The food and facilities management company needed an efficient learning program to help managers get the just-in-time training that would help them flourish in their middle management roles.
Sodexo, a provider of integrated food and facilities management in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, serves 10 million consumers in 6,000 locations every day. Across the globe, Sodexo has made significant commitments to all of its employees at each touch-point of their company experience. The organization actively supports learning and development through the initiation and implementation of various curricula designed to help its employees graduate to the next level in their careers. It is committed to developing learning solutions that are aligned with business goals, and it inspires achievement that drives success, and promotes personal and professional growth for all employees. But in 2009 Sodexo found it needed an efficient learning program to help managers get the just-in-time training that would help them flourish in the their middle management roles.
In 2009, the company launched Come Alive with Sodexo, an innovative, one-year growth plan in a five-phase program with an integrated approach to learningvirtual and classroom. In addition to being an orientation program, management development is introduced early and is reiterated throughout the five phases of this 12-month program. The flexible, blended learning approach includes interactive online courses and engaging live-sessions that stimulate business networking and high-quality interaction with peers and senior leaders. Four of the phases are virtual, and one is a two-day instructor-led class.
Sodexo aligned the program with 11 core competencies, as well as with the company mission, vision, core values, and strategy, so managers are positioned to contribute earlier in the orientation process. Those managers are introduced to the company, its strategy, all required compliance training, software applications training, critical operations functions, management techniques, and a year of self-development.
Sodexo trainers worked with cross-divisional groups to gain perspectives of each divisions needs and matched them to 11 management competencies. The initial needs assessment involved six training and development staff employeesfour instructional designers, a director of training development, and a senior director of development. Input was solicited from 400 in-unit managers, general managers, and district managers during the needs assessment process through focus groups and surveys. This input was then shared with key stakeholders and senior leadership. The initial buy-in and endorsement and support by the key stakeholders helped managers engage in the program and held them accountable for completion.
The Come Alive with Sodexo program was fully implemented virtually in January 2009, and was updated in January 2010. As the company strategy continues to evolve, the practice will be aligned respectively. In September 2011, the practice received its second revision, and that revision included the incorporation of flexible work initiatives, additional compliance requirements, and the management support tools. Because four of the five phases are implemented virtually, managers can access the program anytime anywhere. The fifth phase is a two-day instructor-led class.
The typical, instructor-led class size has been 32 participants, with two facilitators and a guest senior executive speaker. Sixty classes have been conducted each year in 10 cities across the country. Sodexo has a total of 18,000 management and professional employees. This program services 1,800 new hires each year, which represents 14.4 percent of the company. In-unit managers, general managers and individual contributors are the main focus of this program, and it was designed so in-unit managers up through the executive level can attend.
The Come Alive with Sodexo practice is set apart from similar initiatives because it ensures knowledge transfer through virtual and onsite practicing of skills, and provides a yearlong, holistic, comprehensive approach for management practices and self-development in addition to traditional orientation. Senior leadership and other high level executives serve as guest speakers during the two-day classroom sessions.
In lessons learned, the Metrics That Matter results indicated that the company needs to provide more and better support tools for the managers. Therefore, additional common on the job examples will be gathered to incorporate into the training where applicable. The company also is taking advantage of the online networking capabilities that its learning management system offers, and is creating job-related networking groups using a collaboration tool.
Sodexo has committed to clarify, where possible, the cross-role implications of manager-specific information. Managers need to understand how their role affects all the other divisions. Managers like the online application, but struggle with being easily interrupted at work. Therefore, the company created online coursework in small 20 to 30 minute intervals to help alleviate interruptions.
Building strong relationships with other divisions and corporate staff has allowed Sodexo to get buy-in, while offering new ways to promote training initiatives, to track training completion, and receive feedback on the courses against national benchmarking data.