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!
That same year in France, a man named Pierre Bellon launched a foodservice company called Sodexho. The company had 312 employees working in 13 dining facilities, and a mission to “improve the quality of daily life.”
Today, Sodexo is the 18th largest employer in the world, delivering facilities management and foodservice operations in 80 countries. And yet our mission has not changed: to improve quality of life for our clients, customers, employees and the communities where we operate. That mission inspires and unites our 420,000 employees who provide services to 75 million people every day.
We define quality of life as a key driver of individual and collective performance. While improving quality of life has always been central to Sodexo’s mission and values, we have taken our commitment a step further. Extensive research combined with nearly 50 years of experience has led Sodexo to identify six dimensions essential to quality of life that our services directly impact. This week we will explore these six dimensions and the positive impact quality of life has on performance at the first annual Quality of Life Conference, taking place in New York City.
At this conference we will also be releasing the findings of a groundbreaking study on how key decision makers view quality of life and its impact on desired outcomes. Sodexo conducted an International Leader’s Survey among top leaders and key decision makers. This survey is the first of its kind, with input from 780 decision makers from the corporate, hospital and university business sectors across six countries (Brazil, China, France, India, UK and the U.S.).
Results of the survey confirm that top-level decision makers link improving quality of life to performance. For leaders in both developed and emerging markets, it is considered a strategic priority, not just a passing fad:
- 96 percent of global leaders view improving quality of life in their organization as important, with 66% rating it as highly important
- 68 percent view it as a strategic investment and 60% have a dedicated budget
- 91 percent believe this trend will increase in the coming years, particularly with the influx of Millennials in the workplace who highly value work-life balance
- 57 percent are convinced that quality of life has an important impact on their organization’s performance
- 99 percent say it has an impact on employee, patient and student satisfaction
- 86 percent already have at least three initiatives working at improving quality of life, with healthcare and higher education leading the way with best practices
With all of this good news, some challenges persist. The biggest obstacle mentioned was cost. In addition, corporations are juggling multiple priorities, and health care struggles with the lack of a corporate culture. One thing they agree on is the need to measure the impact of quality of life, and to promote a culture that shifts the focus from cost to investment.
For nearly 50 years, it has been our mission—our passion—to improve quality of life. Now we know it’s just as important to global leaders who provide services to patients, employees, students. With so much change in the world, it’s good to know that the need to improve quality of life remains constant. It is as relevant today as it was back in 1966. And it will be even more important in the future, where quality of life is the new frontier of performance.