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How Sodexo's Internal Career Mobility Effort Fosters Engagement and Retention

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Wed Dec 11 2013

How Sodexo's Internal Career Mobility Effort Fosters Engagement and Retention
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According to a PwC survey, more than half of U.S. CEOs are worried about the availability of skilled talent to fuel company growth, with nearly 75 percent expected to have modified their talent management strategies this past year.

All of this comes at a time when the economy’s recovery is sluggish, the talent pool for highly skilled workers is shrinking, and impact of Gen Y or Millennials is growing. Young professionals are setting out to make their mark on the business world, but they’re having a hard time finding jobs that align with their education and skills due to a lack of suitable openings.

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So, Gen Y is finding itself in jobs that require far less training and knowledge than they had prepared for in college—and this leads to a lack of engagement and a lack of job satisfaction within this group. When work is not challenging or connected with their career goals and aspirations, the result is often low engagement and high turnover rates.

Even before the economic downturn, many employees believed that they needed to change companies every so many years to advance their career. But, in reality, we’ve seen that this simply is not true. Instead, Sodexo, along with many organizations, views this as an opportunity to invest in their people while helping them to advance within the organization by building “internal mobility” programs. Internal mobility programs keep employees engaged through professional development programs and internal career advancement opportunities, thus improving engagement and retention rates.

Investing in employees key to internal mobility 

Sodexo’s internal mobility programs help strengthen a company’s employment brand by delivering on an employee value proposition (EVP) and becoming an integral spoke of the recruitment cycle in attracting, hiring, and retaining an engaged workforce that contributes to the company’s goals and success.

Sodexo supports and encourages its employees to shape their own future and grow with the company by delivering on our EVP, which includes 

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  • providing employees with a wide range of professional and personal opportunities to improve the quality of their daily life

  • encouraging employees to develop their careers both locally and globally across all of our service areas

  • actively fostering diversity and inclusion.

Central to this concept is the existence of an EVP that is lived daily as part of the company’s culture, visible in actions throughout the company. Sodexo does this by making our workforce feel valued and investing in their continued professional development and career growth—from onboarding to additional training opportunities.

Although there are many different programs that support this, it’s not just about a group of program—it is the commitment behind the programs to make a difference in careers, and the recognition that there is no one size fits all.

Career growth and opportunity is the #1 reason new employees cite when asked why they chose to work for Sodexo. The reason they stay is because its culture rings true for them. Sodexo is committed to providing an environment where its employees can grow and thrive.

From its own experience and research, Sodexo also has seen added benefits to internal mobility programs. For example, internal hires have

  • a shorter orientation time in their new roles

  • bring an understanding of the company’s culture, values and processes

  • an established network

  • transferrable skills that are applicable to various business areas.

In my next post, I’ll talk in more detail about how Sodexo built its internal mobility program and built strong retention rates.

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