29 days ago
Hot off the press - Spirit of Sodexo Awards nominations have just launched!
It goes without saying that this past year has been difficult for everyone. We have needed to pull together more than ever to help our clients and fellow colleagues. The Spirit of Sodexo Awards programme presents us with a great opportunity to chance to recognise people within the business - from all levels - who have worked their socks off and have shown resilience in the face of adversity. With 23 different categories and a new online form, it is easier to nominate than ever before!
To launch our nominations, we caught up with last year's Employee of the Year award winner, Nicola Newman, to give us an insight into her experience with the Spirit of Sodexo Awards, and what it meant to her to be nominated. Nicola is an Operations Manager at Northumbria University within our Schools & Universities segment.
Nicola, can you tell us what it feels like being nominated for a Spirit of Sodexo Award?
It felt like a real honour to be nominated for an award, not just from within my team because everyone does such fantastic work, but from the wider company. It was nice to be recognised and to know that people thought what I did was above and beyond, even though I felt like I was just doing my job.
I think it was a great moment for my team and my direct reports to see me get recognised because it showed that what we do here really matters it can happen to any of us. I have never been to the awards before and I think being nominated for Employee of the Year was a big deal for our contract. It felt fulfilling - I’ve worked with some of my team for a really long time and they were all really pleased for me.
My family were really thrilled. The event that spurred my nomination meant that I was at work till late and my family didn’t really understand at the time why. Winning the award helped me explain why it was important for me to stay late that night, and now they are all really pleased and proud of me.
What were you nominated for, by who and how did it feel to be recognised by a colleague in this way?
I was nominated by my line manager, Fiona Stewart. The reason I was nominated was that we had a serious mental health issue with a student that meant we needed to get external help, including NHS mental health practitioners, University security and the police. I did a welfare check on this student and it was clear they were quite unwell. Things escalated very rapidly and unfortunately some people were injured. I had conversations with this student prior to this situation and they were a really lovely person but unfortunately, they were quite unwell.
It was an extremely difficult situation that I had to deal with but from my perspective I was just doing my job. If it happened again next week I wouldn’t hesitate to do exactly the same thing. Somebody needed me and I think if anybody else was in that situation they would have done the same thing. My boss will hate me for saying that because she thinks it’s downplaying what I did, but I really feel like I was just doing my job. I just wanted to support the student in what was clearly quite a distressing time.
I had no idea that I was even nominated for the award so when Fiona told me she had not only nominated me but I had got through to national judging I was so shocked and surprised. It was so lovely to think that she had thought I deserved to be nominated for Employee of the Year. She also told me that I had great supporting testimonials from my team, some colleagues and a colleague from another site. I think my jaw just dropped when she told me.
What are your words of advice to anyone thinking about nominating this year?
If you feel somebody has done something extra special or is always there to support, or goes above and beyond, then it is essential you nominate them. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. It was such an honour to be nominated.
"There’s so much great work out there and this year in particular with everything that’s going on with the pandemic, people have pulled through and worked really hard, so they need to be recognised. JUST NOMINATE!"
This year's awards will be virtual and that means the moment can be shared with more of our people than ever. How do you feel about the new style of awards?
This year will obviously be different and getting on stage was such a fantastic feeling, but now knowing the night can be shared with my colleagues and friends will be a lovely feeling. It will bring the company together as a team.
What changed after your win, did you get any new opportunities?
The week after I won the award my LinkedIn blew up and everybody wanted to connect with me. It was a fantastic feeling having so many people congratulate me from different parts of the business that I would usually never get to meet.
After my win I was featured in The Weekly Brief and someone recognised me who I worked with 20 years ago. We had previously worked in a different company and had lost contact with each other. Because I had won, they realised that both of us worked in Sodexo and we have picked up contact again. It was so odd because we live on opposite sides of the country in different segments so we would have never crossed paths had I not been nominated for a Spirit of Sodexo Award.
The Spirit of Sodexo Awards are open to all colleagues in the UK and Ireland. Things will be different this time around as the awards event will be virtual to keep everyone safe, but it will mean that more of us get to be a part of the celebrations. This year more than ever before, it is important to recognise your colleagues who have proved time again to do more than the job asks.
If you want to learn more about Spirit of Sodexo, you can access the Your_Sodexo page here. Make sure you nominate your colleagues using the online form. Nominations close on the 12 March 2021 so make sure you get your nominations in before the deadline!
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