January 18, 2023
In a highly mobile employment environment, with people leaving the workforce entirely and wage growth failing to deliver as much to employees as they once did, PepsiCo has begun investing in technology and automation as well as operational changes to keep employees happy, complete and on boat. PepsiCo North America CEO Steven Williams explained how to do this in his keynote address at the 2023 NRF Big Show.
PepsiCo found that process simplification technology helped remove friction from simple processes, increasing employee satisfaction and retention. For example, updating handheld devices allows ordering from distribution centers by scanning, rather than requiring employees to manually enter order information.
The company has also implemented technology that supports flexible scheduling, allowing people to work four or even three days a week, rather than the traditional five-day work week and work more hours per day.
“I think it’s really important that even in these traditional businesses, we figure out how to meet the demands of employees, otherwise they’re going to keep quitting,” Mr Williams said.
In an industrial setting, PepsiCo found that taking steps to improve safety, such as automating accident-prone tasks in the warehouse, could help improve warehouse worker retention.
Since employees care not only about safety but overall working conditions, the company has made a concerted effort to improve all facilities. This includes non-frontline/office environments such as distribution centers, which were once overlooked because of their need to provide amenities for employees.
“Guess what, [distribution centers] Lounges are needed,” Mr Williams said. “They need places to congregate. “
Companies have also rolled out initiatives to give employees more recognition and encourage a focus on mental health. The latter involves bringing a psychologist into a meeting to discuss the importance of getting help if necessary.
“I used to think, I want to keep my people safe and let them go to work and come home like they came,” Mr. Williams said. …people are different today than they were three years ago.”
Discussion question: What processes do you think companies are simplifying through technology to improve employee experience? What other non-compensation improvements made the biggest difference in retention?
“What processes do you think companies are simplifying through technology to improve the employee experience?”