Article: Talent Analytics is a journey – Learnings from the PepsiCo's story

Compensation & Benefits

Talent Analytics is a journey – Learnings from the PepsiCo's story

Are you looking at building predictive analytics in your HR systems? If the answer is yes, then here are the challenges from PepsiCos journey that you must be aware of.
Talent Analytics is a journey – Learnings from the PepsiCo's story

A global organization with 300,000 employees across 80 countries, three years ago PepsiCo had multiple HR systems that did not talk to each other that were being used by different teams.

A simple question of “what is the global headcount of PepsiCo” took 8 weeks to answer. 

And since then began the journey of 1000 steps in analytics – one that begins with lots of data and the right questions. The HR operations team took a leap of faith to deploy cloud HR services across all the countries and today the same question now takes only 45 minutes to answer.

Here are some of the key challenges from this massive project that digitally transformed HR operations at the global organization.

  • It’s not about the tool; it’s about the change management: Identifying and deploying a tool or technology, however complex it may sound is easier than managing the change it brings in. A global implementation of the scale like this put forth challenges of managing cultures, languages, regulations and much more to bring everyone aboard. And extensive communication is the key the PepsiCo leveraged to bring this change.
  • Criticality of making one source of HR information: Organizations even today are bound to excel sheets and teams even within HR are using separate excel sheets that do not talk to each other. And if this were to scale from a market to a region to a country to the globe, consistency of data is the biggest challenge. Hence the first step to any transformation journey is to really build one source of information.
  • Ask the right questions: You may have all the data in the world but the journey from the data to analytics is not possible unless you ask the right questions.

Data can only give answers and not questions 

  • Standardizing HR definitions: Another challenge that the HR function faces is to standardize definitions of roles across regions, countries and the world. Only once standardized is when the power of technology and systems could be truly realized. The biggest asks from HR before embarking on this journey are:
  1. Job title harmonization
  2. Organization structure harmonization
  • Scalability and self-service: In the world where business expects all talent related functions to be managed and executed by HR, such digital transformations wherein the onus is being shifted to managers to take talent related decisions necessitates change of mindsets. Vikas shares an example of how in PepsiCo it was a challenge to get the business managers to own the processes such as data acquisition, promotions and much more. Their ammunition to manage this was through creating ambassadors, extensive communications and trainings.

  • Regional trends on data privacy/security: As more and more countries go the Russia way where they decide that the data in their country will not cross the national borders, it is critical to incorporate these real-time challenges of mitigating uncertain regulations on every transformation plan.


Through the transformation and the learnings from this journey, some of the examples of projects that PepsiCo has undertaken include strategic workforce planning, calculating CEO pay ratio, calculating gender pay ratio, executive long-term incentive discussions and determining global headcount trends.

Mitigating these challenges and still continuing on the journey, the conclusion that Vikas draws is that the 1000 steps of analytics journey starts from standardizing HR systems to building historical data to asking the right questions and then finally is where you embark on what you call “Analytics”.

(As shared by Vikas Joshi Sr. HR director, AMENA, PepsiCo at Total Rewards Conclave, 2017)

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Topics: Compensation & Benefits, Benefits & Rewards, #TotalRewards

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