Workplace Meals: Personalisation for Better Management

Employees have long been victims of corporate globalization and as a result, standardization of working conditions. But now, with flex offices, new work from home practices, and new types of jobs, personalization is gaining ground. Soon, there will be as many ways of working as there are employees. 

The ball is therefore in the employers’ court, and they are making every effort to adapt their organizational cultures to reinvent employee experience, especially where meals are concerned. Let us consider the implications of personalized workplace meals, a key element in the future of companies and employees.

‘Everybody is Somebody’

It might sound merely like the chorus of a pop song, but this adage has never been truer. And businesses like popular music apps have clearly grasped this to personalize their user playlists according to their favorite tunes. In the same way, food aggregator apps have customized offers to suit individual eating choices. Accustomed to ‘user-centric’ services, consumers have become used to being respected, listened to, and empowered by solutions that are increasingly tailored to their needs. But if every consumer is unique, what about employees?

Open space offices and the 8-hour day are undergoing a revolution. The novel coronavirus has shaken up the way organizations operate, whatever their size. And in these times, WFH has acted as a savior for many companies that would have otherwise shut down and cost millions of professionals their jobs. Even the government sector, including essential services that had previously not adopted WFH, has today embraced it for the greater good. 

And while people will go back to the office after the pandemic is over, part of this shift will probably be permanent. A recent survey shows a substantial increase in the number of workers who say they won’t go back to the office full time as people are seeing the benefits of working from home.  

In a more flexible, decentralized, and unstructured working context, how can meal offerings be adapted? How can each employee’s consideration be integrated, while creating an overall employee experience strategy to build staff loyalty? 

The solution is to develop technological and organizational solutions to create a healthy environment for everyone, be it in terms of diet, communication, or social matters. 

From Fast Food to Flexi food

In this context, a one-size-fits-all solution to workplace meals no longer appears to be entirely suited to employees’ increasing requirement for flexibility. So, what changes must be made to bring about this transformation, and what are the options?

Technological Flexibility 

Employees now use smartphones for every aspect of their day-to-day lives. Virtual meal cards empower employees to enjoy their meals their way. The Sodexo-Zeta app is one such mobile application that ensures seamless integration and management of these benefits. It allows employees to track spends, locate nearby Sodexo-accepting outlets, avail exclusive deals, and much more. 

Offer Flexibility

The food-service offer must evolve to accommodate the new dietary habits of employees (vegan, food intolerances, and dietary requirements) and evermore fragmented working rhythms. Various businesses have integrated these aspects by offering lunch allowances, meals available throughout the day, healthy snack options, personalized meals, and programs adapted to all diets. 

Moreover, between vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians, and growing environmental awareness, there are now almost as many dietary requirements as there are employees. It is therefore vital for businesses to offer solutions tailored to each employee so that they can flourish in the workplace without hindrance. 

Beyond company productivity and appeal, these fundamental changes also address the questions of staff well-being. 

Corporate Food Services as a New Lever for Employee Loyalty

‘Changing jobs as often as changing clothes.’ If this expression existed, it would be a fairly accurate reflection of the mentality of the young generation entering into the job market. With millennials changing multiple jobs before the age of 30, and a growing desire to be self-employed, adapting to this fact is key. The challenge of building loyalty is well and truly set. It is down to employers to adapt to their talent, and not the other way around. 

Flexibility, personalization, and experience are the three operative words for organizations that know how to attract and retain talent. Businesses are abandoning generic programs in favour of personalized employee experiences to address all needs. In this time of widespread remote working there is a need to suit all dietary requirements, in a context of enhanced attention to nutrition. Food services are faced with all these issues and are providing answers. 

The industry’s specialist operators have devised numerous offers to meet consumers’ expectations and to support and guide organizations in their development. Workplace meals have thus become a cornerstone of the employee experience, with a capacity to inspire deeper change in the entire value chain.