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UAE, March 2022: Sodexo Middle East is proud to announce its UAE-based catering and facilities management organization, Kelvin Catering Services & Facilities Management Emirates LLC has been awarded the Gender Equality European & International Standard (GEEIS) accreditation by Aborus, the non-profit organization, and in collaboration with Bureau Veritas, for leading the way on gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the region. The GEEIS label works as a management support tool that contributes to promoting gender equality in the workplace.
As an avid practitioner of gender-balanced initiatives that starts with the everyday, the leading Quality of Life service provider has an array of initiatives that it has implemented across the organization, to further the mission of ensuring gender inclusive environments over the years. From an all-male leadership team in 2016, the senior leadership team today consists of 28% women leaders. The ‘Spirit of Inclusion’ program was first introduced in 2016 for senior leaders in the region and is now part of the induction process for all employees. This training program focuses on creating and nurturing an inclusive work environment for employees as well as for clients while on site.
In 2018, Sodexo signed the United Nations ‘Women Empowerment Principals (WEP)’ across its Middle East presence, outlining steps for the organization to follow in order to diversify, effectively recognize and advance the role of women in business and society.
Sodexo also set up a global advisory board called ‘SoTogether’, that embeds a gender focus in all people processes across the organization. The board offers online training for all leaders and managers on unconscious bias and leverages local gender networks to better understand challenges while mentoring female middle managers.
Additionally, to encourage more diversity in employee representation, the Recruitment without Discrimination training program was introduced for around 500 employees to ensure a smooth and inclusive recruiting and onboarding process for new hires. Employees were also offered opportunities to move across roles and geographies to further their careers with greater flexibility. To strengthen inclusion of women in positions that are commonly masculinized, the SheWorks program invites women from the local communities, universities and within the organization to understand more about the roles at Sodexo through job shadowing. This program offers women in the community the first step towards a career at Sodexo.
As an advocate of equal opportunities, Sodexo follows a gender balanced succession plan, which is focused on recruiting and promoting deserving women. Today, 50% of Sodexo Middle East’s recruitment slate and 30% of its succession planning includes women with an aim to reach 50% of women in the senior level succession plan by 2022.
Sodexo has instituted multiple policies to retain skilled and talented women employees and push progress on gender balance even further. High potential women employees are provided on-the-job mentorship programs to encourage women to explore their career opportunities in various male-dominated sectors the way Betia Raseta, from Sodexo’s operations team in Madagascar was offered a role in the UAE to manage one of the most high-profile male dominated defence sites as part of her career progression. Sodexo’s gender balanced initiatives ensure women are paid fairly and equally according to their skills and accomplishments, enabling the organization to maintain their gender balanced business model.
Commenting on the GEEIS Award, Colm O’Mahony, CEO of Sodexo Middle East said, “At Sodexo Middle East we strive to be the best gender-balanced and inclusive organization. We proactively benchmark our policies and best practices to ensure female employees have the best medium and support to further enhance their careers on the regional and group level. At Sodexo, this starts with the everyday, supporting and guiding our talented female employees to reach the highest potential. While we have made substantial progress, we must acknowledge that we still have a long way to go and attaining the GEEIS further cements our commitments towards closing the gender gap and improving the Quality of Life for Sodexo employees in the workplace.”
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