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Sodexo receives 2014 Best Employers Award for 50 Plus Canadians™

Innovative "reverse mentoring" programs have older employees sharing their knowledge with younger workers while learning about technology and social media

TORONTO, April 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Sodexo Canada's commitment to attracting and retaining highly skilled older employees has been recognized with a 2014 Employers Award for 50 Plus Canadians™ from the Workplace Institute. The company was one of only three employers to receive the award in 2014.

The institute's criteria was excellence in relation to older employees in hiring, training, career development, retention, workplace culture, health care, employee and family benefits, retirement policy and pre- and post-retirement support systems.

Sodexo has long recognized that employees over 50 are integral to enhancing its competitive edge. The company, which employs about 10,000 workers, has created a series of initiatives to attract, retain and engage older workers. New hires over the age of 50, for example, are offered compensation and vacation packages that take into account their total years of service prior to joining the company.

Older workers are also presented with new challenges to keep them engaged and challenged. The company's "right start teams" program regularly invites experienced employees over 50 to help establish and launch new locations.

Training programs are provided to help with staying current with technology. Sodexo also offers reduced working hours on a case-by-case basis for workers transitioning to retirement.

Employees 50 and over are regularly invited to participate in mentoring partnerships to share knowledge and experience. By pairing older and younger workers, the company is bridging generations to drive productivity and engagement. The younger employee benefits from long experience while the older worker is exposed to technology and social media.

"Our commitment to older employees is part of a broad diversity program to create a dynamic and inclusive multi-generational workforce," says Dean Johnson, president of Sodexo Canada. "It is no accident that 35 per cent of our workforce is age 50 or older. We need skilled workers to drive every aspect of our organization and baby boomers offer deep experience and industry knowledge."

With the tidal wave of boomers now past age 55, there is only one worker aged 25 to 34 for every three employees aged 55 or older. This demographic reality makes it much harder to replace older employees and underscores the importance of older employees to dynamic workplaces.

The company has found that developing a workplace culture that values and welcomes older employees is good for business. Workers over 50 stay longer, reducing turnover. They also tend to be highly productive and loyal. Internal research clearly shows that older workers consistently score higher in employee engagement surveys.

"Sodexo's experience is that initiatives that make 50 plus employees feel valued and engaged from recruitment to retirement advance customer satisfaction," says Johnson. "We applaud the Workplace Institute's efforts to encourage employer initiatives that enable older Canadians to work longer and thrive in the workplace."

About Sodexo

Sodexo in Canada
Sodexo has been delivering On-Site Services in Canada for over 40 years. Recognized as a strategic partner, Sodexo Canada has consolidated its position by providing a range of Quality of Life Services for clients, their employees and visitors in the corporate, education, healthcare and remote sites segments. Delivering food and facilities management services for over 200 clients, Sodexo is a market leader in Canada in terms of revenue and consumers served, and has been recognized as a top employer for the past four consecutive years.  Sodexo Canada is proud to have created the Sodexo Foundation, an independent charitable organization that has donated more than 1 million meals to at risk youth in Canada since it was founded in 2000.

Sodexo Group
Founded in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, Sodexo is the global leader in services that improve Quality of Life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance. Operating in 80 countries, Sodexo serves 75 million consumers each day through its unique combination of On-site Services, Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Through its more than 100 services, Sodexo provides clients an integrated offering developed over more than 45 years of experience: from reception, safety, maintenance and cleaning, to foodservices and facilities and equipment management; from Meal Pass, Gift Pass and Mobility Pass benefits for employees to in-home assistance and concierge services. Sodexo's success and performance are founded on its independence, its sustainable business model and its ability to continuously develop and engage its 428,000 employees throughout the world.

Key Figures (as of August 31, 2013)        
Sodexo in the World       Sodexo in Canada
18.4 billion euro consolidated revenue       10,000 employees
428,000 employees       1.1 million consumers served daily
18th largest employer worldwide       200+ clients
80 countries       500+ sites
33,300 sites        
75 million consumers served daily        
11.4 billion euro market capitalization
(as of November 13, 2013)