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The Role of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community within Organizations

February 12, 2019

The world is full of people from all different backgrounds. But if the world is diverse, shouldn’t the workplace also be diverse? Even more so, shouldn’t we want a diverse workforce to meet our diverse customers’ needs? That would make businesses better at delivering their services, create a more engaged workforce, and ensure a more profitable organization. The research shows this to be all too true.

According to a survey conducted this year by Harvard Business Review, “companies with above-average total diversity … had both 19% points higher innovation revenues and 9% points higher EBIT margins, on average.”

A McKinsey analysis also found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile,” as well as “33% likelihood of outperformance on EBIT margin” for ethnic and cultural diversity.

This trend is only going to continue in the future, and with more urgency, too. According to PwC’s 20th annual CEO survey, diversity and inclusion was the top priority for global CEOs, with 83% agreeing that they promote diversity and inclusion initiatives.

It just goes to show that Inspirus and Sodexo’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is ahead of the curve as well as a strategic business opportunity. So, how do we do it?

We Are Committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our core values show that we believe in a service spirit, a team spirit, and a spirit of progress. In that way, Inspirus and Sodexo embed diversity and inclusion into our core values as we deliver quality of life around the globe.

We believe in anticipating our customers’ expectations while taking pride in satisfying them. To do that, we need to have a diverse workforce that’s able to see beyond our own lens of the world and undo our unconscious bias. Because it’s embedded in our core values, diversity and inclusion helps us hire and develop the best talent, as well as drive growth for our organization.

But DEI goes beyond our employees — it goes into the clientele and communities in which we live, work and serve. For us, DEI differentiates us and helps us become a real part of the community.

When we connect with and engage employees, we’re able to deliver better services at a better value. And that value is felt around the world as part of one global community.

We Are Enabling Community

Our commitment starts at the top with our president and CEO, along with a dedicated Global Chief Diversity Officer. The leadership at Sodexo has cast a vision to see how DEI affects our roles, our impacts and our commitments.

We acknowledge our three roles in creating DEI communities around the world:

  • As an employer
  • As a service provider through our solutions
  • As a corporate citizen

But what does this look like in a community, with all different types of diversity? As an employer, we foster an inclusive culture to enhance the quality of life for our people. As a service provider through our solutions, we democratize the employee experience as a global diversity and inclusion leader. And as a corporate citizen, we drive diversity and inclusion as a catalyst for societal change.

We have developed our approach to corporate responsibility by looking not only at the different roles that we play as a large global organization but also at the different impacts our actions have in the world.

And we focus on five dimensions. Together, they give us a lens through which we can see a wider world:

  • Cultures & Origins
  • Generations
  • LGBT
  • Disabilities
  • Gender

Sustaining these three roles and making progress in five dimensions across 12 global regions takes ongoing work. For starters, we’re sharing our work in progress in an annual year-end review. We also break down our work across regions to show unique opportunities and challenges.

Our commitment extends to our people, not just demographically, but in our leadership from the inside out. We actively participate in Sodexo's DEI team, made up of subject matter experts and leaders both inside and outside of the company.

The Diversity Leadership Council, Employee Business Resource Groups and Cross-Market Diversity Council help leaders collaborate and support ongoing and new diversity initiatives such as:

  • Training and development
  • Mentoring
  • Recognition
  • Supplier diversity
  • Client and community partnerships

Diversity and Inclusion Impacts Our Global Organization

We can tell you that diversity and inclusion makes enormous impacts on our organization, and we want to show you just a few of the ways our focus on diversity and inclusion has improved quality of life for employees, clients, partners and communities.

Improvements across multiple areas of employee satisfaction

On the 2016 Quality of Life Satisfaction survey among Swedish employees, user perception of efficiency in the workplace increased by 9.4%, overall satisfaction increased from 77% to 93%, and the impact on workplace living conditions on the overall state of wellness and well-being increased from 73% to 90% positive feedback.

Increasing diversity as a service provider

In 2017, Sodexo expanded its 2016 goal of reaching 1,500 women-owned businesses to include introducing the program to all the countries where they operate by 2025 and to generate 10 billion euro in business value for SMEs, from purchasing and merchant partnerships.

Embracing our role as a good corporate citizen

Sodexo made a commitment to combat violence against women in six Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico and Argentina) and India through awareness, training, economic opportunity and collaboration with others. Since that time:

  • At least 76,200 have been reached with awareness campaigns
  • 4,550 have been given more extensive training developed for use in India, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Peru
  • At least 121 trainers have been trained to deliver the lessons

We Help Organizations Leverage Diversity and Inclusion

In addition to sharing our diversity and inclusion journey through regular reporting,  conferences, research and global studies provide solutions that can help companies leverage diversity and inclusion better in their own organizations. We continue to develop and enhance a model for others to follow.

We at Inspirus, the U.S.-based Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services entity, have integrated diversity and inclusion solutions into our employee engagement platform to:

  • Promote diversity awareness and celebrate accomplishments through announcements
  • Increase understanding and educate on diversity and inclusion with short, fun micro-learning courses
  • Reinforce inclusive behaviors via recognition programs like peer-to-peer recognition and nominations
  • Promote events celebrating diversity

We’ve seen such great results from diversity and inclusion driving an increase in awareness, understanding and participation. For example, Sodexo was ranked 47 (out of 50) on Fortune’s 2017 list of companies that are solving societal problems thanks to the impact on human rights and social justice of our initiatives and policies for people with disabilities. Along with four other organizations renowned for pioneering diversity and inclusion, Sodexo was inducted into the first-ever DiversityInc Hall of Fame.

We Are Here to Help

You can do it, too, and we are here to help. From accomplished experts to industry-specific training, we provide the tools, techniques and programs to help our clients create and achieve their diversity and inclusion goals. We have partnerships across all dimensions of diversity, with over 35 civic and community-based organizations, representative of 65 programs and initiatives.

Our expertise will help you:

  • Secure commitment from the top
  • Develop a strong business case
  • Clearly articulate a diversity strategy
  • Establish a sustainable diversity and inclusion infrastructure
  • Build commitment and traction that will foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture
  • Institute tools and systems to measure diversity and inclusion progress
  • Promote awareness through recognizing and celebrating activities
  • Gain credibility in the marketplace for advancing diversity and inclusion

We’re committed to helping organizations unlock the power of diversity, equity and inclusion to improve employee well-being and engagement. By partnering to create a more diverse workforce and train your leadership to think inclusively, we can help your organization deliver your services with better quality and more engaged people, for a more profitable future.

If you’re looking to improve the quality of life for your people through diversity, equity and inclusion, contact us today.

Topics: generational diversity, diversity, multigenerational workforce