BVM August, 2016 - page 17

Business View Magazine - August 2016 17
Sodexo Employees with Disabilities Are
Changing Perceptions by Defying Stereotypes
Michael Black tells everyone that he feels lucky to
work for Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life Ser-
vices. Michael is employed with Sodexo’s food ser-
vice team at the headquarters of Canada’s largest
grocery chain, Loblaws. He works in the dish room
doing general cleaning duties for the cafeteria that
feeds 4,000 Loblaw staff each day. So why does Mi-
chael feel so fortunate? Michael is hearing impaired
and never imagined that he could get a job where he
is a highly valued team member.
The Sodexo team, led by General Manager,
Sean Callaghan, includes a significant num-
ber of people with disabilities, including
spectrum disorders and physical and mental
disabilities. Loblaw is a true partner in sup-
porting Sodexo’s position on employing dif-
ferently-abled team members.
When Callaghan first decided to work with
a local agency to hire employees with dis-
abilities, he was concerned about increased risks to
health and safety as well as increased costs to pro-
vide accommodations. What he found was the oppo-
site. In the past year, his employees with disabilities
had 100% attendance records compared to the rest
of his staff which had an 83% attendance record. As
for workplace injuries, there was only one report from
this group compared to 15 from staff without disabili-
What started out as giving back to the community
and simply doing the right thing has become a good
business decision. “Everybody wins,” Callaghan said.
“While the job brings value to these employees’ daily
lives, they are of great value to the business. Their
reliability and positive attitudes are contagious. The
workplace is more upbeat because of their contribu-
tions and our customers experience that.”
Callaghan recently won a Champion’s League Award
for leadership in breaking down barriers to employ-
ment for people who have a physical or mental disabil-
ity. The award, given annually by the Ontario Disabil-
ity Employment Network (ODEN), honors business
leaders who understand the productivity and morale
benefits of hiring individuals who have a disability and
take direct action to advance inclusion in their work-
Let’s not forget the benefit to the staff with disabili-
ties. Michael Black signed, “If it wasn’t for this op-
portunity, I’d be home just sitting around playing com-
puter games.” And that’s not all—Michael recently
proposed to fellow team mate, Denika Taitt, also hear-
ing impaired. The two are now engaged to be married.
Perfect attendance and better safety compliance, means more value for
organizations like Sodexo that are proactive in hiring differently-abled candidates.
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