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Digitizing employee experience is what PepsiCo likes as ServiceNow quenches the thirst for lipsmacking HR self-service

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan May 13, 2021
PepsiCo's about to fizz up its HR self-service capabilities with ServiceNow, the start of a journey that has application across its Global Business Services operation.


PepsiCo is one of the world’s best known brands, but until recently it hasn’t necessarily been recognized for its digitalization efforts, particularly around HR processes. But as the firm prepares to go live with a major ServiceNow roll out in June, all that is about to change, says Amedeo Guarraci, Vice President, HR Operations:

The business has thrived for a long time because of our scale. One of our CHROs told me pretty early in my tenure that we've been able to muscle through a lot of problems as a business, which usually means a lot of manual practices, like very local things. You have these amazing people who are just there for employees and there for the business.

But what that's also meant is a little bit of, I wouldn't say neglect, but a lack of priority in digitalization, especially around employee experience. I think the focus with ServiceNow is in the potential of the enterprise platform -  what can we do to bring digital self-service to our employees, everybody from frontline to professionals to executives?

Employee experience is a sweet spot for Guarraci, who has very clear ideas as to what is meant by the term. He argues that the employee experience needs to match what consumer experiences can offer today:

I want things at work to feel exactly like what making restaurant reservations for me feels like in the New York area, which is my sister sends me an Instagram post, says 'This place looks cool', and I give the place two chances to make a reservation. One, I Google it and there should be a reserve a table button right there for me to click on. If not, I go to the restaurant’s website and either an open table or reservation button should be there, some really big native application to book my reservation. I don't scroll, I don't call the host or hostess anymore or do any of that stuff. I want work to feel that way.

What I try to explain to people is the experience I want as an employee is, with a baby in my left arm at the grocery store, I want to be able to raise an IT ticket or process T&E or raise a payroll question if my pay-check looks funky, through digital self service, in a very intuitive way that feels one-stop-shop and is easy to get to.

HR roll out

That’s where June’s enterprise roll out comes in, he explains, beginning with some basic, but vital capabilities that haven’t been on offer to PepsiCo employees before:

It's going to be a basket of ten requestable services, that's going to include things like, as an employee, I can update my personal residence address and update my personal contact information in a very easy-to-use digital intake form, which can also be accessed through mobile, through to being able to initiate, as a hiring manager, the new job requisition process and get that kicked off.

While it is a humble beginning, it's going to build this culture of self-service not being a nasty word for pushing work back on the business; it's going to be a huge benefit in making employees life easy. The ultimate ambition is this becomes a one-stop shop where you can go for everything that's on your mind from an employee services perspective, everything from access to knowledge and getting access to the the experts to solve your problems, through requesting services, through to accessing systems.

This is where the journey begins. We have great ambition in terms of where we go from here in terms of a digital experience for employees that just feels very, very simple and just presents the things that are on people's minds in terms of things that you will most consume, whether it's services or assets.

He adds:

In the HR space, the team has gone without a lot of really basic digital tools, so one of the things we'll be launching later this year is a kind of fully-operational digital personnel file that has both document management and document generation capabilities, some workflow to do DocuSign, digital signatures and things like that. A lot of HR business partners and HR co-ordinators who have come from other places that have been on this digitalization journey for a while have said, 'I'm still dealing with physical personnel files at my manufacturing site and that drives me crazy because I've come from highly-digitized environments in my last couple roles’.

So, you know, for people who say, 'When I'm getting ready for collective bargaining or when I have to reference historical employee information because I'm new in role’ and things like that, the idea of having this digital personnel file where everything is hanging - from a person's I-9 and onboarding documentation to any record, whether it's disciplinary or grievance or training, all the way through to the drivers DoT certification, things like that -…it is super-exciting for people that have worked in a very manual way. From an HR perspective, making lives much easier one step at a time is what we're very excited about.

Not just HR

While all this is very HR-centric, Guarraci is keen to pitch that the ServiceNow program shouldn’t be perceived as “an HR thing”. It has application across all of PepsiCo’s Global Business Services (GBS) operation, which aims to deliver one strategy and common approach to introduce new, technology-driven capabilities and elevate service quality:

We have this model where we're thinking about the enterprise across all of GBS and the kind of holistic experience we want to deliver to employees through omni-channel. But we also have all these different use cases, which is everything from how we work in our leave admin space and trigger those processes, to how we manage employee relations at all levels of the organization and across different personas. We have a big backlog of ideas. We have to quickly prioritize. We are trying to work very close to the business on use cases for how we apply this across HR and across different employee experience considerations. But ultimately everything should ladder up to the vision of GBS. Is this a faster, stronger, better engine for the business as an enabler for capability and technology and so forth? Everything is viewed through that digital employee experience lens, and we're very lucky to have a CHRO who really has championed this digital employee experience journey, not just for professionals, but also for frontline folks.

Those frontline folks have been front of mind during the pandemic and now, as the Vaccine Economy kicks in, ServiceNow’s capabilities have been tapped into again on the crucial topic of vaccine tracking of personnel. Guarraci explains:

Throughout the pandemic, the large contingent of our employees were still out in the world. They were going to work every day on production sites, in warehouse facilities and distributing our products and interacting with customers and things like that. They're largely not sitting at home with the benefit of working virtually. They're frontline employees who are getting these products to shelves and doing a lot of amazing work.

The challenge then for PepsiCo was complex:

What can we do to know as much as possible about the vaccination status of our overall population and track it against where there are COVID case peaks and hotspots and things like that, and think about all kinds of things, from business continuity to contingency planning, in different ways so that we can keep our folks safe?

The answer was to turn to ServiceNow’s vaccine tracking offerings and to roll out a solution quickly:

It's a very simple digital self-service form that we push through SMS notifications, through local QR code scans and also some traditional email blasts, either through your mobile or through desktop. You can go on and fill out this form about whether you're interested in being vaccinated, whether you've been vaccinated, what your status is. In the past, this would be a super-manual effort with a lot of locally-developed solutions and spreadsheets, tracked on SharePoint and a lot of people working hard to do this reporting at local and global level. ServiceNow has given us a tool to deploy very quickly the form itself and to do this intake and do the reporting in a uniform way throughout the world. It started in the US. It's being scaled now in a variety of our different international regions.

We’re really, really proud of this piece of work. One, it helps solve a business problem that took time off the plates of HR folks and the business that would have dealt with it, but also it's just a great learning on a way that we can apply ServiceNow and get it to market quickly to solve a really specific business need.

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