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Sodexo Professionals Engagement

Business services & Communications
Large (20,000 or more)
  Diversity initiatives, Leadership development, Mentoring, Training
Professionals Engagement Program: a program that encourages non-exempt support professionals to gain skills that benefit them at work and in their personal lives.

Sodexo Professionals Engagement


Industry: Business Services
Profit Status: For-profit
Workforce Size: 420,000 employees

  Diversity initiatives, Leadership development, Mentoring, Training

Sodexo recognized the need to provide opportunities for growth and advancement to non-exempt support professionals and to promote a stronger sense of connection to the company.

Goals  & Objectives

To provide non-exempt support professionals with opportunities to grow and advance their skills, both within the workplace and in their personal lives.

Project Highlights

Key features of the program include:

  1. The program is designed for 1200 “out of unit” professionals who serve in the capacity of administrator, coordinator, specialist & technical support roles.
  2. There is a task force of 12 members based at Headquarters who plan, design and execute the program.
  3. Participants can choose from an array of topics including project management, communications, stress management and interpersonal skills.  
  4. Participants can access informal mentoring engagements through a web-based platform where they can identify prospective mentoring partners.  In addition, a virtual community has been launched for peer learning exchanges via the system.
  5. The “Voice” newsletter, offered every other month, provides a centralized communication that informs participants of upcoming (quarterly) professional development opportunities, features heritage months, provides pointers about wellness, and highlights other organizational opportunities that may be of interest.

The outcomes and impact of the Sodexo Professionals Engagement Program include:

  • Initial kick off meetings in 2010 resulted in a 66% response rate (100 respondents), and the satisfaction rate based on the initial launch was at 98%.
  • In 2012, the program was expanded nationally within the United States.  In a follow up survey, of the 1200 respondents, 231 expressed interest in the program.
  • E-surveys that follow events indicate a steady 95% satisfaction, which are offered on a quarterly basis.

Employee testimonials:

Latitia, senior administrative assistant, said, “I jumped at the chance to join the [Professionals Engagement Program] task force, which has allowed me to step into a leadership role where I can share my ideas and develop creative solutions… It’s encouraging to see that Sodexo recognizes the administrative professional as an essential part of the company and understands that our career development is important… It shows me that career advancement is possible. Since joining the [program] it has given me a sense of empowerment, it makes me feel valued and most importantly, I feel engaged with the company.”

Setoria, program specialist, described several positive outcomes of the program, including opportunities for self-development, enhancing key professional competencies, increasing confidence and gaining self-awareness. “I now have a professional voice that I can call on…We have been given a platform to network and share best practices, participate in a mentee-driven mentorship program, be placed in leadership roles, and take advantage of professional development training sessions that also promote work-life balance.

Editor’s Note: The Sloan Center on Aging & Work recognizes that age is a multi-faceted concept. For a discussion of the aging experience, see our issue brief, Through a Different Looking Glass: The Prism of Age.  The innovative practices adopted by employers might address one or more than one of the different aspects of age.

The lessons learned include:

Eligible participants have expressed a preference for webinar options, which they can fit more easily within their roles and work schedules; this enables them to engage in program activities while remaining within their own work environments.

For additional information, contact The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College:

Copyright ©2013 Boston College The Sloan Center on Aging & Work

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