At White House Event Sodexo Announces Exceeding Leadership Gender Balance Goals

April 12, 2016

Sodexo surpasses 2015 goal to have women occupy at least 25% of its top 200 leadership positions globally and announces higher targets for 2020 and 2025

At White House Event Sodexo Announces Exceeding Leadership Gender Balance Goals

GAITHERSBURG, Md., April 12, 2016 — Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life Services, announced today that it exceeded its 2015 goal to have women comprise at least 25 percent of its top 200 leadership positions globally by 6 percentage points; achieving 31 percent. The company made the announcement at a White House Diversity and Inclusion Roundtable, where it also announced higher targets of 35 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025.

Dr. Rohini Anand, Ph.D., senior vice president, corporate responsibility and global chief diversity officer, Sodexo, announced the company’s progress as part of her formal Roundtable remarks, which were focused on Sodexo’s 2016 research study into the benefits of gender-balanced business leadership teams.

“It is staggering when you realize that women account for 45% of the S&P 500 labor force, but still only represent about 25% of executive/senior-level officials and managers, 19% of board seats, and 4% of CEOs,” said Rohini Anand, Ph.D., senior vice president, corporate responsibility and global chief diversity officer, Sodexo. “As a leader in corporate diversity and inclusion, Sodexo saw an opportunity to leverage our global resources in order to dig deeper into this important issue to find out what, if any, impact gender-balanced leadership has on organizational performance.”

Sodexo initiated an internal study of 100 global entities and 50,000 employees in 80 countries. The study explored the correlation between gender-balanced teams and both financial and non-financial performance.

At the heart of the study is the premise that gender balance affects performance only when the optimal balance is reached. The results clearly confirm that this balance corresponds to a male-female ratio between 40% and 60%, reinforcing that no one gender is better than the other; rather, diversity is key to enhanced performance.

Sodexo’s research revealed that the management teams that fit within this optimal gender balance “zone” generate, on average, results that are more sustained and predictable than those of teams with less than 40% or more than 60% of either gender. The results indicate that the benefits of gender-balanced teams go even further. They achieved, on average:

  • A four-point higher global engagement rate compared to other management groups
  • A five-point increase in brand image
  • A 12% increase in client retention; positive organic growth, growth profit and operating profit over three consecutive years

“Once we saw the breadth of ways organizations truly benefit from achieving gender balance in leadership, we made it our goal to do the same at Sodexo,” added Dr. Anand.  “It was important for us to make this formal announcement at the White House Roundtable as a way to share our research and expertise with our clients and with the broader business community.”

Details about and findings from Sodexo’s research into gender-balanced leadership teams are available in the company’s recently-released 2016 Workplace Trends Report.

Read Dr. Anand’s summary of the study and its findings in her recent Sodexo Insights blog post about the link between gender-balanced leadership teams and improved organizational performance.

Sodexo delivers more than 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life. The global Fortune 500 company is a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and foodservice operations.

Greg Yost
Sodexo, Inc.


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