07 Mar 2019
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Serving up a treat – Simon heads back to the floor!

Sodexo’s ‘Back to the Floor’ programme gives senior managers the chance to get a better understanding of the great work front line teams do on any given day. It also gives the teams and opportunity to share any ideas for improvement and challenges they may face.

On 28 February, Simon McCluskey, finance director for Sodexo Schools & Universities, went back to the floor at St Gregory’s Catholic College in Bath.

In this blog, Simon shares his experience of the working visit and views of the back to the floor programme.

“Why did I attend the back to the floor programme? …because I was told to! But, I also know from Sodexo’s employee engagement surveys that teams want to see senior leaders out in the trenches, appreciating what they do on a day to day basis.

“It’s a real chance to show that senior leaders care about what is happening on the frontline and I have more days out planned in my diary.

“At the start of the day, I had a quick initial meet with the St Gregory’s team before catering manager Tracey Millard introduced me the colleges head teacher and finance manager. They were glowing about the team and their service, and are keen to develop added value partnerships with Sodexo, which was fantastic to hear!

“At present the team operates in a facility that will soon be fully refurbished by the college. This will enable the team to take service to the next level – the college and team (and now me!) are excited to see this come to fruition.

“As for my personal experience in the kitchen/outlets – the team were all too nice! For the most part, they let me talk and watch them in action. I watched alongside as they delivered great customer service – interacting with the students whilst making and serving a variety of different dishes. They did let me finish making the mango cheesecake, which I am sure was a best seller!

Pictured: Simon and the St Gregory’s Catholic College catering team

“From the day, I got some great feedback about what Sodexo can do better for all the teams, which I have taken away and will make sure to feed back to the rest of the support team. I would say to all my Sodexo colleagues – don’t be afraid to tell your support team where they and Sodexo and could support you better. We are always looking to improve and need your help to do so.

“Some feedback was that the onsite teams would like to support menu development and further improve the student experience. They also suggested some great food waste reducing ideas and had some insight into removing single-use plastics.

“The team gave me feedback on some Sodexo initiatives that have been worthwhile, but were made over complicated for front line teams – this included access to online pay slips and the Reward Hub, with a request to make things simpler in the future.

“The ‘Back to the Floor’ programme is really important and it is the senior leadership team’s responsibility to make sure it doesn’t fizzle out! My role may be finance director, but I am not a natural mathematician, so avoiding the constant calls for data and reports and seeing our teams, sites, customers and clients gave me great satisfaction. I enjoy being out there – I want, must and will do more to be so!

“I would encourage other members of the Schools & Universities senior leadership to take part and for other managers across Sodexo to consider participating in the ‘Back to Floor’ programme. It is just one way we can engage with our teams, stimulate conversation and ignite progress.

“Thank you to all the team – Tracey, Debbie, Heidi, Kelly, Jo, Becky and Mel. To quote Arnie, “I will be back”, to see the new facility when it is built, if not sooner!”

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