Poll Highlights the Power of Food

A new survey reveals that 86% of C-suite and senior management said that a well-managed food programme in the workplace contributed to building a strong company culture. The finding came from a poll conducted by workplace services provider Sodexo Ireland at its “Thriving at Work – Fuelling Employee Experience for Success” event. Furthermore, 62% said that “big decisions await” in striking the right balance for their workplace model.  

Pictured at the event are: Barry Winkless, Head of the Future of Work Institute and Chief Strategy Officer at CPL Group; Julie Ennis, Chief Executive, Corporate Services, Sodexo UK and Ireland and Country President for Ireland; Dean Kennett, Founder and Managing Director, Fooditude; journalist, broadcaster and lecturer Emmet Oliver, who chaired the panel discussion; Paula McLoughlin, Co-founder of A Lust for Life and The Blink Effect; and David Fox, Managing Director, Sodexo Ireland.

Over 100 guests from tech, banking, FMCG and consultancy firms attended the event held at the new Bord Bia Global Hub in Dublin. Maureen Gahan, foodservice specialist at Bord Bia welcomed the guests to its new headquarters. Keynotes by David Fox, managing director of Sodexo Ireland and Julie Ennis, CEO corporate services, Sodexo UK & Ireland and country president for Ireland, were followed by a lively and insightful panel debate, chaired by journalist, broadcaster and lecturer Emmet Oliver, around the elements of creating a thriving workplace for employees.

The panellists were Paula McLoughlin, co-founder of A Lust for Life and The Blink Effect, Barry Winkless, head of the Future of Work Institute and chief strategy officer at CPL Group, and Dean Kennett, founder and managing director, Fooditude.

The interactive discussions included the impact of the pandemic on people’s psychology and its impact on the workplace with topics discussed including how organisations must now seek to take account of the best aspects of both the physical and virtual aspects of the working environment, the critical role leaders must play in designing and building company culture and the valuable role that food can play in social bonding and connections.

The event highlighted the need for organisations developing workplace strategies to consider the varying needs and expectations of different employee cohorts. One panel member shared how they are seeing leading-edge companies thinking like “experience designers” when developing their workplace strategies and the importance of taking a people-centric approach and involving their employees along all stages of the design journey. 

It was agreed that a key focus for the physical office is to create an environment that enables coaching, connections and collaboration to take place. Food and drink were cited as one of the best catalysts for engaging people, with authenticity of dishes and sustainable practices a must to meet consumer expectations and demands.

Another unanimous conclusion was the importance of creating a workplace where a thriving culture can truly be felt, and one in which success isn’t just based on data and numbers.

Guests were then invited to enjoy a sensory food experience delivered by Sodexo and Fooditude culinary teams, showcasing the latest food trends and insights for organisations looking to create those agile and innovative workplace dining experiences and those “wow” moments for employees, which in turn will motivate them to return to the office.

Sodexo host David Fox, managing director, Sodexo Ireland, said:

“We are having conversations every day with clients on ways to build workplace culture, increase engagement, nurture wellbeing and fuel productivity. Organisations are still trying to test and understand what workplace design will work best for them. We wanted to bring people together and provide a forum to come together and share the latest thinking.”