Creating diversity

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PepsiCo says diversity and inclusion are a big part of its DNA and entwined in everything from its brand work to the internal processes it has in place.

Through its senior leader role models, flexible working arrangements and company partnerships with initiatives such as International Women’s Day and Taste of Harmony, PepsiCo says it constantly strives to find new ways to empower and inspire its employees.

“PepsiCo’s workplace in Australia and New Zealand is one that truly celebrates the talent of our employees to drive our brands into new and exciting directions,” PepsiCo ANZ CEO Robbert Rietbroek told Convenience World.

“We encourage people to build their work life around their personal needs and fully take advantage of flexible-working options.”

PepsiCo ANZ recently increased paid parental leave from 12 to 16 weeks, well above the Australian average of 9.7 weeks, and doubled its paid leave for secondary carers. Mr Rietbroek says the company is committed to supporting its working families.

“A work environment that caters to the needs of each employee to maximise career progression and time spent with friends and family results in a thriving, productive workforce,” he said. “This way, people can be a hero at work as well as being a hero at home.”

PepsiCo has been named Employer of Choice for Women by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency for a third year running and is the only food and beverage company to be cited. Mr Rietbroek says the industry is driven by predominantly male-dominated STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) roles and it is up to a company’s leadership team to drive gender equality.

“Leaders must commit and reflect this in all areas of the business, from pay equality, flexible working and the constant development of a nurturing work environment that attracts new talent,” he said. “I’m a ‘pay equity ambassador’ as I wanted to personally commit to ensuring that PepsiCo people processes are free of bias to achieve equity and proactively manage pay equity.”

Women fill more than 40 per cent of senior roles at PepsiCo ANZ, including R&D Director Anna Lowndes and ANZ IT Director Ursula Philips, who encourage women into STEM careers. Mr Rietbroek says PepsiCo is working to ensure this proportion continues to increase and these roles remain diverse.

PepsiCo ANZ employs 1,800 people across Australia and New Zealand. It recruits from the local market, but is also open to international top talent and brings in talent from other PepsiCo subsidiaries across the world.

“Diversity strengthens companies in so many ways,” Mr Rietbroek said. “The inclusive approach PepsiCo uses as the groundwork for its workplace environment has opened us up to wider talent pool. In our PepsiCo ANZ operations, we have over 40 nationalities, and over 30 languages spoken, with nine nationalities on our executive leadership team and work experience across all continents.

“When it comes to supporting female talent, we’ve got a strong track record in PepsiCo ANZ – around 70 per cent of our sales leadership team are female, over 60 per cent of our R&D team are female and a further 40 per cent of senior roles across ANZ are filled by women. A key enabler of maintaining diversity is our flexible work options.”

Last month, PepsiCo ANZ officially opened its new headquarters in Chatswood, Sydney. In addition to the latest technologies allowing quick and easy access to PepsiCo’s other offices and partners around the globe, the office has several key features designed to foster a positive working experience.

Private spaces include an area for prayer and a comfortable room for nursing mums needing to express, while public spaces, including an abundance of informal meeting and social areas, encourage collaboration. Staff, right through to senior management, are encouraged to hot desk, bolstering office-wide communication and building new relationships.

Ergonomic chairs were selected based on a staff vote and every desk can also be converted to a standing desk. Movement is encouraged to support employee health, with stairs installed so that staff don’t rely on a lift to get between floors, and pedometers are provided to count steps as part of an inter-office health and wellness competition.

Mr Rietbroek says the office was designed to drive brand innovation and help make flexible working easy.

“We want to continue to support a workplace that allows people to come to work and give their best, learn and progress in their careers and be genuinely excited to work for PepsiCo,” he said.

The company says its focus is on delivering sustainable long-term growth, doing so in a way that leaves a positive impact on society and the environment.

“We call this ‘performance with purpose’,” Mr Rietbroek said. “This underpins our approach to business, the organisation and the society we live in.

“Our core values are to care for customers, consumers and the world, to sell products we can be proud of, to speak with truth and candour, balance the long and the short term, win with diversity and inclusion, and respect others and succeed together.”