Promoting hiring practices that support the most vulnerable
Sodexo, a French multinational food services and facilities management company known for its progressive social, environmental and ethical standards—shows real promise for demonstrating to other corporations that it pays to care about workers.
Since 2017, it has partnered with Cuso International to bring social inclusion to the workplace. Sodexo employs 10,000 people in Colombia and 450,000 people worldwide and has committed to employ vulnerable populations including women, youths, migrants, victims of conflict and transgender people.
“Inclusion is important because it helps us to increase our productivity, says Juan Pablo Castillo, Director of Corporate Affairs at Sodexo. “Our desire is to generate a healthy organizational culture and promote respect among our staff.”
Cuso International approached Sodexo as part of its efforts to promote peacebuilding and employment through a project titled SCOPE (Sustainable Colombian Opportunities for Peacebuilding and Employment) —more precisely, to promote SCOPE’s Ruta Inclusiva Toolkit. Developed by Cuso International, the award-winning Ruta Inclusiva Toolkit is a program that teaches corporations how to improve their hiring practices. The exercises promote selection and recruitment practices of diverse and vulnerable populations, the prevention of workplace harassment, inclusive communication and work-life balance, among other topics.
“Cuso International approached Sodexo as a potential client for two reasons,” says Alejandro Matos, Cuso International Country Director, Colombia. “Sodexo understands it has much to gain by caring about social inclusion. And it provides the kind of employment that works well for our beneficiaries.”
Ruta Inclusiva operates on the principle that corporations need workers as much as workers need corporations. “Many vulnerable people start their careers with cleaning jobs, which are important to Sodexo’s operations,” says Alejandro. ”Cuso International connects vulnerable people to these jobs, and the corporation gains access to a large pool of workers. Everyone benefits.” So far, the partnership has secured work at Sodexo for 100 vulnerable and marginalized people.
Camilo Pizo is one person whose life has been transformed through the Cuso International-Sodexo partnership. The transgender man, who Sodexo trained and then hired as a cleaner, led a violent life on the streets of Bogotá, Colombia before he found stability in a steady job with Sodexo. This new found security and acceptance have been so meaningful that Camilo calls it a “rebirth.”
“My life has changed, and I plan to study,” says Camilo. “This year I finish high school and then I want to study social work to support people like me. It’s never too late!”
Your investment in Cuso International today provides education on inclusivity and diversity while providing security for individuals like Camilo.