ISSUE #66 – Philippe Estreguil, HR Director for Asia Pacific, Sodexo (pictured below) shares with us more about workplace trends in Asia, and a few Do’s & Don’ts that apply across the region.
Could you share with us about Sodexo’s presence across the zone and the role of the headquarters in Singapore?
Sodexo is currently present in 18 territories across the Asia Pacific. We have 70,000 employees delivering services to over 11.2 million consumers in the region daily. We serve a broad spectrum of clients including multinational corporations, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, sports and leisure event venues and mining and defence sites.
Singapore is our Asia Pacific headquarters. APAC is the fastest-growing region for Sodexo so this is a strategic location for our business. First the environment is conducive for business. It’s an innovative city that makes it easy for us to partner with start-ups. Singapore is not just convenient in terms of geographical location; its time zone also allows us to work effortlessly with markets like Australia and India.
Last but not least, Singapore is close to our hearts because this is where we first embarked on our Asia Pacific operations in 1982.
What an insightful report on Global Workplace Trends 2018! Could you share with us one or two that might resonate in this region?
Sodexo’s Global Workplace Trends is an annual initiative that started in 2012. It serves to provide business leaders an informed perspective on the workplace of the future. Also, through these insights gathered by top global experts, we are able to help our clients plan for the future, deliver on our core mission – to improve the quality of life for individuals at work – and demonstrate how improving the quality of life for employees impacts business performance.
For 2018, we have seven trends with a clear unifying theme: the need for collective intelligence across all workplace domains. Of all these trends, two are particularly relevant for the APAC region.
a) Getting Ready for Gen Z:
2017 marked the first full year with Generation Z (defined as those born between 1995 and 2012) in the workforce. In no time, they will become the backbone of our labour market. Being sensitive to the strengths, aspirations and needs of Gen Z is important in this region because APAC is seeing ageing populations especially in Singapore, Japan and Australia. Organisations need to know what Gen Z brings to the workplace in order to foster a vibrant multi-generational mix.
Employers should know that Gen Z are focused on career progression and may not stay in the same company for long. Hence, creating “alumni networks” may help keep former employees informed of latest happenings and be a way of attracting talent back into the business when the opportunity arises.
For example, Sodexo in North America has an alumni community called Reconnexions. The community allows our ex-colleagues to participate in personal development programmes, keep in touch with friends and even contribute to our volunteer efforts. Hopefully this is something we can adopt one day in APAC.
b) Moving the Needle on Gender Balance:
Workplace diversity has been shown to bring more than just economic benefits. Diversity however, is more than making the numbers add up. It requires instilling and prioritising true including and belonging. Companies that want to overcome gender imbalances must examine the barriers that are holding women back – from biases and double standards to lack of sponsorship.
Culturally, the territories in Asia Pacific are very different. It is through a thorough understanding of the local environment that we can drive gender balance.
In Sodexo APAC, we make it a priority to recruit female talents. Also, we have developed a programme called Sodexo Women’s International Forum for Talent (SWIFt) . It was created for female middle managers and senior managers to develop their leadership skills and empower them to take their career to the next level. These programmes are led by both male and female senior leaders in our company.
Globally, 32% of our senior executives are female. We are working to increase this to 40% by the year 2025.
Access Sodexo’s Global Workplace Trends 2018 here
Any common workplace Do’s & Don’ts that you can share with us that might apply across the region?
- Make it a point to promote gender inclusivity in the workplace – this can drive business outcomes.
- APAC is a diverse, growing region in terms of population, language and levels of development. Have an open mind and embrace cultural diversity.
- Do not assume that the same set of rules, technological solutions and success stories can be replicated in every territory in APAC due to the diversity in this region. Pay attention to cultural nuances. For example, WeChat works well in China but not so in other countries.
Interview with Philippe Estreguil, HR Director for Asia Pacific, Sodexo
Published in FOCUS Magazine — Issue #2 2018 “Connecting to the Region”