Features

Jourdan Ball – Compass Group USA

Serving up efficiency and inclusivity in foodservices

Whether applying for an executive position or an hourly one, no one wants to spend hours reviewing a job posting and filling out an application. While the process is slightly tedious, Jourdan Ball is keeping it from being torturous.

With the foodservices company Compass Group since 2018 and its senior corporate counsel since 2020—and applying to jobs since she was a teenager—she knows the best applications take less than 15 minutes. She’d love to get the process under five.

Compass team members cook and then serve or deliver meals to a variety of locations from corporate cafes, hospital dining rooms and college and school cafeterias to ballparks, museums, airport lounges and senior living communities. On average, the company daily provides over 11 million meals throughout the nation.

Jourdan Ball | Senior Corporate Counsel | Compass Group USA

Jourdan Ball | Senior Corporate Counsel | Compass Group USA

As Ball explains, most of Compass’ open positions are for hourly workers who have many options in the market—and won’t hesitate to abandon an application mid-process. Wanting to cater to them, she must also ensure the company complies with all local and federal regulations regarding job postings and applications—a rather complicated task with Compass operating in all 50 states, each with a unique set of rules, such as New York’s 2023 salary transparency law.

Sometimes, Compass’ human resources department and hiring managers want to include information not required by law, like an Equal Opportunity Employer statement.

Ball works with HR to find the right balance, so applicants aren’t overwhelmed.

“My aim is always to make the hiring process as streamlined as possible—while, of course, ensuring that my team and I aren’t leaving Compass open to any claims, lawsuits or any other form of litigation,” Ball says.

An appetite for efficiencies

Compass is at the center of a complex web of laws and rules—and its systems can’t always be completely automated to implement the more complex scheduling laws. The company must sometimes rely on the hiring managers located in that particular city, county and state, which brings in human error.

However, Ball and her team’s creative, efficient navigation of risks, such as choosing which questions to include in applications, allows hiring managers to quickly fill ranks.

“With restaurants and offices opening back up, Compass continues growing and needs people to cook, deliver and serve food across the U.S.,” she says.

Such efficiencies also leave more room and time to focus on diversity, equality and inclusivity to attract the best talent in every state. Always wanting to be more inclusive in job postings and in company policies, she scrutinizes language to ensure it isn’t gender specific and tweaks it, when necessary, to be more inviting.

“The goal is to attract and retain talent, to make them feel welcome here and excited about their work,” Ball says. “While most of that is up to HR, we in legal are helping in every way we can to ensure Compass continues advancing towards success.”

Predicting laws and employee comfort

Ball and her team also tackle ever-changing and evolving labor laws.

In May 2023, predictive scheduling laws that ensure employees work a certain number of hours per week were already present in six states—and she anticipates many more cities and states will follow.

She’s working with Compass’ development team, as well as its HR and payroll teams, to create a system that assists managers in complying with these regulations on local and state levels. Her goal is to enact simplified, automated processes to ease the responsibilities of Compass managers.

Jourdan Ball | Senior Corporate Counsel | Compass Group USA

“My experience condensing complex legal issues into clear, digestible pieces comes in handy here,” she says. “We’re collaborating to find solutions.”

Currently, she’s ensuring Compass meets all minimum wage and basic pay obligations. To compete in the current, highly competitive labor market, she’s also working with others across the company to enhance salaries and benefits.

Working with internal development teams, she and her team added reminders to take meal and rest breaks in the employee system. They also make time-keeping systems and paystubs easier to use and understand. The recently built an internal employee portal that allows employees to access their information at any time—and even tap into future pay for emergency cases instead of waiting for the next paycheck.

“Such automation makes matters efficient and easier for our managers and our employees—and we want to continue providing such tools,” Ball says.

Discovering the right career path

Ball did the same as a corporate counsel with The Fresh Market, her first employer after graduating in 2014 with her law degree from North Carolina Central University. After nearly four years there, she joined Compass. While she enjoys the food industry niche, she did intern at the financial institution BB&T and the Durham Country Government.

Between 2012 and 2014, she was also a fellow for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Atlanta, Georgia—and a criminal law teaching assistant at North Carolina Central University.

She loved the experience of teaching as much as practicing law. She enjoys helping others, which is one of the reasons she became a lawyer—and because she couldn’t assist her grandfather.

When she was younger, her grandmother passed away in tragic circumstances, which led to wrongful death suits. Her grandfather didn’t have a lot of funds and the results of the case reflected the level of lawyer he was able to hire, she explains.

“I wanted to pursue law to address some of these issues that still pervade society today,” Ball says. “That’s why I love my work at Compass, as we bring food and happiness to people across the U.S.”

She’s also retained her sense of humor. She advised a recent law school graduate who Compass hired to not become jaded and have fun whenever possible.

“We’re here to help people and advance Compass’ mission—but we can also enjoy what we do and see the humor in the legal side of things, which, like labor compliance, doesn’t need to be as burdensome or tedious as they initially seem,” Ball says.

View this feature in the Vanguard Summer II 2023 Edition here.

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