Martin BODEN, Sodexo China Country President and Country Segment Director of Corporate Services, China, was interviewed by, and mentioned "We want to build an ecosystem through digital innovation".

This article was published on by DENG Xiaolei (journalist) on September 25, 2018.

Most companies realize that their success not only depends on appealing “the most excellent, most intelligent” talents, but also lies in inspiring employees feel more engaged by workplace and corporate culture. However, with global digitalization transformation, rising of automation, social expectation shift, and the influence of lifestyle, the enterprises are facing changes.

Recently, “2018 Global Workplace Trends Report” released by Sodexo proposes seven trends including Getting Ready for Gen Z, Human Capital Management 3.0, the Internet of Things-Shaping the Future Workplace, Creating the Emotional Intelligent Workplace, Re-imagining Resources in the Sharing Economy, Moving the Needle on Gender Balance, and Employees: New Change Agents for Corporate Responsibility.

Martin BODEN, Sodexo China Country President, Country Segment Director of Corporate Services, said, international companies with rapid changes shall pay more attention to “people” in the workplace. To see where business value from, how to attract talents, retain them, and create company value by talents is important. For Chinese companies, many of them are facing the problem of how to improve efficiency.

Technology Will Influence Workplace

Martin BODEN thinks that the following tends in the Report are much concerned to China market: Getting Ready for Gen Z, Human Capital Management 3.0, and the Internet of Things-Shaping the Future Workplace.

The year 2017 is the first year that generation Z (born in 1995-2012, also known as post-1995s) enters the workplace. How can enterprise get ready when the new generation comes?

Martin BODEN believes that companies can examine the key traits of Gen Z and build an inclusive environment to let the new comers get involved into the company soon. Obviously, Gen Z is a distinct generation and not to be grouped in with their Millennial counterparts. They are exposed to digital technology products since born. From their preference for technology, work-life blend over balance, these employees are already reshaping the workplace in new and exciting ways.

Currently in workplace, the Internet of Things develops much fiercely, which offers immediate improvements to the employee experience, from enhanced organization to more efficient facilities management that boosts productivity. In Sodexo China Shanghai headquarter, Sodexo one-stop integrated facilities management cloud platform is conveniently available, with smart visitor management system, smart meeting room book management system and intelligent energy-saving management platform.

While new technologies have delivered significant benefits, workplace complexity continues to rise. The employee experience has come into focus as a key area for improvement-and Human Capital Management (HCM) is increasingly being leveraged as a solution. “Enterprises need to understand employees and communicate with them. This requires the human resources department to be a strategic partner of organizational transformation and convey company's business philosophy to employees.” Martin BODEN said. Human Capital Management 3.0 emphasizes building communities through the new technology and enabling to offer employees a safe and healthy working environment, bring them gender balance, balance of work and life experience in the workplace through the linkage of different technologies and applications.

Chinese Digital Innovation Goes to the World

Founded in France in 1966, Sodexo is engaged in catering service and integrated facilities management. As of 2017 fiscal year, with 425,000 employees in 80 countries, Sodexo serves through its more than 100 quality of life service solutions, including On-site Services, Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services, delivering quality of life service to clients.

As of August 31, 2017, Sodexo achieved 20.7 billion euro in consolidated revenues, among which Sodexo APAC earned 1.2 billion euro in consolidated revenues, marking the most robust growing speed around the globe. To name the segmented business, Benefits and Rewards Services issue volume reached 0.6 billion euro.

“China plays a growing essential role in our APAC business. And it is one of the best High Growth Market of the Group.” Martin BODEN mentioned.

Since its entry in China in 1995, Sodexo China has 12,500 people at over 500 sites and serves 1,100,000 consumers every day. Martin BODEN, who took office at the beginning of the year, is in charge of Sodexo's largest segment in China. Since inauguration, one of his most important tasks has been to promote Sodexo's digital and innovation process in China. To further enhance Sodexo's unique competitiveness, Martin BODEN combines Sodexo services with cutting-edge technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data, and Artificial Intelligence to create intelligent workplaces for clients to provide world-leading Quality of Life services. Under his leadership, Sodexo China continues to accelerate growth.

What is Quality of Life service? Martin BODEN said Sodexo has defined it in six dimensions: personal growth, the implementation of conditions for collaborative efficiency, the creation of a secure and safe physical environment, the development of social interaction, individual recognition, and the promotion of health and well-being. “The development of social interaction is the first. From the open space to catering service, it makes it possible that people in the workplace do better social interaction. We provide better nutritious meals, wellness services, nursery rooms to promote health and well-being. Our meeting room management center, reception and courier services help realize an easy and collaborative efficiency quality of life. The physical environment enables to adjust with consumers’ needs. And individual recognition will be achieved by training programs.”

For example, Sodexo provides facilities management services and catering services for International School of Beijing, knowing their needs to improve students’ quality of life.

“This benefits from our digital transformation in the past two years.” Martin BODEN said. Sodexo China releases two digital solutions: Sodexo Digital Restaurant and one-stop integrated facilities management cloud platform. The latter customized solution integrates mobile appliances to manage visitor, meeting room, etc. It combines the high-frequency application scenarios of the IFM environment, provides customized modular solutions and creates a one-stop integrated service of IFM according to different work scenarios and company needs. Finally, achieve the integrated operations with integrated facilities management services. When it comes to Sodexo Digital Restaurant, how can we provide food to consumers comes to the first place? Sodexo Digital Restaurant with smart catering APP, intelligent food recognition cashier, smart retail etc. to leverage efficiency, make services like tailored and mobile payment available to consumers.

Through the innovation brought by digital transformation, Martin BODEN is very confident in Sodexo's development prospects in China. He believes that the industry will continue to be specialized. Companies like Sodexo provide services that help enterprise employees improve their quality of life and thus help the organization increase their business value through such business support services.

He also revealed that Sodexo China will further expand its segments, including Corporate Services, Education, Healthcare and Sodexo Live!. Sodexo has signed a global partnership agreement with Huawei to provide facilities management services worldwide. “We want to build an ecosystem through digital innovation, and bring China's local business and ideas to the world by cooperation with clients.” 

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