How a Custom Solution Extended a Trusted Partnership in Ponca City

Published on : 4/19/22
  • Overview

    30 year trusted food service partnership
    8 years average employee tenure
    Expansion to janitorial services in 2021 
    Mobilized within 18 days
    Ongoing service and support strengthened by custom recruitment effort

    Our client is a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company with unique businesses in refining, midstream, chemicals, and marketing and specialties. The refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma, is a high-conversion facility that processes a mixture of light, medium and heavy crude oil.

    The refinery, with a workforce of 700 employees and producing upward of 200,000 barrels per day, has deep ties to the Ponca City community.

    After managing food services for over 30 years, Sodexo’s partnership with this client's Ponca City refinery expanded to janitorial services. One of the key differentiators in the bid process was our ability to recruit and retain talent. Indeed, Sodexo has industry-leading retention rates for both managers and hourly employees — in 2021 our average employee tenure was over eight years.

    The recruiting strategy consisted of a dedicated Human Resources business partner in Ponca City, developing relationships with local universities, colleges and technical schools to find highly qualified candidates with a personal stake in improving their community. The strategy also leverages a comparative survey of wages in the local market conducted by the Sodexo team, allowing for a better understanding of the employment market in Ponca City.

    In addition, our retention plan applies human resources best practices creating a high-performance culture where employees feel valued.

    Finally, we invested in innovations that improved productivity and alleviated physical labor. The cost savings from the implemented innovations allowed for competitive living wages and boosted morale.  These factors increased productivity, resulting in improved service levels.

    By the Numbers

    • 26 frontline workers
    • 700 refinery employees
    • 30-year partnership between Sodexo and this client



    • Difficulties recruiting and retaining talent in a rural community
    • Deploying services and training employees in a timely manner
    • Retaining top talent for stability and long-term quality services



    We designed a customized solution that improved cost efficiencies, retained a talented workforce and delivered best-in-class solutions for this Ponca City refinery.

    • Community engagement: A dedicated Human Resources business partner in Ponca City connected with local community organizations and built relationships to promote employment opportunities at the refinery — meeting with the local Chamber of Commerce, connecting with placement coordinators at Pioneer Technical Center and building a pipeline with Ponca Works, a city program working with local businesses to advertise open positions.
    • Market insights: Conducted by our insights team, we used available data and surveyed the local population to set competitive rates in the labor market and to align the values and benefits employees and job seekers alike expect in today's environment.
    • Service deployment and training: A detailed plan providing end-to-end project management was used as a guideline and systemized approach to the transition. From the date the contract was signed, the team was mobilized within 18 days. The seamless transfer happened without disrupting business operations. Existing employees had access to a training plan that familiarized them with the new services standards, operating guidelines and tolls for their respective jobs. This approach ensured a smooth transition and opened doors to career growth.
    • Implementing innovations: Implementing innovations drive a greater customer and employee experience and quality of life. In addition to grounds maintenance tools and processes to better equip our teams, we have also implemented our proprietary site management system (SMS), providing unit managers with operating expertise and standards to deliver services reliably and consistently. These innovations improve employee morale, in addition to being cost-efficient.
    • Opportunities for growth: Our commitments define the framework for professional growth and encourage team members to shape their own futures. Through a wide range of professional and personal opportunities to improve quality of life, career development across all service areas and the ability to align the pace of their careers with their various life stages, several recognitions and reward programs and an integrated culture of diversity and inclusion, employees feel valued, respected and inspired to do their best.



    These solutions, completely customized to the needs of this Ponca City refinery, highlight our strength and stability when it comes to recruiting and retaining team members. By engaging with the community and effectively communicating our programs for opportunities for growth, we created a high-performance culture increasing employee motivation and reducing turnover, therefore saving on training costs and increasing performance efficiencies.

    A stable and empowered workforce knows our client and can proactively problem-solve routinely while delivering consistent and reliable services and support. And that is how we became a trusted partner to this important oil and gas client.


    Ask us about our bespoke recruiting solutions for the energy industry