At Vidant Health in Greenville, North Carolina, frontline team members are participating in a 12-week training program to develop their professional skills to support them on their career path.

The program was first developed when, in early 2020, Vidant Chief Experience Operating Officer Dr. Julie Oehlert and VPO for the Office of Experience Lou Montana-Rhodes looked to Sodexo for a talent development program for team members. Sodexo employees are always equipped with training for their positions and there are significant programs for managers in training. But, across the healthcare and foodservice industries, the middle-of-the-funnel talent pipeline is often neglected. 

In the most challenging time of the pandemic, with staff leaving healthcare in droves, client executive Melissa O'Hara and GM Ashley Demers partnered with Vidant to create the Learning Pathway, a new talent development program to afford team members more opportunities for growth. 

Through Learning Pathway, the participants learn essential skills for career advancement in a variety of business settings.  

“When they start, they may not know basics like composing a professional email,” said Melissa O’Hara, Sodexo Client Executive. “By the time they graduate, they’re completing various projects, learning the importance of diversity and inclusion on a team and developing their own SMART goals. At the end of their term they’re presenting in front of a group, something many of them had never done before.”

Participants are selected by managers based on their employment history and attendance record. This June, the first cohort of 12 participants graduated. Already, the program has led to new opportunities for some graduates.  

In May, Ashley Vick graduated from Learning Pathway and has chosen to move to a new department within Sodexo, transferring to a more challenging and technically demanding role in environmental service.  

"I really appreciate the opportunity,” said Ashley. “Taking that class has really taught me a lot about myself, and why my job is important. Now I get to see why we do what we do and why it’s very important to run a business such as healthcare.”

A new cohort of participants begins later this summer and the team at Vidant can’t wait to develop more team members and grow the program. Moving forward, a second phase of development will be implemented with even higher-level course content for hourly workers. 

“I’m so inspired by the change in these participants,” said Melissa. "It is the highlight of our week when we get to hold this offering. We can clearly see a transformation happening in our team members, especially when they smile and participate!”


July 22, 2021

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