For PepsiCo Canada Foods, inclusive hiring is successful!

PepsiCo Canada employs nearly 11,000 Canadians and is organized into two business units – PepsiCo Beverages Canada and PepsiCo Foods Canada. PepsiCo is celebrated for its commitment to doing business the right way. As a company, it believes that a commitment to diversity and inclusion is doing business the right way and a guarantee of success in this competitive industry.

In advancing its commitment to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, PepsiCo Canada is actively pursuing a national partnership with Ready, Willing and Able (RWA), a program designed to increase the labor force participation of people with an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

In Quebec, when Sébastien Malo took up his position as Talent Acquisition Coordinator at the Laval regional office in 2019, he did not hesitate to highlight the advantages of having an inclusive and diverse team:  “I had sought to increase our retention rate in certain sectors, especially for the position of merchandiser. Taylor, my equivalent in Western Canada, told me that she had recruited 12 people through Ready, Willing and Able for this position. I got in touch with the Quebec RWA team. Thus, this partnership took into account the realities of PepsiCo Foods in Quebec.

PepsiCo recognizes the need and value of making accommodations for certain candidates, which is a testament to their flexibility in improving processes. From the outset, it was determined that recruitment was a crucial step in enabling RWA candidates to demonstrate their potential, as the job interview can present significant challenges for some individuals. Also, PepsiCo adjusts, if necessary, certain requirements to allow the eventual hiring of Ready, Willing and Able candidates in certain positions; for example, normally, merchandisers must have a car, but this requirement was waived for people who would be willing to move from one store to another by public transit or on foot.

Working with stakeholders in the community to ensure the success of an inclusive hiring project

A recruitment day was organized at L’Étape, an employment agency, led by RWA staff giving PepsiCo’s recruitment team the opportunity to meet 5 candidates. During these interviews, candidates were able to demonstrate in a concrete way their ability to perform various job-related tasks through practical exercises. Another great example of flexibility and accommodation. At the end of that day, Andrew emerged as the ideal candidate and got the job.

According to his supervisors, Andrew is a punctual, competent, polite employee and is very appreciated by the grocery store managers. Very meticulous in his work and attentive to detail, he is the perfect “silent partner” for grocery stores. “PepsiCo is a company with high standards for the quality of service and the products it offers. In Andrew’s case, we have slightly adjusted the number of stores to visit in his day, to allow him to reach these standards, but otherwise the quality and reliability of the service remains the same and our customers appreciate it..

Involvement with RWA at the heart of transformative organizational practices

Mr. Malo points out : “It took us a long time to adapt our recruitment process. We needed to think about how to improve and create processes to facilitate the inclusion of people recruited through RWA. The result and the tools developed were so conclusive that we then applied them to all our hires! 

Mr. Malo adds, “RWA or not, we needed to think about our recruitment and training process for our merchandisers, analyze the volume of work, because the context of labor shortages was felt across the province. The inclusion of RWA candidates has precipitated the process and we are definitely seeing improvement.”

The key to success

For PepsiCo, the key to success in inclusion is to target the needs of its employees by doing it on a case-by-case basis. “What surprised us was that the role of merchandiser is not easy and the turnover rate is high. However, Andrew has been able to rise to the challenge and has been with us for over a year.  He will even start a supporting role with us shortly! »

Building on this initial success, PepsiCo Foods in Quebec, and across Canada, continues its efforts to hire additional employees via RWA for its positions as merchandisers and warehouse clerks.

Inclusive hiring has created many internal conversations. A wave of positivism led many employees to testify that they had children or relatives with autism or intellectual disabilities.

“Inclusive hiring has a positive impact on existing employees and corporate culture. I would also say that, as an organization, we tend to overestimate the time it takes to hire inclusively. Based on our experience with RWA, when we take the trouble to put in place an appropriate process and introduce some appropriate tools, once the process is started, things go great! For each subsequent hiring, the less time it takes, the more positive the returns. These employees contribute a highly stable workforce to the company. The effort and time we’ve put in with these young people, so far, it’s almost 300% return on investment! concludes, enthusiastically, Sébastien Malo.