleaning services, for pharmaceutical giant GSK Canada in Mississauga, Ont. She feeds 1,100 people in Mississauga, and has a team of 47. "I really enjoy the Operations side," she says. "I like the challenges that it brings, and the client and customer interaction."
The ability to move around the company in various roles is a big part of the Sodexo way, says Bergeron. Managers at the sites, like Kreiner, have to submit a succession plan so the company knows "who will take over when you move up," she says. Or move laterally -- Sodexo is also very open to people working in similar jobs in various places.
Hourly-paid staff, from cooks to cleaners, are encouraged to get involved in training programs to advance. "With all the tools we put at your disposal -- like development, mentorship and job shadowing -- you can grow within the company," Bergeron says. A formal mentorship program called Impact offers mentees a full year of partnership with a senior person. There is tuition reimbursement for people going back to school, including for master's degrees.
The opportunities to move in the France-based company can also be national or global -- by design. Bergeron, who is based in Montreal, remembers being surprised when she first saw in her terms of employment that she might be asked if she wanted to work in another city, province or even country. "I did five years in France," she says. Currently some 1,000 Sodexo staff worldwide are working outside their native countries.
Flexibility is a big part of life at Sodexo's main offices in Burlington, Montreal and Burnaby, B.C. Few people have designated workspaces, and working externally is very common. "You can work from home or any other venue -- a café or a worklab," says Bergeron. "We're also very flexible about hours -- we're results-oriented rather than 9 to 5."
For young people, says Kreiner, Sodexo offers the vista of a full career. "A lot of people have been here 15, 20, 25 years," she notes. "With the work-life balance and the benefits and the support that Sodexo provides, it's an environment where you want to come to work."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers
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."