Workforce & Workplace
The New Way of Doing Business

Sodexo’s Donna Ford, Vice President of Strategic Management, Chooses Quality of (Work) Life

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Employees are the heartbeat of an organization. No one knows that better than Donna Ford. As Vice President of Strategic Management at Sodexo, Donna and her team provide “quality of life services,” for companies around the globe.

With over 75 million daily consumers of Sodexo’s services, such as café-style lunches or on-site gyms, Donna operates under the philosophy of putting people first, and works with companies to create a work culture that promotes optimal performance. In this video, she shares what three things companies can start doing today to improve the quality of work life, why being the best you is so important, and how business as we know it is changing under our very feet.

The Growing Importance of Company Culture

“We deal a lot with facilities and the built environment, so that’s the heating, the cooling, the air, the quality of the air. A lot of millennials want to be in an environment, or work in a culture, that’s committed to sustainability – practices around recycling, energy, energy-efficiency – as well as work for employers that care about the community. It’s moving beyond the workplace out into the environment. Employees are looking at companies’ philosophies around that to make a decision if they want to work there. It’s more than just a salary. It’s really about the culture which the employer offers.”

Know your Customer

“When you think about the workforce environment a baby boomer tends to expect a more traditional type of work environment where they have their cubicle or their office that they arrive to every day. They do their work there and they go home. A millennial may not come in the office at all, and if they do they’re looking for an environment that’s more collaborate, that gives them opportunities to have meetings outside of the traditional workspace and where they can be innovative and creative. A lot of them don’t expect to have to be in the office to be optimal or to perform well.”

Living Well and Quality of Life

“There are six dimensions of quality of life. One of those dimensions is well-being and nutrition. Joining the Sodexo culture, it was a big transition for me to go from a very technology-driven culture to a culture that was very employee-centric. Literally everybody works out and they eat healthily. It really inspired me to assess what I was putting in my body and how I was taking care of my body. The advice I would give to any ambitious woman who’s striving to climb the corporate ladder is you have to take care of yourself in order to really be successful. You have to really manage your intake and your physical activity.”

How to Unplug

“I have found the secret to being unplugged. For me it’s about recharging. I make time to recharge. I discovered that I love to be in an environment where there is white sand and beautiful water. It’s in that environment that I can rest. When I’m resting I can recharge. My husband and I, we’re intentional about carving out at least four to five times a year where we escape. I’m fortunate to be in a country where we can escape just five hours away and we can do that when we need to.”

Sodexo’s Six Dimensions of Quality of Life includePhysical Environment, Health & Well-Being, Social Interaction, Recognition, Ease & Efficiency, & Personal Growth.


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