Sodexo SA is in the Pax Global Women’s Leadership Index and is a holding in the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund.
Sodexo, a French benefits, rewards and on-site services company, has made diversity and inclusion a priority and recognizes gender equality as a business imperative that drives growth and innovation. The company’s commitment to gender equality has C-level and board support, which is significant, as McKinsey research shows that clear commitment to diversity from CEOs and company leaders is key to a successful diversity & inclusion strategy. Sodexo’s focus on gender diversity is underscored by its partnerships with global organizations like the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and the Catalyst CEO Champions for Change.
Sodexo has achieved a gender balanced board of directors (a significant feat, given that in 2017 just 1.1% of company boards globally had achieved gender parity) and women comprise 25% of its executive committee. The percentage of women in senior leadership has increased from 17% to 31% over the past seven years. Sodexo is intent on pressing for more progress and has set a goal to increase women at its senior leadership level to 40% by 2025.
The company chose its gender diversity target based on the results of its own internal Gender Balance study which found that teams with a male-to-female ratio between 40% and 60% delivered the best financial performance, employee engagement, brand awareness and client retention over a three-year period. The results of Sodexo’s study mirror other studies which have established links between gender diverse leadership teams and improved financial performance, increased innovation and better problem solving.
Sodexo stands out in that 10% of its senior executives’ annual bonus incentive is linked to progress towards the company’s gender diversity target. In its 2017 Women in the Workplace Report, McKinsey noted that transparency and accountability are crucial to achieve positive change, yet only 40% of companies hold senior leaders accountable for performance against gender diversity metrics, and even fewer use financial incentives. Additionally, demonstrating the results of gender diversity on business results to employees can make them more personally committed to organizational goals.
In addition to management incentives, Sodexo has numerous global and local initiatives underway to increase the representation of women throughout all levels of the company. The Women’s International Forum for Talent (SWIFt), established in 2009, seeks to develop Sodexo’s women’s leadership pipeline through mentoring, sponsorship, active promotion, and advocacy. The primary goal is to help high-potential women advance into senior positions with profit-and-loss (P&L) responsibilities, as well as operational and facilities roles. SWIFt reports to the CEO and provides regular updates to the Global Executive Committee. According to Sodexo’s Chief Diversity Officer, Rohini Anand, PhD, the company has “seen great results from sponsorship both in terms of career progression of women and minorities but also in terms of reciprocal learning on the part of the sponsor.”1
As of 12/31/17, Sodexo SA was 0.4% of the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author of this report. All information is historical and not indicative of future results and subject to change. This information is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.