29 Jun 2018
Icon - Recognition
Sodexo employee working with soldiers

Proud to be Supporting our Armed Forces every day and on Armed Forces Day!

Supporting the armed forces is one of the things that I love about my role as Human Resources Director (HRD) in Sodexo’s Defence & Government Services division.

Military life can be tough and over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of working with the armed forces both in the UK and Cyprus, helping to improve the quality of life not only for serving and ex service personnel but also their families, their children and the local communities in which they work and live.

Sodexo’s support of the armed forces goes back a long way.  As an organisation, we’re proud to have worked with the military for over 30 years, focusing on making a positive difference to the lives of those who serve in the military and wider communities.  From creating a home from home environment for soldiers through to helping spouses of service military personnel find employment within our contracts, we offer a range of services to support those who fight for our country.

Defence catering team

As an HRD, people are my priority, and a key focus of mine is to provide the support and environment for serving members of the military, service leavers and their families, recognising and valuing the knowledge, talent and skills that they can bring to our workforce.  We’ve put in a number of initiatives to encourage this including:

  • Strong policies to support reservists – We are committed to being flexible in granting leave to enable employees to train with the Reserve Forces. We will also grant additional unpaid leave to help reservists support the regular armed forces for humanitarian operations and will keep jobs open for employees if they are mobilised.  We also encourage reservists to wear their uniform to work on Reserves Day.
  • Positive recruitment of ex-military personnel – We actively recruit ex-services personnel to help with transition into civilian life.  For example, those applying for jobs with us who meet the ideal criteria for the role advertised are guaranteed to progress to the selection process.  In our Public Service Pledge, as part of our commitment to the armed forces, we have pledged to employ 200 ex-service personnel by the end of 2018.
  • Helping military families – Regular postings associated with military careers can cause big disruptions to family life.  We aim to minimise these kinds of interruptions by providing employment opportunities for the spouses of service personnel posted into areas where we have contracts.
  • Supporting armed forces charities – Supporting military charities provides an excellent way for us to support serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families.  We work with a number of service charities, in particular SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.  Our 14  Armed Forces Covenantyear old partnership with SSAFA has ranged from helping to look after some of their homes at no cost through to employee fundraising, volunteering and sponsorship of events such as SSAFA’s Big Brew Up.  When I was in Cyprus, we sponsored (and we still do) SSAFA’s Young Achiever’s Award.  It was an honour to be a part of such a fantastic and inspiring event which left us all overwhelmed and in awe of the young people from military families who triumphed in the face of adversity.

We are always over the moon when the services and support we provide is recognised externally.  For our commitment and support to the UK Armed Forces Community, last year we received the Gold Employer Recognition Award, the highest badge of honour from the Ministry of Defence.  We were also an early signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, an initiative that recognises employers who actively support the armed forces community in their workplace.

One of the other things that I enjoy about my role is working in partnership with bodies such as the Defence Relationship Management (DRM), and learning from other organisations to identify new opportunities to continue improve our support to the armed forces.

Without a doubt, I feel proud to work for an organisation that addresses the complex needs of military life, and privileged that my role enables me to make a difference in support of those who protect our country.

Rachel EvansRachel Evans is the Human Resources Director for Sodexo Defence & Government Services. She has worked for Sodexo since 2007. 

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