Bradley alumna makes workplaces better

October 5, 2011

By Elise Dismer ’13

It’s expensive to train new workers. So while many businesses try to keep the customer happy, one Bradley alumna aims to keep employees satisfied.

Dr. Rachel Permuth-Levine ’96 visited campus Sept. 28  to give a lecture on "Organizational Health - Beyond Corporate Wellness,” which outlined ways to improve the quality of life for employees of various companies to increase performance in the workplace.

“Everything has a bottom line,” Permuth-Levine said. “At the end of the day, to be very frank, businesses know that they have to invest in their employees so that their bottom-line can improve as well.  Your people, or your human-capital, can make or break a company.”

Permuth-Levine, a specialist on human capital solutions for Sodexo, an international provider of integrated food and facility management services, helps to develop the most effective way to promote health and wellness at the office.

“We believe that for people to thrive, there are four main drivers,” Permuth-Levine said. “They need to live energized; they need to live simply; they need to live connected; and they need to live committed.”

For each business, Sodexo tailors a program to meet the needs and desires of its employees. Permuth-Levine researches the businesses’ demographics using historical data, surveys, interviews and focus groups in order to determine the best way to address employee demands.

For example, Permuth-Levine said that Sodexo would provide different meal options nutritionally geared to energize military men and women, based on the kind of training and conditions they had to endure, so they could perform better in battle.

“We mix business and psychology every day,” she said.

Even the advice Permuth-Levine wanted students to take away from her lecture blended business with psychology.

“Network,” she said. “It’s not how much you know, it’s who you know and it makes a difference.”