HR Administration

Sodexo Inc.: Optimas Award Winner for Vision

By Sarah Fister Gale

Nov. 1, 2012

A few years ago, the recruiting team at Sodexo Inc. noticed a growing trend of job seekers using mobile devices to access job postings and career sites. But when they landed at websites that weren’t optimized for mobile use—including Sodexo’s—the sites wouldn’t work.

“We knew we needed to do something or we were going to lose traffic,” says Arie Ball, vice president of sourcing and talent acquisition. For a company that recruits 4,500 executive and management positions every year, that was a risk it didn’t want to take.

Sodexo also believes mobile will help the company recruit minorities, which is critical to the company’s rigorous diversity goals. “Minority groups—once thought to have the least computer access—comprise the largest group of mobile users,” Ball says.

According to the Pew Research Center, 51 percent of Latinos and 56 percent of African-Americans access the Internet via a mobile device. And 38 percent of black and Latino smartphone users go online mostly using their cellphone. To increase traffic among more diverse populations, in 2010 Sodexo optimized its career websites for mobile traffic and built three separate mobile-enabled career portals for current and past employees and job seekers who had never worked for the company.

Internal candidates see 30 percent more openings than external candidates through the portals, Ball says. “We know that advancement opportunities is the No. 1 employment value proposition for Sodexo hires, so we wanted to give them greater opportunities to advance their career.”

The company also built the Sodexo Careers and Job Search app, which lets candidates search and apply for jobs from their mobile device. The portals and the app make it easier for candidates to identify and apply for jobs anywhere in the organization.

“Mobile is changing the way companies approach their recruitment strategies and the way that candidates seek out career opportunities,” Ball says.

In the first nine months of Sodexo’s mobile initiative, the app was downloaded almost 8,000 times, and the recruiting team connected with 2,687 mobile candidates. From those, Sodexo made 26 hires, 15 of whom are internal employees.

“If you don’t have a mobile career site today, you are losing candidates,” Ball says.

For developing mobile recruitment strategies to stay ahead of the curve and attract diverse candidates, Sodexo is the 2012 winner of the Optimas Award for Vision.

Sarah Fister Gale is a writer based in the Chicago area. Comment below or email

Workforce Management, November 2012, p. 30Subscribe Now!

Sarah Fister Gale is a writer in Chicago.

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