In the coming weeks we’ll see a new generation of youth graduate and move into higher education classrooms and the workforce. At this nostalgic and celebratory time of year, how are we helping to ensure we’re building a healthy, high-achieving generation of youth to follow? At GENYOUth, we view youth themselves as the solution to the current challenges of health and wellness in schools and communities – a role kids have always played in American life.
Life was very different back in 1966. War was raging in Vietnam. Rock and roll was revolutionizing music, and the U.S. was in a race with the USSR to land a man on the moon. And all of the best dressed men and women were wearing patterned pants, flowered shirts and boots. I guess some things are better left in the past!
Jobs requiring skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are a rich source of employment opportunities and economic growth in the U.S. Nearly 80 percent of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend on mastery of mathematics and science, and yet U.S. student achievement in both disciplines lags behind students in Asia and Europe. Many job vacancies go unfilled, particularly in facilities management (FM), and the economy is lagging as a result.
I am a product of impactful mentoring. Throughout my career formal and informal mentors have guided me, challenged me and helped me evolve into the person I am today. Mentoring takes so many forms and whether they coached me, role modeled for me, listened to me, advised me, supported me, counseled me or just acted as a trusted resource, they all contributed to my success. In turn, I have a passion for sharing my experience and mentoring others, particularly young women.
It’s hard to avoid the topic of the talent gap; online pundits, academic think tanks and the media routinely debate the source of the problem and possible solutions. Accolo.com reports that employers are frustrated; 40% of businesses are having trouble finding qualified applicants for key positions. Worse, 55% confirmed that these talent issues were affecting their ability to meet client needs.
Energy conservation is both a personal and professional passion for me. I am always looking for new ways to reduce energy consumption. I believe each one of us has the capacity to change, to look in our own energy mirror and discover ways to take small steps to reduce energy consumption, conserve natural resources and protect the environment.
Youth engagement programs help young people find their path to a promising and fulfilling career through real-world experience. They foster engagement in the community, teach unique skill sets and provide future employment opportunities. Sites like Career Kids include career awareness and exploration materials for teachers and students. About Careers is targeted at children, teens and parents, who can use the site to explore how to choose an occupation, find a job, get the skills necessary to enter the work force and learn how to develop good work habits.
In the 21st century jobs-driven economy, companies are demanding a workforce armed with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills, along with effective team building, communication and problem-solving ability. Business leaders, industry experts and academics must collaborate to develop a strategy that ensures the next generation of STEM-educated leaders is prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. Just like an Olympic athlete who invests years of training to prepare for an event, our talent development strategy must reach future employees long before they enter the workforce.
History teaches us a great deal about building a workforce that can get the job done.
As civilization progressed from the agricultural age to the industrial age to the information age, the modern workforce evolved from farmer to factory worker to knowledge worker. Over time, our focus shifted from produce to production to productivity. Today, we are moving from the information age into a service-based economy, and a whole new set of competencies are required, including the integration of soft skills with design thinking.
Global Chief Diversity Officer
Today, only 26 women lead Fortune 500 companies and just 17 percent of all board members are women. Compound this with the fact that a mere 28 percent of those firms have only one female director. And there has been minimal improvement in the gender wage gap, with men still earning 22 percent more than women in equivalent positions.
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, Gerri Mason Hall, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, reflects on one of her personal passions – the importance of inclusion in the workplace and its role in attracting, engaging and retaining future leaders. When organizations foster an environment of inclusion all employees, both men and women, thrive and succeed.
A systems-based approach to improving health considers all factors involved in caring for patients and the many factors that influence one’s quality of life. The integration of people, processes, policies, and organizations is critical to promoting better health at lower cost. For example, we can close the clinic-to-community gap by using an integrated systems approach that connects employers, healthcare providers, community-based organizations and family/community relationships.
According to Statistic Brain, coffee, fresh brewed and fragrant, is enjoyed by 100 million Americans every day—and 25% drink more than 13 cups each week. Our caffeinated nation’s productivity outpaces all other countries, and though this can’t be directly correlated to coffee consumption, it’s probably a contributing factor. While I’m not a huge coffee drinker, I can tell you that a little surge of caffeine boosts my output and really keeps me alert, both physically and mentally.
Global Chief Diversity Officer
Modern technology and the expanding global economy have erased what was once a clear delineation between the demands of the office and the responsibilities of home. The pace of work combined with professional obligations routinely impose on time that was historically dedicated to family life. The result is employees who feel stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed.
Check out any recent employee engagement survey and the news is the same—engagement is at all all-time low. Both APA and Aon recently released studies that indicate employees are feeling stressed and disengaged from their work. Much of this can be attributed to challenging work environments with employees being asked to do more with fewer resources. So how can employers begin to reenergize and reengage their workforces?
There is an enormous payoff when employees bring their whole selves to work. A culture where employees are fully engaged drives productivity and performance. But what happens when stress, anxiety and lack of focus interfere with work?
Global Chief Diversity Officer
Sodexo Government North America
From Friday, March 6, through Sunday March 8, 2015, David Scanlan, President Sodexo Government Services and Jessica Montoya, Vice President of Government Affairs and Assistant General Counsel participated in the 15th Annual Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage hosted by The Faith and Politics Institute. As part of the program, the delegation visited historic sites in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery. This trip coincided with the 50th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ which took place at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965. A special ceremony was held on Saturday, March 7 in Selma that included remarks by President Barack Obama and other political and civil rights leaders.
Some people believe leadership is about genetics – you are born a leader. In rare cases, I’ve encountered people who have a natural talent and ability to lead others. However, the vast majority of successful leaders are made. Like me, they grow into their positions of authority through life experiences, lessons learned, personal development and a desire to always achieve more.
Recognition is a key engagement driver for employees but it can come in many forms including awards, money and praise. The question for companies is which is the most important? Or what combination will influence and motivate peak performance and the behaviors crucial to corporate success?
Only half of our nation’s students who qualify for free or reduced-price school breakfast are actually getting one. School teachers and principals in America see too many students who are too hungry to learn. A nutritious breakfast can be important not only for growth and development, but also may help students reach their full academic potential.
Sodexo North America
In relation to Women’s History Month, a junior manager recently asked me “what inspired you to become a leader?” I had to ponder her question because there was no silver bullet or magic moment for me. I did not start my career with specific goals or a well-laid plan or even a desire to lead others. In fact, my career progression into senior leadership was not a clearly defined step-by-step move up the proverbial corporate ladder. Instead, it looked more like the up, down and across pattern of a lattice.
Last night, during the Partnership for a Healthier America’s (PHA) annual Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, D.C., we hosted a benefit to celebrate PHA’s five-year anniversary. It was an opportunity to come together with our partners and supporters to celebrate meaningful commitments to solving the childhood obesity crisis. Together, we have made great strides toward our common goal.
Today, I had the privilege of participating in the 2015 Building a Healthier Future Summit hosted by the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). The summit offers a unique opportunity for public, private and non-profit leaders to come together to address one of the single biggest issues facing our children, our families, our communities and the future of our country – childhood obesity.
Employee engagement is essential to the success of an organization. Studies by industry experts show that engaged employees work harder, are more motivated, provide better customer service and have lower turnover rates. The bottom line — engagement has a profound effect on an organization’s performance.
Sodexo North America
They’re coming, they’re coming—and no matter how you refer to those born between 1980 and 1992, they are about to descend on the American workforce in droves. 86 million Millennials or 40% of the entire working population will pour into the workplace by 2020 according to a recent article in Forbes magazine. With the economy making a steady recovery and increasing numbers of Baby Boomers retiring, organizations need to focus their efforts on engaging the next generation of talent, and it may not be as hard as you think.
Today, with Sodexo, we are announcing that the giant food service company has committed, over the next five years, to switch all 20 million pounds of its liquid eggs to cage-free. The company manages dining operations at thousands of colleges, universities, hospitals, and corporate dining centers across the country. Due to its enormous size, this will remove 750,000 hens from battery cages per year and put them into cage-free settings. This announcement comes after prior announcements from the company to switch to cage-free for its 39 million shell eggs – which provides a better living for an additional 150,000 birds.
On Dec. 17, 1903, the Wright brothers successfully flew the first powered, manned airplane. The flight lasted only 12 seconds and covered just 121 feet. By the 1950’s commercial aviation took off. The increasing availability of affordable air travel considerably expanded aviation’s role in sustaining society. What was once a luxury commodity is now essential to tourism, trade and commerce. In fact, according to the International Air Transportation Association more than 8 million people travel by air every day.
In offices around the world, the open floor plan debate rages on. Do open office spaces allow for greater collaboration, increased energy and a free flow of creativity? Or do open areas create disruptions and distractions that ultimately kill performance? The answer to both questions is yes. And no.
Companies need to take employee health and well-being seriously, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it can have a significant impact on the overall performance of the organization. In addition to the obvious – healthier, happier employees – organizations can save millions on health care and disability costs, increase workforce productivity, reduce employee absenteeism and decrease rates of illness and injuries. Additionally, corporate-sponsored health and wellness programs are an essential element to competitive employee compensation and benefit packages which attract and retain the best talent.
When my mother’s generation went to work in the 1960’s, men made up 78% of the workforce and most were the sole family breadwinners. Only 13% of employees were over 55, and the average workday took place in an office building from 9-5. Fast forward 50 years and global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and the skills needed to be productive contributors in the future.
I always talk about volunteering at the food pantry and how giving back is fun for me. I grew up in the Caribbean and as a child, my family always had food on the table, but many people in my village did not. My parents constantly gave back, feeding people and every Sunday we would have a community dinner for everyone. They always stressed to me the importance of sharing—they told me that if I have something, I should share it with those who don’t. When I moved to the United States, I carried my parent’s words with me and continued to help my community.
The New Year is often a time of personal reflection about life and priorities. Google the phrase,“New Year’s Resolutions,” and you’ll see a familiar list of topics held out year after year as the path to a better life. They include perennial favorites such as eating more healthy fully, beginning an exercise program, reducing stress, quitting smoking, reading more, etc. But what is truly at the essence of all of these resolutions is an attempt to improve the quality of one’s life. To make the current reality the best it can be, and to make a version of one’s self that is the best version possible. Inevitably, this discussion needs to include a person’s work life. Whether it’s in an office, a hospital, a college or university, on the road as part of a sales force or working inside the home, the way people live AND work contribute equally to their overall quality of life.
One of the essential qualities of any strong leader is the ability to continually look forward and ask the question: What’s next? The truth of the matter is that these days building a successful business is so much more than strategy and operational savvy; it’s now also about cultivating an environment where employees can thrive.
Globalization is quickly changing the rules of how business gets done. The size and scope of a company is becoming less important – agile and innovative start-ups are changing the rules and context of business. Now the battle for talent, markets, innovations and information is global. People specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are swiftly becoming the most sought-after employees because they are in short supply and those fields are critical to the prosperity of organizations operating in the global economy.