Sodexo Live! Launches ‘People Ambition’ Initiative Focused on Mental Health, Career Advancement and Boosting Diversity

November 29, 2022

Global hospitality leader Sodexo Live! has launched a milestone initiative focused on mental health, career advancement and increasing diversity among its workforce of more than 40,000 employees. Aptly named “People Ambition,” the venue management company’s progressive new Employer Value Proposition (EVP) will include additional resources, training and mentorship opportunities in an effort to attract, retain and grow its ranks of premium hospitality providers. 

Based on quantitative yearlong findings from more than 50 surveys of current employees across all roles at the company, from culinary to front-of-house to management, the new initiative supports Sodexo’s increased focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in recruitment, development and management, as well as the prioritization of career development with deeper training and mentorship opportunities for every employee.  

Additionally, as part of its increased focus on well-being, the company will also provide more mental health resources, according to Sodexo Live! officials.

“We are committed to leading the charge in creating tangible programs that encourage active learning and development while increasing our focus and support on employee well-being,” explained Tracey Jenkins, senior vice president of human resources at Sodexo Live! North America. 

She continued, “Our investment in this significant Employer Value Proposition initiative comes at a time when the hospitality industry is at a crossroads. The People Ambition proactively addresses our resolve to be employee-first while engaging team members to build fulfilling lifelong careers here. And yes, we are hiring.”

In creating this new program, Sodexo Live! leaders identified the following four pillars for EVP and what each represents: 

Belong: Ensuring a sense of belonging and purpose, rooted in family and teamwork. The organization maintains an 80% employee engagement rate and offers nine Employee Business Resource Groups that foster a culture of inclusion and provide networking, learning and development opportunities.

Act: Values diversity, equity and inclusion as a key performance driver for all. Sodexo received a perfect score on the 2022 Disability Equality Index (DEI), was named by Forbes as a “2022 Best Employer for Diversity” and was acknowledged as a “Best Company for Multicultural Women” by Seramount.

Thrive: Promotes personal and career growth opportunities and establishes opportunities for employees to succeed and be promoted internally. Over the past year, Sodexo Live! promoted 142 employees across the company, and 46% of promoted employees were women.

Be Live: Creating exceptional events and memories that last a lifetimefor 21 World Series, 15 Super Bowls, 14 College Football Championship games, 12 Final Fours, six of the top 10 meeting destinations in North America, 15 LEED-certified convention centers and morestarting with employees who are the fabric of these moments.

As part of the People Ambition initiative, Sodexo Live! will be creating and implementing new programs designed to encourage diversity, equity and inclusion such as “She Leads,” a global mentorship program for women. Launched in October with an inaugural class, participants are taking part in a nine-month program that will introduce them to other female leaders globally within the organization and help them learn more about their individual leadership styles. 

According to Sodexo officials, the company is committed to having women represent at least 40 percent of its global leadership by 2025. Currently, women represent 60 percent of Sodexo’s board members and 45 percent of its executive committee.

Additional examples of programs that support Sodexo’s new EVP initiative include: 

  • The Diversity Learning Lab, a mandatory program for upper-level management.
  • Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, designed to accelerate employees’ development and enhance their current and future leadership capabilities. In partnership with San Diego State University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, employees develop the curriculum and participate in five virtual sessions over the next calendar year.
  • A dedicated Mentorship Program, which gives staffers an opportunity to learn from upper-level management.
  • A retooled Internship Academy, currently comprising more than 50 active students across different disciplines, from operations, finance, human resources, data analytics and more. It includes lunch and learns with subject matter experts and client partners.

Sodexo Live! employee facts:

  • The average tenure for Sodexo Live! full-time employees is seven years. In contrast, workers overall in leisure and hospitality have an average of 2.3 years per job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sodexo also achieves an 80% satisfaction and engagement rate among employees.
  • Over the past year, Sodexo Live! expanded its number of employees in management positions by 68%, proving that employees stay with and grow their careers with the organization.
  • Over the past year, Sodexo Live! also increased its African American representation in senior leadership roles by 28%.

“A motivated and energized workforce is one of the greatest assets we can provide our venue partners and the top-tier events we host on a regular basis,” said Steve Pangburn, CEO of Sodexo Live! North America. “Working here is more than a job; it’s a chance to be part of something greater and build a long-term career.”

He continued, “Our experiences are unique, and so are our people. We encourage everyone to bring their personality, their background and a desire for delighting others. In return, we’ll give you all you need to thrive. After giving it all, you’ll return home knowing you’ve played your part in creating truly unforgettable moments.”                                                                                                                     

For more information on the company’s efforts, and to hear from Sodexo Live! team members about what it’s like working as an Experience Maker, go here.


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