Diversity and inclusion: A business imperative and a differentiator

Through its internal study Sodexo finds gender balanced teams outperform the ones which are not.

Shot of colleagues having a brainstorming session on a glass wall at work

Staying successful and relevant in a continuously evolving and fiercely competitive economic environment has made transformation a DNA. It has also led organisations to focus on performance, productivity and agility.

In 2014, Sodexo launched an internal study to explore and understand the correlation between gender-balanced management and performance. Part two of the same was released in 2018.

We now have over five years of data, covering 50,000 managers in 70 entities worldwide, that suggests gender-balanced teams outperform those that are not gender balanced, and the optimal mix of gender is 40 per cent to 60 per cent women.

Gender, race, age, language, religion and culture have, for long, been obstacles to a diverse workforce. Diversity of ideas, perceptions, viewpoints, economic/educational background and so on transforms workplaces into vibrant, in-demand spaces, where success and growth are inevitable.

Promoting and implementing diversity and inclusion

Successful D&I involves not just having policies in place, but implementing them in word and spirit. Continued process, empathy, involvement of all, open and transparent culture, are just some of the factors that ensure the spirit of D&I is embodied in the culture.

The ‘Spirit of Inclusion’

Sodexo Benefit and Rewards India is proud of a gender balance of 32 per cent representation of women employees across levels and roles, from Individual contributors and people managers to the leadership team.

At Sodexo, we believe that merely promoting numbers to prove diversity, without the spirit of inclusion is meaningless. Sodexo not just prides in having a number to promote its gender diversity, but also in truly living by the ‘Spirit of Inclusion’, by having women in important roles that impact the future of the brand and contribute to the success of Sodexo.

• It should not surprise you to know that the efforts of digitisation at Sodexo, the leader in digital employee benefits and solutions, is led by a woman.

Partner with Sodexo, the leader in employee benefits for an enhanced employee experience.

• At Sodexo, 46 per cent of the roles in sales and marketing are represented by women. These impactful customer and stakeholder management roles contribute immensely to the differentiation of the brand and make us the leader in the industry.

• ‘Excellence in customer service’ is a key differentiator when it comes to other players in the market that Sodexo BRS operates in. Here again, we happily leverage the natural customer centricity competencies associated with the women professionals.

The ‘Spirit of Equality’

• Equality in policies: Women-friendly policies, such as need-based work from home, co-sharing of child care benefits, condensed working hours, need-based sabbaticals, have been introduced with the intention of retaining and providing a conducive environment for our women employees. However, the same has been extended to all employees of the firm, regardless of their gender.

• Equality of generations: The oldest employee of Sodexo BRS India is a baby boomer associated with us for the last 10 years and the youngest is a Gen Z, giving us a variety of diverse views and a strong foundation of experience vs a young energetic set of employees with bright futuristic ideas.

• Equality in pay: Sodexo prides itself in being a firm that promotes the culture of meritocracy and performance, while being neutral to the gender of the employee.

• Equality to perform and grow: A healthy percentage of promotions, 37 per cent were bagged by women employees, which not just embodies our faith in their contribution to important roles that make a difference, but also the value of diversity of thoughts and capabilities to lead and manage.

Respect, openness, transparency, listening, ensuring equability in remuneration and benefits, and an environment which offers equal opportunities for professional and personal growth are indispensable for an inclusive workplace.

From generational demographic diversity, to higher representation of women at all levels of hierarchy, diversity is embedded in all functions and levels. This fosters an inclusive culture with higher employee engagement and talent retention.

These are just a few examples and facts that support the philosophy of managing the expectations of employees and are critical to creating the ‘perfect’ environment at work. Adapting and embracing these changes will help organisations become open, transparent and fluid. Because they help create workplaces which are diverse, accessible and inclusive; places where the diversity of the talent pool is central to the overall growth and success of the organisation.

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