Page 4: Changing the culture at Sodhexo UK
Like many other large organisations, Sodhexo has adopted a statement of values. This outlines the company’s core beliefs, which strongly reflect those of the founder Pierre Bellon. They emphasise values such as:
- a spirit of service
However, it is important to ensure that these values are evident in the way that all parts of the company function on a day-to-day basis: company culture must move forward. Sodexho UK has therefore set about ensuring that these values are embedded in everyday working, and has set up a detailed two-way communications process with its UK employees. The starting point for this was a 68 question opinion survey sent to 15,000 employees in June 2001. It covered a range of key areas, including:
- communications within the organisation
- employees’ level of job satisfaction
- views on leadership
- the company’s ability to give its employees adequate recognition
- opportunities for growth and development of individuals
- the culture of the organisation.
The Opinion Survey
The Opinion Survey is concerned with making employees feel involved in communication within the organisation and in helping them to feel part of its cultural change. The survey results make it possible to compare attitudes within different parts of the organisation, and also to make comparisons with other organisations where similar attitude surveys have been conducted. In particular, the results provide individual managers with meaningful feedback on their individual area in relation to, for example:
- the style of management, and its appropriateness
- employees’ perception of their own opportunities for personal development and decision making.
This data provides individual managers with a clear indication of how effectively they are promoting company culture as set out in the company’s statement of its values and vision. Managers find out how their style of management is viewed eg are they seen as autocratic (keen to tell others what to do) or as engaging and enabling (keen to encourage others to contribute ideas and to take on key tasks)?
Sodexho firmly believes that in the modern business world, while it is important to give clear direction in the workplace it is also vital to encourage participation in order to win employees’ effort, commitment and loyalty. The company’s next step will be to develop targets related to key indicators from the Opinion Survey, such as: recognition; communication; leadership - and conduct the survey again in 15 months to see whether performance has improved.