June 12, 2019

Dedication to Diversity & Inclusion at a Global Corporation, with Dr. Rohini Anand

Episode 15:

Dr. Rohini Anand is Global Chief Diversity Officer for Sodexo, responsible for the strategic direction, implementation, and alignment of Sodexo’s integrated global diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as Sodexo’s corporate social responsibility and wellness strategies.

Under Dr. Anand’s leadership, Sodexo received the prestigious 2012 Catalyst Award and has ranked in the top ten for nine consecutive years on the DiversityInc business index of Top Companies for Diversity and Inclusion. In addition, The Human Rights Campaign has given Sodexo a 100 percent rating on its Corporate Equality Index for nine years and Sodexo was named Global Sustainability Industry Leader in its sector for the 13th year in a row by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). Additionally, Sodexo has been ranked as the top-scoring company in its sector for its excellent sustainability performance in the benchmark RobecoSAM ‘Sustainability Yearbook 2017’ for ten consecutive years. Today, the Sodexo brand is synonymous with diversity, sustainability, and wellness leadership. Sodexo’s remarkable global culture change, led by diversity and inclusion, is featured in a Harvard Business School case study entitled Shifting the Diversity Climate: the Sodexo Solution as well as profiled in several books on global diversity and inclusion.

Dr. Anand received her PhD from the University of Michigan. She chairs the Catalyst Board of Advisors, and serves on the boards of several organizations including the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Community Wealth Partners, the National Organization on Disabilities (NOD) and Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation. She also serves on the Charter Communications External Diversity and Inclusion Council.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How moving to the United States after growing up in India showed Rohini how it feels to be a part of a minority group for the first time
  • How transitioning from being a consultant to working for a single company at Sodexo was a powerful opportunity for her
  • How Sodexo is a giant worldwide organization as well as a global leader in diversity and inclusion
  • How Sodexo managers are held accountable for inclusivity behaviors by linking a portion of their bonus pay to inclusivity metrics
  • What specific measures are found on the inclusivity scorecards at Sodexo, and why it goes beyond checking off boxes
  • What kind of backlash Sodexo initially saw when tracking inclusivity practices and linking them to bonuses, and how adding the right metrics made a difference
  • What advice Rohini would offer to organizations who don’t have the ability to link inclusivity metrics to bonuses
  • How Sodexo has done studies that determined that more diverse teams are more productive and effective than less diverse teams
  • Why cultural competence is a vital component for Sodexo, especially as a global company, and why trust and respect between teams across borders is key
  • How Rohini keeps everyone engaged in inclusivity and diversity work, and why ingraining it into the organization’s culture is vital
  • Why global populism is causing a regression in diversity and inclusion around the world, and why corporations rather than governments will lead the charge for change
  • What advice Rohini would offer to people who are new to diversity and inclusion work, and why partnerships and allies are key

Additional resources: