Article: PepsiCo is bubbling with diversity

Strategic HR

PepsiCo is bubbling with diversity

PepsiCo won the People Matters 2013 Talent Acquisition Leadership League Award for Best In Diversity category
PepsiCo is bubbling with diversity

PepsiCo’s TA team asked business managers to identify specific roles that needed diverse candidates


Organizations like PepsiCo strive to create a diverse and inclusive work environment that encourages every associate to bring his or her whole self to work, as workplace diversity unleashes creativity and the power of innovation. For a global organization like PepsiCo whose products are sold in more than 200 countries around the world, it is imperative to constantly work to understand the needs of its consumers.

PepsiCo entered India in 1989. When the company found out through numerous studies that most of the purchasing decisions were made by women, it decided to focus on women who were in key decision making roles to understand their consumers better. However, the company’s diversity left much to be desired. This led to a conscious decision to increase diversity in the workforce, especially in certain functions that were historically seen as non-women friendly domains like sales operations finance & IT.

Since then, the company has come a long way and won the Best in Diversity at the People Matters’ 2013 Talent Acquisition Leadership League Awards. When confronted with the issue of diversity, the talent acquisition team came up with the idea of building hiring targets where the business manager would identify specific roles that needed diverse candidates.

Early last year, a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council led by the Region CFO was set up along with a team of cross functional members across the organization. This has helped build momentum and business ownership. While business and leadership have diversity targets, the focus has equally been on sustainability by creating an inclusive organization, which embraces diversity.

Diversity hiring is an important performance metric and is monitored by the business managers. PepsiCo has also gone a step ahead to accelerate talent acquisition, both internally and externally by incorporating a 20 per cent increment on the ERP bonus for employees who referred women candidates as well as incentivizing, rewarding their consultants, partners who had helped the company in this journey by instituting a D&I Consultant of the Year trophy.

Campus programs like the management trainee programs and sales trainee programs were identified as a great hiring opportunity to hire talented women in functions specifically in the sales force and induct them in the system from the beginning. Last year, around 50 per cent of women hired through the campus programs were women candidates. Also, special efforts like tying up with local universities to ensure a constant supply of diverse talent to work streams have helped.

Key learnings

A mix of diverse hiring and culture transformation helped the company create the right mix of diverse workforce.

Senior leadership sponsorship is required to drive the D&I agenda. In order to address that, the company built diversity hiring into its leadership KPI. The hiring processes and practices were documented to ensure that the quality of diversity hiring remained the same.

Identifying issues that limited women’s ability to build lasting careers and addressing them systemically and changing the underlying systems, beliefs, and behaviors that get in the way of women being successful was another key learning. It is not only about hiring, but also about retaining talent and nurturing them. The D&I council, which is being lead in collaboration with business, is a step in the right direction to ensure that women have a good work environment in company.

Hiring can’t be the only solution to increasing diversity. It also calls for constantly striving to create a diverse and inclusive culture within the company because that is the only way to sustain it. For example, the D&I Council at PepsiCo organizes group discussions with target population to understand the real life problems of working women and has undertaken initiatives to bring about both structural changes and cultural changes. This is something that TA leaders of other companies can take a leaf out. PepsiCo India has been a training ground for many leaders. Over 30 CXOs of other Indian companies today are PepsiCo India alumni. The company and its partners recently announced an additional targeted investment of Rs 33,000 crore in India by 2020 in the areas of product innovation, increasing manufacturing capacity, ramping up market infrastructure, strengthening supply chain and expanding the Company’s agriculture program.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #Events

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