On the 7th of December, Sodexo ran an event titled ‘power of food – nurturing employee experience’. So naturally, as office caterers, this was an event we wanted to be part of. Team Fooditude was honoured to provide food for the event, including a hot buffet, vegan treats pop-up and a food waste meal pop-up (but more on that later).
Sodexo had pulled together a tremendous line-up from across the industry for their expert panel, including:
- Caroline Baldwin, Features Editor at The Caterer
- Linda Hausmanis, CEO at IWFM
- James Greetham, Founder and CEO of Spung Collective
- Ali Khan, Chief Operating Officer at Shape
- Claire Atkins Morris, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Sodexo
‘The Great Resignation’
The discussion was focused on attracting and retaining talent for businesses. The conversation started on the topic of the ‘Great Resignation’. The panel members highlighted how we face a period of chaos and experimentation in the workplace. Whatever the outcome from today’s workplace developments, ‘going into the office’ will not return to how it was before the pandemic. Linda Hausmanis poignantly spoke about how business leaders who still long for ‘the good old days’ of the workplace risk falling behind in attracting and retaining talent.
The panel took the ‘Great Resignation’ debate further by emphasising the importance of looking at the entire workforce demographic to understand how to best support them. A different approach is needed to engage an employee from ‘generation Z’, and another is needed to retain employee talent from the ‘boomer’ generation.
After all, a workforce is a collective of individuals, and businesses should avoid putting people into boxes when shaping their wellness strategy. However, as pointed out by James Greetham, sharing a meal or even just a coffee is one of the best catalysts for connecting people. Businesses should put a value on experience, and free-issue meals are a big incentive that brings teams together. It’s so much more than an ‘office perk’; free meals shouldn’t be thought of in terms of their financial cost, but rather the opportunity cost of not providing that means for people to connect.
One audience member asked whether providing free food perks could be linked to increased productivity. The answers from the panel were interesting as they flipped the narrative. Food shouldn’t be provided with the motive of productivity but rather to make staff happier. A happier employee will be more engaged and probably more productive because of that – not simply the fact that they’re given food. That’s why it’s important to provide a quality food offer that people enjoy, talk about and look forward to.
Wellbeing and Sustainability
Claire Atkins Morris brought climate anxiety to the forefront of the discussion, highlighting the importance of the link between climate change and wellbeing. Suppose businesses want to establish a company culture that unifies. In that case, they need to ensure that their ESG, from their operations to the sustainability of their catering, is impactful, progressive and well-communicated.
It’s a Wrap!
We felt lucky to have heard the insights and opinions from the panel discussion. Sodexo’s ‘power of food’ event was a thought-provoking and innovative event shared amongst our industry friends who believe in feeding people in a sustainable and wellbeing-focused way.
Whilst the Good Eating Company did a superb job serving drinks and canapes; our team were busy feeding people with our buffet, zero waste tastes pop-up and our vegan sweetness pop-up. Wanna see our favourite food picks from the night? No problem! Here they are: