A fast paced organization stays connected and engaged with Jostle

Sodexo is a 425,000-person company that provides outsourced cafeteria services to organizations such as universities, government, and healthcare providers around the world. Integral to their North American operations (which services 15 million consumers) is Culinary Solutions—an industrious branch of the organization that provides value-add services such as the development of healthy menu options. This includes their award-winning Mindful program.

As Culinary Solutions grew and underwent a restructure, they saw the need for a tool that would improve connectivity and employee engagement across their dispersed workforce. Since implementing the Jostle® intranet in 2015, they’ve made good use of the rich feature set to improve communication, engagement, and connectivity across all levels of the company.

  • Company:
    Culinary Solutions branch of Sodexo, USA
  • Size & Locations:
    101 employees in two offices and home offices
  • Sector:
    Consumer Products and Services
  • Interviewees:
    Holly Smith, Senior Director Digital Design and Content
    Paul Wusow, Manager, Web Content
  • Participation:
    84% monthly

Why did Culinary Solutions need an intranet?

Part of Sodexo, USA, Culinary Solutions is a team of 101 employees working in a very fast-paced environment. Roughly half of the staff work from home, and the other half are split between two offices in Maryland and Pennsylvania. These attributes alone can place a strain on communication and connectivity:

“We're not all in one physical space,” Holly Smith, Senior Director of Digital Design and Content, at Culinary Solutions told us. “So, that puts some pressure on our communication. We're not all working within the same team.”

Moreover, Culinary Solutions has recently undergone a lot of change within their organization. They were growing as a team and restructuring internally. All of this put further strain on connectivity:

“Within our team, and within Sodexo, there's been a lot of change. A lot of change that's happened quickly. People are coming, people are going, people are reporting to different people, and the structure of teams is different. The new organization structure has put more pressure on communication,” Holly told us.

In 2014, Culinary Solutions distributed an employee survey and discovered that employee engagement levels were suffering. “The engagement scores were fairly low,” said Holly. “So, we started looking for an engagement tool.”

“One of the big things that attracted me to the Jostle intranet was the simplicity of it. It’s super simple to use, it's not intimidating.”

Holly Smith

Holly Smith
Senior Director Digital Design and Content

What was the outcome?

Culinary Solutions implemented the Jostle intranet in 2015 and experienced a big change in engagement. Their instance was lit up with news stories, conversations blossomed across the company, and everyone had a clearer understanding of the new team structures.

“The Jostle intranet really helps connect the teams together. We now have a single source of communication within our teams.”

Holly Smith

Holly Smith
Senior Director Digital Design and Content

How is Culinary Solutions using the Jostle intranet?

With the Jostle platform, Culinary Solutions is able to stay connected, informed, transparent, and engaged. They’re doing this by making the most of the variety of features available to them.


Culinary Solutions has been completely inclusive with participation and given every employee administrative rights to post articles and photo albums on their platform. This approach has worked well for them - they’ve had high content contribution rates, with almost half of their users contributing NEWS Articles.

“Managers post articles about projects they’re leading. When the projects are complete, they'll put out an article and explain what it’s about and where it's going to be deployed. People comment on the article and can understand what's going on in the development side of the business,” said Holly.

Not only are staff able to contribute and be heard in the NEWS view, they’re also more informed about what’s going on across the company and how it interfaces with and impacts their own work.

Culinary Solutions’ NEWS

Culinary Solutions’ NEWS


“When we initially started, we were about 30 people, and now we've grown to over 100. There are people on the team now that you've never even met,” explained Holly. “This is very different to five or six years ago, when you knew everyone.”

Growth can bring challenges for any business - reduced connectivity, loss of culture, lower engagement - but it’s particularly challenging when the business is spread across multiple locations. Establishing relationships and understanding where you (and everyone else) fits within the organization becomes difficult. The PEOPLE view - an intuitive employee directory - has helped Culinary Solutions overcome these challenges.

“In the PEOPLE view you can see everyone’s picture and bio in one place. You can connect with people, to understand who they are, how they fit into the organization, what role they play, even though you may not have ever met them,” Holly said.

Culinary Solutions’ PEOPLE

Culinary Solutions’ PEOPLE


With an organizational restructure and growth, it’s hard to keep up with how everyone fits into the company. Simply staying on top of reporting lines and understanding the makeup of teams becomes tricky. Unless your organization chart is vigilantly updated, makes sense, and is easy to find, it’s easy to start to feel lost and disconnected in a company.

“Some people would join a new team, but you didn’t know which team they were added to if you weren't part of that team. You had no idea that person moved roles,” Holly told us. “On the Jostle platform you can easily see the org charts. Prior to the intranet, you couldn't find an org chart to save your life. It’s easy to see where everyone fits and what team they’re on.”


Senior leadership have set a great example with their involvement in the Jostle intranet. John Wright, SVP of Culinary Solutions, was instrumental with his support and use of the platform from day one. However, leaders in fast-paced organizations are often hard pressed for time, and contributing to employee engagement can quickly fall down on the to-do list.

“The Jostle intranet has allowed me to be able to engage in conversations with team members both professionally and personally, who are geographically dispersed across the country. It has also allowed me to be able to communicate real time with the entire team.”

John Wright

John Wright
SVP of Global Food Platform & Culinary Solutions North America

The senior leaders at Culinary Solutions are making use of Activity, a live-feed for short messages that reach the entire company. Everyone can respond to these messages with their own messages, or simply ‘like’ them. In this way, the Culinary Solutions leadership team is touching base with everyone at once and contributing to the conversation.

“It's just really interesting to see the dynamics, to see who's commenting. One time, John posted a joke about something and one of our other folks joked back. Then, they had a back-and-forth ping pong conversation,” Holly shared. “Without the Jostle intranet, this person would never have been able to have a conversation or exposure to a senior vice president, let alone have it be so personal or so unabated from a business standpoint.”

Culinary Solutions’ Activity Feed

Culinary Solutions’ Activity Feed

“The Jostle intranet really shows the power of being able to connect people, not positions.”

Holly Smith

Holly Smith
Senior Director Digital Design and Content

The results?

“The Jostle intranet is connecting people. It’s connecting the spaces, connecting the offices, bringing them into this space of collaboration. Also, we really didn’t have a good mechanism to immediately recognize people and their good work. That’s been very heavily used within the Jostle platform and that’s been really beneficial,” shared Holly.

Culinary Solutions staff are better connected to each other now and have a clearer understanding of where each person fits within the organization. This is vitally important during their ongoing organizational change.

With their people busier than ever, and attention split across multiple teams, the Culinary Solutions’ intranet team continues to work on implementing strategies to stay communicative across the organization via their intranet.

Sodexo Staff

Sodexo Staff

About Jostle Corporation

Jostle’s People Engagement® platform is helping organizations around the world become extraordinary. It creates connected and vibrant workplaces by connecting employees, enabling communication, and driving workplace culture. We make it easy for companies to engage their employees. This allows our customers to achieve employee participation rates of over 85% — that’s over 5X industry norms. For more information contact info@jostle.me or visit us online at www.jostle.me.