Advancing Women in Global Operations

August 1, 2016 12:16 pm

Sodexo’s chief diversity officer shares best practices for advancing women overseas.


By Eve Tahmincioglu

Rohini Anand, SodexoRohini Anand, Sodexo’s senior vice president of corporate responsibility and global chief diversity officer, got an unusual request from female employees at the company’s India operations.

(Sodexo is No. 6 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.)

Anand was doing diversity and inclusion work for Sodexo in India and asked middle-management and entry-level women what they needed from her as far as helping them advance in their careers. She had made her own checklist on what she thought should be done, but the women said something that opened Anand’s eyes.

Many of them live in joint families, including with in-laws, and found that they had to leave work early to cook for their clans because of traditional expectations.

So, they asked Anand if she could help them impart a message to their extended families that what they were doing at work was important.

“We did a simple thing,” Anand explained. “We had a recognition day at work and invited the extended families in, and we gave the women prizes and awards and recognized them. And all of a sudden it elevated the status of these women at home, so if they had to stay late they weren’t questioned, and very often when they went home the meals were made.”

Check out our Diversity in Minutes conversation with Anand, where she talks about this experience and also shares advice and the company’s strategies for advancing women in international operations.