Sodexo is one of the UK’s largest food services and facilities management companies, with a 34,000 strong workforce in the UK alone. The company has made a commitment to improve the quality of life for all UK staff with a target of reaching 68% employee engagement by 2025.
Good Work For All
In 2017 Sodexo had gathered views of staff through a Quality of Life survey and was already making changes in areas including benefits and reward, and learning and development. Looking at the data, Business in the Community (BITC) identified flexible working as a common issue that Sodexo was yet to tackle. In particular, staff wanted access to flexible working to improve their health and wellbeing, and to spend more time with family. Their employees’ views on flexible working varied too, as some wanted shorter working weeks, whilst others wanted to increase their hours.
As a Sodexo client, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was pushing for high ethical standards and innovation so the business case was there for Sodexo to initiate experimental activity in terms of flexible working. With the support of Sodexo’s Global Head of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences, the catering function at GlaxoSmithKline in London was chosen for the pilot.
The project was launched with a flexibility audit within the catering function at GSK House and GSK Stockley Park. Timewise ran four focus groups, speaking with catering team members and managers and surveyed about 200 employees across the two sites.
Sodexo started by implementing specific, targeted interventions to address findings from the focus groups. They are delivering training sessions designed to support the development of rising stars across the sites and increase the understanding of the management teams’ approach to flexible working.
Project design was crucial to the success of Sodexo’s approach to reviewing flexible working. Engaging with expert partner Timewise enabled the project team to quickly define the scope of the project, ensure that employees understood the concepts, and to co-ordinate and manage the pilot effectively.