Success through expertise

Sodexo has built its business – and expertise – around improving quality of life

To become a leader in any industry, a company needs to become an expert; for a business as diverse as Sodexo, it’s vital to stay close to the core of the company’s mission to achieve this.

Sodexo’s focus is on improving quality of life for its customers, clients and employees. But the company’s connection to quality of life extends beyond its own work: through research, conferences and an online hub, Sodexo aims to build our understanding of what quality of life really means, why it’s important and how it can be improved.

Quality of life at work

According to the Sodexo website, “Today, it is generally recognized that addressing employees’ quality of life is vital to worker well-being and also to the health of the business – and, in fact, it is essential for driving performance in both the private and public sector. This is why Sodexo has spent the last 50 years building unique Quality of Life expertise.”

Through a recent survey of 4,805 SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) leaders in seven countries, Sodexo showed that investing in improving people’s quality of life at work is not only beneficial for their wellbeing, but also good for the bottom line.

A reported 96 percent of global leaders say quality of life is important in their business, and 68 percent think improving it should be considered a strategic investment.

The survey gave an insight into why: after starting an initiative to improve employees’ quality of life, 86 percent of SMEs noted improvements in productivity too; this was even higher (89 percent) for initiatives like daycare and a concierge service, designed to improve employees’ work-life balance. And 82 percent of SMEs noticed an improvement in the atmosphere at work when they made healthier meals available.

Companies are increasingly taking this knowledge into account. 60 percent already have a budget dedicated to improving employees’ quality of life, and 91 percent of leaders think it will become more important in the coming years. At the moment they’re facing challenges of cost (53 percent) and lack of culture and understanding to support initiatives (21 percent). But more than half of business leaders believe the younger generation will bring the change needed.

Building quality of life expertise

The company’s solution – to put people at the center of organizations and society as a whole – is paying off; with an annual revenue of more than €20 billion, the approach seems to be working. There are three ways Sodexo builds and shares its expertise.

Online hub

Sodexo’s Quality of Life Observer website is a “hub dedicated to the topic of Quality of Life.” Visitors can read the latest information and explore quality of life issues across sectors that the company operates in, including healthcare, education and business.

Conference

Sodexo organized its first Quality of Life Conference in 2015. The conference aimed to explore novel solutions and look at “measurable and realistic ways to make progress – drawing on the collective experience of thinkers, influencers and consumers from across the globe.”

Sodexo Institute for Quality of Life

In 2009, Sodexo founded an in-house think-tank, “to gather and develop insight, by looking mainly externally to universities, other institutes and centers of expertise, to help Sodexo understand better what are the drivers of Quality of Life, how they contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations.” This Institute for Quality of Life organizes roundtables globally and publishes reports on topics like loneliness in healthcare, obesity, and robotics in the workplace.