Workforce & Workplace
How to Help Employees Reach their Highest Potential through Professional Development
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

A strong company requires core values, exceptional leaders and dedicated employees, among other attributes. Unfortunately professional development for employees is often overlooked despite its highly beneficial impact on company performance. Industry leaders know that professional development is necessary to help employees achieve their full potential. However, many don’t realize the benefits of professional development also include keeping talent engaged and excited about their careers. “Investing time in your employees and giving them the tools they need to develop is incredibly important for output quality, morale and retention,” Entrepreneur reports.

Your team’s professional development can be strengthened in a number of ways. For instance, mentorship is a great gateway for passing down wisdom and helping to build confidence. The best mentorships create mutually beneficial relationships: the mentee learns to deliver quality work and strengthen their talent, while the mentor strengthens his or her leadership skills. A great mentor experience is one where “you have the chance to reflect on and articulate your own expertise and experience—something you probably don’t take time to do otherwise,” Forbes says “Along the way, you may see patterns you didn’t spot before.”

Another great way to foster professional development is to encourage employees to attend conferences and lectures. Conferences, while great for personal development, also benefit the entire team, Inc.com reports – besides, there’s no better way to utilize the information learned than to share it with others.

Another way to help your team continue growing professionally is to encourage them to join professional organizations and/or employee resource groups. Great for networking, employee resource groups provide team members with the connections needed to make an impact in the workplace. Designed to promote diversity, ERGs make for a more inclusive workplace. However, ERGs need members to be engaged: “ERGs are only as effective as the overall commitment of their members and the incremental benefits they receive for their participation,” Forbes says.

Encouraging professional development is limitless considering all the creative ways we’re able to influence our employees. Recently, Sodexo implemented the Certified Executive Chef Training Program at Georgia Tech where 16 Sodexo chefs trained for the official American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef examination. Designed to enhance our students’ dining experiences, the Certified Executive Chef Training Program acts as a great form of professional development for our employees. A wonderful way to encourage employees to reach their highest potential, professional development let’s your team know you care about them.

For those looking to remain at their highest potential, it’s necessary for senior employees to actively seek professional development to keep up with industry trends. Encouraging our employees to join employee resource groups, continue their education and attend conferences helps them to advance and grow as professionals no matter what stage of their career. An exceptional employee is one that never stops learning!

How do you challenge yourself and your team to keep learning on the job? Share your ideas in the comments section.

Universities
Hungry for More: Generation Z’s Impact on the Food Industry
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

As a provider of dining options for colleges and universities around the world, it’s our job to monitor what consumer trends are saying about college dining and, more importantly, what students want to eat. It’s evident that Generation Z, the generational cohort younger than millennials, is changing the workplace but many don’t realize that they are also taking the culinary industry by storm — challenging the food preferences of baby boomers and leaning toward a fresher, less-processed food movement. (more…)

Universities Inclusion
Supporting Transfer Students with Welcoming Campus Environments
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

Transfer students are an important contribution to the University ecosystem. They bring different experiences and perspectives to the campus environment and have a unique set of needs for life on campus. Ensuring that transfer students receive a convenient, safe, and personalized experience is vital to driving continued transfer student enrollment and retention. More importantly, it is every education institution’s responsibility to support this subset of students and prepare them for success. (more…)

Universities
Above and Beyond: How to Differentiate from your Competitors
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

The business realm can be frustrating. Trends fluctuate, consumer demands vary, and competition is fierce. Proven success is cultivated based on how well a business plans strategically, analyzes trends, and, most importantly, differentiates from their competitors. In an industry driven solely by consumer satisfaction, where negotiations and deals are made on the daily, being unique to your competitions isn’t practical — it’s necessary. (more…)

Workforce & Workplace
How Generation Z will Change the Workplace
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

Members of Generation Z, the youngest generational cohort, are beginning to enter the workforce. Raised in the era of constant communication and instant gratification, these individuals pave the way for a restructuring of our current workforce. As thought leaders, our job not only calls upon us to monitor workplace trends, but to recognize who influences these changes and the challenges and opportunities they present in the workplace. (more…)

Universities
Easing the Transition to Campus Life: Recruiting and Retaining First-Generation College Students
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

Change is all around us, so when we think about college enrollment declining and federal funding decreasing, we know we have to think differently about how we can impact student recruitment and retention. An inspiring place to explore is how to impact recruitment and retention rates among first-generation students; it’s a group that, by nature, can help the academic sector expand its reach and further its mission – to teach and support the next generation of informed, educated and civically-responsible citizens.  (more…)

Universities
Room for Discussion: Encouraging Open Discourse on College Campuses During Times of Social and Political Unrest
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

The purpose of academia is to nurture and strengthen the next generation of leaders through research and critical analysis. Additionally, higher education aims to encourage individuals to investigate their interests and pursue a greater understanding of the world surrounding them. Today’s college students, many of whom are members of Generation Z, are some of the most inquisitive and confident scholars who demand campus communities built on the theories of peaceful coexistence and safety for all. (more…)

Workforce & Workplace
How to Score a Touchdown: Three Leadership Tips for a Winning Team
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

On Sunday, Americans will gather around their televisions to watch the biggest football game of the year. We’ll see teammates forge relationships on the field, work together,  and take home the title.  At work, we want our teams to succeed, too. We want our entry-level employees to make a big impact just like the rookie on our favorite team did. And we hope our senior executives lead as effectively as the veteran QB does.   In fact, by studying leadership on the field, we can learn great strategies for leadership in the workplace. (more…)

Universities
Hunger on Campus: College Students Facing Food Insecurity
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

Food insecurity on campus is often an unmentionable topic. Many assume that, while enrolled in college, students’ needs are entirely met through financial assistance programs such as financial aid. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. With the cost of public and private universities on the rise, some college students are left to suffer silently while the issue of food insecurity remains a subject of little discussion.  (more…)

Universities
Beyond the Lecture Hall: Residence Life Turns Campus into Community
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

For today’s students, college is about more than just academics. When students select a college, they are increasingly likely to consider factors beyond the institution’s academic reputation, research facilities and faculty credentials. Students understand that the campus they select will be their home for the next few years, and they are interested in the quality of life they can expect there. For this reason, students are placing greater emphasis on residence life programs when contemplating their options for higher education.

(more…)

Universities
Exploring the Role of Higher Education in Creating Community
Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins
CEO, Universities East,
Sodexo North America

Establishing a strong sense of belonging and purpose, both on campus and in the larger community is essential to engaging and retaining students. For many students, college represents their first taste of true independence, away from parents, teachers and other authority figures. Their actions are their own, and the decision whether or not to get involved is up to them.  For college and university administrators, it is imperative that they establish an environment, on campus and beyond, that fosters a sense of belonging so students have the best opportunity to succeed academically, socially and civically.

(more…)