| |October 20199worked with the women, offering them flexibility & development planning and making them confident to take-up challenging roles. Today globally, we have 54 percent women on Sodexo Board and 32 percent women in senior leadership role.Diversity and inclusion is no longer just the right thing to do, it is a business imperative today. We have to serve `glocal' customers, the ones who are impacted by both global and local perspectives, and if we fail to cater to these markets, our sustenance will become difficult. At Sodexo, we have prioritised five dimensions for diversity ­ Gender, LGBT, Disability, Culture & Origins, and Generation. With executive sponsors and multiple networks across the globe, we are striving to not only strike a balance among the diverse groups, but also ensure that we are fostering an inclusive environment in which each employee can thrive.We know that organisations succeed because of their people. The job market has multiple people with various talents, and it is upon the companies to leverage this talent to the fullest or they get left behind. When you have a diverse range of people bringing-in their expertise backed not only by knowledge and work experience, but also culture and personal experiences, they give the organisation a world view, making it more sensitive to its customer's needs and expectations. I remember a few years back, while hiring a senior female candidate for my team, the head hunting agency suggested that we need not offer her compensation as per the market rate, as she had been on a sabbatical for the last two years to raise her child. I refused and ensured that she was compensated as per the market benchmark. This is important to avoid pay gaps.The good news is that companies are recognising the importance of being diverse and inclusive. However, many of them struggle to weave it into the organisational fabric. There are few reasons for this, foremost being the social & cultural conditioning that lead to pre-determined mind-sets and irrelevant practices. This is where leaders should play a crucial role in walking the talk. For example, getting simple design changes done in the workplace to make it more disabled friendly can encourage the hiring and retention of people with disabilities. In fact, leadership involvement is the first step towards achieving a true D&I organisation. At Sodexo, the leaders, starting from the CEO, play an active role, from providing the strategic direction to participating in events. Their high level of visible engagement as mentors and network group sponsors as well as unwavering support sets an example for all the other employees to follow. The other important step that companies need to take is to link D&I results to business results. This shows that we are serious and not taking it as a feel good factor. Having a D&I strategy and not just series of activities, along with measurable deliverables will help keep the focus. Diversity and Inclusion are increasingly going to impact growth. In Sodexo's 2018 Gender Balance case study, we tested the performance implications of a gender-inclusive work culture. We surveyed 50,000 managers in 70 entities worldwide. The study threw-up some interesting results ­ the optimal gender balance is between 40-60 percent, and entities with gender balanced management scored better on five parameters ­ operating margins, employee retention, client retention, safety, and employee engagement.In an inclusive environment, employees feel valued & engaged and will be inspired to do better for the company. Diverse teams bring diverse view points to the table. Diversity also brings-in innovation, which helps the company deliver products and services that can `wow' consumers & clients and push for business growth. Considering that most industries today are facing a talent crunch, there is no reason to reject good talent because of certain set conditionings or pre conceived notions. In Sodexo, we have taken a step forward, taking our D&I belief beyond our own boundaries to that of our clients as well. We work closely with them to support them in their diversity agenda and join them in the conversation to build an inclusive and diverse world.While I must credit my wife who ensured that I was inclusive in all my actions and words, not only at work but also at home, today I feel proud of being part of a company that values and practices every day its deep conviction and actions in Diversity and Inclusion. WHEN YOU HAVE A DIVERSE RANGE OF PEOPLE BRINGING-IN THEIR EXPERTISE BACKED NOT ONLY BY KNOWLEDGE & WORK EXPERIENCE, BUT ALSO CULTURE AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES, THEY GIVE THE ORGANISATION A WORLD VIEW
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