Sodexo takes it up a notch

Our pals over at Sodexo are taking their social media recruiting strategy up a notch with the launch of their new career site. They now have a “network with uspage which connects candidates with their pages on sites like facebook, Youtube, etc.

sodexo-network

We asked the Sodexo team to comment on their initiatives and we think you’ll find this Q&A intriguing. Kerry Noone, Marketing Communications Manager responds.

1. Why is sodexo embracing social media?

The purpose of our social networking efforts has been to build personal relationships with potential candidates and current employees. Our goal is to give our visitors the opportunity to take a look inside Sodexo, to interact with us and to strengthen our employment brand.

With more than 120,000 US employees and 6,000 client locations we have career growth opportunities that need to be creatively communicated. Most candidates know us as a food services management company, however, we are a leading facilities management provider and part of a global organization with talent needs in IT, Marketing, sales, etc. We are able to highlight unique jobs on our blog (www.sodexocareers@blogspot.com) by highlighting some of our employees and their experiences in and out of work.

We are also using social media to improve our candidate experience. We have seen a dramatic increase in job inquiries with today’s economy – a 35% increase last month alone. While our recruiters try their best to keep candidates informed of their status, candidates now have a way to reach out to us regarding status, work environment and other questions. As admin of this group, I am in a unique position to connect the members with the right person on our Talent Acquisition, HR or Hiring Manager Team.

2. How did you sell this effort to management?

I feel extremely lucky. I really have not had to “sell” anything to management. When Sodexo says they are innovative – they mean it. Talent Acquisition had already embraced the idea of social media with out first Second Life job fair when I was applying for my position. Sodexo’s Second Life experience and other innovative initiatives were all over the internet – and that sold me on the leadership and the company.

My role was to help increase our footprint on the internet through social networking starting with Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sodexo-Careers-Past-Present-Future/19595418960) YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/SodexoCareers), and LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/44261). I also knew I wanted to start a blog as soon as possible. The Sodexo Careers blog (http://www.sodexocareers.blogspot.com/) was private for about a month while we ensured we had commitment to its transparency. Since then, we have been careful not to take on too much and have remained focused on building the networks we have.

Many of our recruiters are excited to take part now with their own Facebook profiles, monitoring and participating in the Linkedin discussions and now on Twitter (http://sodexocareers.blogspot.com/2008/12/sodexos-twitosphere.html). They join industry groups that relate to their area of concentration, contribute to blogs, answer questions and requests from potential candidates, post career opportunities and recruitment events, etc. that are visible to the networks that they build.

3. Are you measuring results?

If there is a number to track we track it. We look at the number of Facebook members, LinkedIn group members, Twitter followers, YouTube video views (over 44,000 video views to date) and subscribers, blog readers – returning visitors and unique visitors, and visits to our Careers website and specific page hits, all of our microsites, our alumni and employee referral site and our Career Connection eNewsletter. We also assess the interactions and discussions within the groups.

By looking at the numbers monthly we are able to see the growth and activity. We are also able to identify activities that have increased or decreased traffic and make adjustments to our plans. It’s amazing how they all work together to promote each other. Of course we monitor activity through Google Alerts and Twitter searches as well.

4. Any success hiring stories yet?

We believe the efforts are paying off. We’ve greatly increased the traffic to our careers website and job postings since beginning these initiatives and have some great feedback from industry leaders. We’ve generated over 40,000 views on our YouTube channel where we had no public facing videos at this time last year. We have hired candidates through LinkedIn and have had candidates from Facebook interviewed. Because of the long-term “relationship building” nature of these activities, it is difficult to connect a straight line from a single source to individual hires. The power is in our recruiters and other employees creating and managing individual profiles that connect their networks with Sodexo.

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Author: Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton is "Chief Jobcaster" at JobsinPods.com. He is an award-winning producer/director of corporate marketing videos and podcasts. Peter is founder/host of TotalPicture Radio, focused on talent acquisition, HR, TA tech, and leadership.

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