Sodexo Live! Shares Training Processes from Attracting Talent to Developing the Next Lineup of Leaders - Senior Executive

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8 min

Sodexo Live! Shares Training Processes from Attracting Talent to Developing the Next Lineup of Leaders

Dexi, an AI onboarding tool, and the Aviation Academy training program are two company assets that Yves Cadet is using to aid employee training and automate learning.

by Zee Johnson on December 8, 2023

Yves Cadet

Yves Cadet

Senior Learning Solutions Manager
Sodexo Live!


  • Yves Cadet, senior learning manager at Sodexo Live!, began his career in L&D as the training and development manager for Olive Garden before becoming a learning leader at Dave and Buster’s and Del Frisco’s Grille.

  • Upon joining Sodexo, Cadet was instrumental in the launch of seven airport lounges throughout the Northeast, helping to design and implement training tailored to each location.

  • Cadet also oversees Lift, the company’s mentorship program that places employees on a distinctive path to leadership. Through this program, 150 employees were promoted to manager-level positions last year.

Staffing and employee engagement is more important than ever in the hospitality industry — the 2022 GDP contribution from the travel and tourism industry was 7.6%, marking a 22% increase from 2021. As travel picks up again after the COVID-19 lull, cultivating a standout new hire onboarding and employee training experience is critical.

At hospitality company Sodexo Live!, which has more than 40,000 employees in 500 stadiums, arenas, convention centers, zoos, museums, and airport lounges globally, Yves Cadet, senior learning solutions manager, is designing interactive and tailored processes and programs for employees in airport lounges across the country.

Senior Executive L&D spoke with Cadet who details the journey that he’s creating for his employees to enable their professional growth and ability to master hospitality. 

Senior Executive Media: How is Sodexo Live! attracting candidates?

Yves Cadet: We have a tool that we use to enhance our onboarding experience called Dexi. It’s an AI tool that helps candidates apply for a job and find the right position within our company. Once they find that position, they can schedule interviews from their phone and see exactly what times the interviewer has available. They’re able to get all the onboarding paperwork and next steps done digitally. There is also a great function that allows them to be able to translate any of those documents into about 13 different languages. Then, once [that person] is input into the system, an employee number generates.

Our marketing team posts different job ads throughout airport lounges to attract these qualified candidates. It’s a great tool that has QR codes [linked] to job postings on LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job boards. Candidates click on it, and the AI tool asks them simple questions, including their name, phone number, email address, and different positions they might be interested in. That starts them on the Sodexo journey.

“”A [recent] big push for a lot of our employees has been to have information in multiple languages, especially for our frontline employees… Delivering [multi-language training] to our staff has made a world of a difference.””

Headshot of Yves Jean

– Yves Cadet, Senior Learning Solutions Manager at Sodexo Live!


Senior Executive Media: What are you using to train new hires?

Yves Cadet: All of our new frontline staff go through a program called Aviation Academy. The moment they’re hired, an employee number generates, then the next day, they get an email saying, ‘Welcome to Aviation Academy.’ The [program] itself goes through about three different modules for service excellence, and there’s one specific module for the onboarding process. There are also different tabs to get information on Sodexo rules, policies, and procedures. Then, of course, there’s additional training information and modules that they need for their job specifically. We teach them…how they can grow within our organization, how massive it is, and how much we love developing our own. It allows them to learn about our service providers and how we can better work in harmony to deliver [a great] experience for guests.

We teach them safety, too. Safety is huge for Sodexo. We like making sure that all of our employees understand how to do work safely and understand the job and tasks that have been assigned to them. When it comes to our bars and buffets [for instance], we’re able to upload new content directly to staff members every time something changes. They get email notifications; that way, they’re able to stay on top of new additions day-to-day.

Senior Executive Media: How are you developing employees into leaders?

Yves Cadet: [For starters], we have a mentorship program called Lift. It’s a great program that some of our employees are able to use. A perfect example of that would be an employee in North Carolina [who] was a supervisor and wanted to be an operations manager. He joined Lift last year and…worked with one of our resource general managers (GM) to help him develop his skill set and get ready for the next level. Over six months, they met virtually and in-person every three weeks and crafted a professional roadmap. The first training session covered employee history to help build a professional and personal rapport. In the second session, the employee created a professional career path to follow along with the skills he believed he needed to help him along the way. From there, the GM gave real world applications and projects to help develop his skills and improve on the ones he already had. Training included huddles and weekly touch bases with management and projects on identifying guest satisfaction. Then, a manager position opened up at his lounge in North Carolina, and he’s been the shift manager for about five months. He’s still able to reach out to that resource general manager that’s been [his] mentor to keep developing. 

We also use Ingenium, a learning platform on our learning management system, Sodexo Net. It’s a great resource for all of our managers, and we put together different learning abilities for our employees, too. Team members take responsible alcohol service training, food safety training, and other training each month that cover a range of topics on how to perform day-to-day tasks safely to reduce the possibility of injury. They are also given the opportunity to take some leadership training courses that incorporate effective communication… Our managers complete courses on ethics, financial acumen, OSHA, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, including implicit bias… Some of the modules that people engage with go through videos and mock situations where employees can test their skill sets in different scenarios and answer questions… It guides you through [the thinking] of why you chose one answer over another, instead of feeding the answer to you.

Senior Executive Media: Does Sodexo Live! personalize learning?

Yves Cadet: Personalized learning is part of what we do. I have a new operations manager who is starting with us, and [we’re able to] tailor [learning] modules to go as in depth as we need on a specific subject, or we can dial them back if it’s not [information] they need to use yet in their current role. [Since this] person is going to be one of our operations managers, training is geared more towards being able to deal with our frontline staff and understanding the basics of the kitchen, but not fully diving into all the work of using a knife, [for instance]. [You don’t see] the same boring video over and over again. [If our platform] sees that you were with the company before you completed a module, [it may] give you 10 questions to see if you remember the information properly. If you do, it’ll say ‘congratulations, you’ve completed this training,’ and doesn’t take another hour out of your day teaching something that you still remember.

Senior Executive Media: Do you take employee feedback on onboarding and training processes?

Yves Cadet: We are constantly doing feedback and checkups with all of our employees. We like to check up on them to see what’s working and what isn’t. In our orientations, I love telling people if at any point something feels stale, doesn’t relate to you, doesn’t really apply to your job, or needs to be done differently, please let us know… On top of that, we do annual check-ins with our employees to see what feedback they have for us to implement and make things fresh. Managers will have one-on-one check-ins with their reports anywhere from weekly to monthly to discuss development and company projects. For our frontline team members, we have an open door policy and do touch points on a 30-60-90 day basis. Once a year, we issue an anonymous employee survey so that staff can give their honest feedback on the improvements they would like to see.

A [recent] big push for a lot of our employees has been to have information in multiple languages, especially for our frontline employees. We have a lot of immigrants, and English is not their first language. Delivering [multi-language training] to our staff has made a world of a difference. Since we focus so much on food preparation and food safety in our lounge spaces, our food safety program is probably the most used course. 

Senior Executive Media: Looking ahead, what do you plan to accomplish in 2024?

Yves Cadet: For Sodexo, it’s all about being able to develop that next lineup of leaders. We were able to promote over 150 employees from our early positions into supervisors and management last year. We’re constantly growing. We’re getting new service partners and we want to be able to figure out how to capture the employees that want to learn and grow with us and figure out what skill sets we need to work on to get them ready for those next steps. We’ll do this through surveys and ongoing conversations between leadership and frontline workers. [We want to] make sure that they fully understand that just because you’re working for us in one specific location doesn’t mean you can’t transition into a different airline partner or a different partnership outside of the airlines. 

Looking for more insights from top learning and development leaders? Read these exclusive interviews by Senior Executive L&D.

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