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Sodexo awarded for diversity and inclusion programme

Published 18th August, 2010 by Neil Nixon

Sodexo awarded for diversity and inclusion programme

Sodexo has picked up another award for its diversity and inclusion programme - this time securing the best overall private sector organisation prize at the Employers Forum for Belief and Employers Forum for Age (EFB and EFA) awards.

Held in partnership with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), the awards showcase the organisations that have spearheaded new ways to tackle discrimination in the UK workplace.

Sodexo secured the award after demonstrating both a clear commitment to good practice above and beyond legal compliance, and developing innovative initiatives or policies that inspire other employers.

Particular praise was given for Sodexo’s efforts in raising awareness of different religions and cultures and the positive impact this has had both internally and with clients who have undergone a major rethink in their approach to dealing with such issues.

In December 2009, Sodexo embarked on raising awareness of religion and belief through the launch of a series of materials such as ‘Inclusion’ fact sheets focussing on festivals such as Ramadan and Easter.

Sodexo was also commended specifically for its approach to tackling a religion-relating issue with a major client, resulting in a significant change in its company policy. Sodexo’s efforts in raising awareness enabled the company to make reasonable accommodations for employees.

The judging panel highlighted Sodexo’s efforts as a good example of what focusing on diversity can bring - a shared understanding and a positive approach to working together to resolve issues.

Sharon Kyle, head of diversity and inclusion, Sodexo, UK and Ireland, said: “The discussion of religion and belief within the workplace can sometimes be viewed as a ‘no-go’ area by organisations. However we have demonstrated that by raising awareness and opening up dialogue, we are able to make a real difference to the working lives of individual employees and in turn provide a better service to our clients and customers.”

Denise Keating, chief executive, Employee forum on age and belief, added: “Sodexo is a role model for all organisations working on accommodating religion and belief in the workplace and we will be working with them to spread this best practice to other UK employers. The leadership from Sodexo is commendable and they truly deserve the recognition this award gives them.”

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