How does a service organisation improve the quality of life for consumers

21 Jul 2016

Blog by Phil Hooper, Corporate Affairs Director, Sodexo UK & Ireland

At Sodexo we strive to make sure that facilities management (FM) is not treated as a commodity. We put the focus on adding value to client organisations through service excellence, and to do this we look at the human dimension of what we do.

Central to our business is focussing on how the services we provide impact on people’s experience to improve outcomes such as patients’ wellbeing and recovery; reducing reoffending by prisoners; improving productivity in the workplace or helping young people fulfil their potential. Instead of viewing our business as many FM companies do – as a business to business provider – we view it as business to consumer, and if you include the client dimension in this then our business is business to consumer for business.

At Sodexo we do not just talk about improving quality of life, we have done much more. For example, in 2009, Sodexo set out to create a resource to deepen its understanding of quality of life. The resulting think tank, the Sodexo Institute for Quality of Life, is founded on Sodexo’s conviction that improving quality of life leads to the progress of individuals and contributes to the performance of organisations.

The Institute’s objective is to gather and develop insight on the drivers of quality of life and their impact. It does this by developing and leveraging relationships with external experts such as academics or the OECD, a Sodexo Group partner.

Sodexo believes there are distinct areas of quality of life which our services impact directly. These include the physical and social environment. This encompasses everything that contributes to an individual’s comfort and security: optimal temperature in a corporate environment; quality room furniture in a hospital and effective energy and well-monitored environment in universities through to the meal sharing experiences; hospital visiting areas and online student communities.

Health and nutrition is another key area. The FM industry, through a catering service, has an influence on the provision of nutritious and healthy meals, advice on nutrition and lifestyle, and can provide access to fitness and athletic programmes whether in a company, a hospital and a university.

There are also a number of people-related areas such as factors which help an individual to feel truly valued, such as non-financial employee rewards or incentive programmes for companies. Aspects of the workplace which help individuals to learn and progress, for instance: offering first professional experience to students in universities.

In summary, of course there is the cost of FM but as an industry we can create value for our clients, their employees and customers well beyond that.

Phil Hooper is Corporate Affairs Director for Sodexo UK & Ireland. Sodexo delivers services that improve the quality of life to clients in the corporate, healthcare, education, leisure, justice and defence sectors.

Phil is responsible for all brand and communications as well as overseeing the company’s client relationship management teams.

Further to his role at Sodexo, Phil has led and been involved in a number of delegations that have lobbied the government on behalf of the industry. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, a member of the BSA chairmanship committee, chair of the Foodservice Management group at the British Hospitality Association, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Springboard Charitable Trust and a patron of Hospitality Action.

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