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Sodexo Releases 2013 Workplace Trends Report

Wide-ranging in its analysis, report emphasizes an integrated approach to managing the employee and built environment in order to achieve higher productivity.

In January, Sodexo released it annual Workplace Trends Report, an analysis of various drivers that the workplace environment, employees and their attitudes towards employers and work. It reviews issues ranging from recruiting and talent mentoring to organizational performance and facilities management strategies.

Among its many findings is that while
Millennials are far more likely (at 86 percent) to say they would consider leaving an employer whose values fall short of their expectations, the workforce broadly, across all generations, see corporate responsibility as a potential motivating factor at work.

The 2013 Workplace Trends Report offers insight into drivers affecting the people, workplace environment and community impact issues faced daily by companies across the U.S. and around the world. Among the 12 leading trends it identifies, the Report takes a deep dive into issues ranging from recruiting and mentoring talent to the corrosive effects of workplace bullying, and from the distinct benefits of sustainable working environments to integrated people and facilities solutionsthat deliver increased individual and organizational performance.

“It’s a volatile world: economic factors, social issues, even naturally occurring events such as severe weather, place pressure on organizations to consistently deliver innovative, integrated solutions to complex problems,” says Sodexo North America COO Michael Norris who is also market president for the company's Corporate Services unit.

"It’s not a matter of if, it’s when—the time when an organization is presented with the opportunity to do the right thing for their employees, their communities and the environment.”


12 Key Trends

The report (you can view it in its entirety here) focuses on 12 key areas that it believes have the most singificant impact on increased individual and organizational performance:

1.     The Built Environment's Crucial Role in Organization Performance

2.     Superstar Recruitment – the Power of Community

3.     Inspiring a Connection to People, Community and Brand Through CSR

4.     A Contemporary View of Inclusion and its Effect of Psychological Health

5.     21st Century Mentoring

6.     Thriving in the Cloud

7.     Ushering in the New Era of Recognition

8.     Facilities Management: A Strategy, Not a Tactic

9.     Data Reporting OUT; Predictive Modeling IN

10.  International Design and Construction; a Shifting Paradigm

11.  The Changing Office…Literally

12.  Integration as THE Solution

Leading indicators from the Report cite, for example, that the way the marketplace engages with prospective employees today is vastly different than it was just five years ago. Today, social media and mobile communications dominate over traditional e-mail campaigns.

As an example, it cites a recent study by Jobvite that found 92 percent of U.S. companies were using social media networks in 2012 as part of their recruitment efforts. Additionally, seven out of 10 employers report having successfully hired a candidate through social media, up from 58 percent in 2010.

While significant time and resources are spent on recruiting top talent, the Report notes that once onboard, 35 percent of the U.S. workforce report being bullied at work—defined as repeated, harassing behavior that is deliberately intended to cause harm to individuals and prevent them from excelling at work, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. This emerging issue is at the forefront of human capital management and represents a real workplace psychological health concern that can truly hurt a company's bottom line.


Facilities Management: A Strategy, Not a Tactic

A clear message of the report is Sodexo's longstanding belief that successful facilities management entails an integrated strategy that recognizes the inter-relatedness of issues as wide-ranging as environmental consciousness, indoor air quality, dining services and office space design.

The Report notes that facilities management is essentially now a strategy and not just a tactic, or worse yet, an afterthought. Sustainability—an office feature once considered distinctive—has become table stakes. Whether it’s economics, environmental consciousness or both, must-haves from clients, even those with no interest in green building, now include recycled products (including buildings), locally sourced and sustainable materials, energy-efficient HVAC systems and better indoor air quality. The trend is an unmistakable shift toward offices designed to attract and retain top talent while emphasizing productivity over cost savings and quality of life per square footage. 

“The workplace, and the environment it creates, is now a key tool for supporting work, for shaping the experiences of the workforce, and for producing competitive advantage,” explains Norris. “Facilities management has evolved and is simply no longer about just managing the facility, but rather it’s now about engaging and enabling people to be productive, and creating value for the organization and its communities.” 

Integration 2.0 is another forward-looking concept identified by the Report. The needs of the current working generation are significantly more complex and dynamic, and creating efficient, effective, and flexible work environments that take into account total well-being has become a critical decision point for organizational leaders. The Report finds that progressive organizations are now understanding and solving for human needs when developing workplace services and solutions in unique ways, such as designing strategic Life/Work Ecosystems and evaluating the impact of these ecosystems on improved service and people effectiveness and well-being.

The 2013 Workplace Trends Report combines insight from clients, academia, principal research, and leading facilities management and human resource trade organizations. Sodexo’s researchers used mixed-method research to monitor and collectively examine trends that affect the quality of life of their consumers in the workplace.

This approach included traditional quantitative measures such as end user satisfaction and preference surveys, psychographic analysis at client sites, social media monitoring and a literary review consisting of consultant reports, academic and trade journals, and information from industry associations. The 2013 Workplace Trends Report represents a sample size in excess of 1,000 end users.

One of the most interesting sections of the report is its Master Reference List on p. 72, which provides links to much of the primary source material it references throughout its discussions.

The complete report including additional content, expert sources and b-roll is available at


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