Workplace Experience: Office / Corporate Environment 2021


Workplace Experience Programme, Sodexo and AstraZeneca Partnership

Workplace Experience: Office / Corporate Environment 2021

Sodexo’s work with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca (AZ) to create a best-in-class workplace experience programme for its UK sites followed earlier GPTW (Great Place to Work) initiatives organised on an ad-hoc basis.

A programme team formed from AZ’s FM team and Sodexo’s events, operations and culinary teams set out to provide a fresh solution that would support the wider AZ business while also enhancing the employee experience for the Sodexo team and other supplier partners across the business.

The initiative was delivered through a structured programme of workplace events. A 12-month calendar of initiatives to engage with the workforce was devised, comprising:

  • Delivery of monthly Random Acts of Kindness
  • A Health & Wellbeing programme
  • A Community support programme
  • Food-related Culinary activities led by Sodexo chefs
  • Customer and Team engagement activities
  • ‘Recognition Days’ scheduled throughout the year

Once agreed, the team worked on processes to support the marketing and delivery of this calendar. Examples of the variety of activity include: AZ/Sodexo team members training as mental health first aiders; NHS cake bakes; chefs delivering live ‘cook along’ sessions; hosted workplace markets; Drive-In Movie events; a concierge service to support with both in work and at home tasks; use of the Twelve app to speed up catering; and 35,000 Random Acts of Kindness were delivered to our Key Workers on site across 2020.

Events pre-pandemic were physically delivered in the workplace. Covid-19 meant further innovations to support the 4,000+ AZ key workers on-site while also keeping the work from home population engaged and connected.

Results gleaned

The programme has led to a more vibrant, energised and engaged workforce with a greater connection to local communities.

Different pillars of the programme support AZ and Sodexo’s priorities around sustainability, employee engagement, people development and providing a vibrant and collaborative place to work.

On sustainability, Sodexo’s Klimato app calculates the climate impact of food served to customers based on ingredients, production method and country of origin, allowing teams to develop more climate-friendly menu choices, while newly introduced composters reduce the amount of waste sent off-site and channeling more of it across campuses to support horticultural needs.

Delivery of the programme has been built into monthly KPI’s and the quarterly review process. Updates are featured in both AstraZeneca FM Fikas and Sodexo’s virtual team meetings, alongside monthly governance meetings. The people and engagement element is seen as a priority to both businesses in supporting GPTW.

A new Culture and Events Workplace (Facebook at work) community has recently been introduced, with the company’s workplace activity highlighted and promoted through a central location, while the team is now working with the Social Value Portal to link the programme with its development, community outreach and sustainability activities.

Best practice learning points

Gaining senior stakeholder buy-in – in terms of engaging with the plans for the year, budgeting for the activity and championing and promoting the delivery at a senior level across the business – was key.

Senior stakeholders helped finance external presenters, purchase random acts of kindness and encourage teams to support events and activities.

Robust business processes also make a big difference, with ‘after action’ reviews helping capture what has worked well and what could be improved.

The programme has regularly featured in Sodexo business updates, with team members asked to share details of its approach to workplace activity with a number of other business segments.

Key Quote

“We have adapted the programme over the last 12 months to continue to support the business and both its large number of key workers on site and our work from home population.”