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Pepsico’s VP of HR Operations on how he’s transforming employee experience

Jennifer Dunkerley

@javan via Twenty20

Unleash Your Employee Experience PepsiCo’s new vice president of HR Operations on how he’s overhauling employee experience.

  • PepsiCo serves people in more than 200 countries with 23 $1 billion brands
  • It employs 340,000 people worldwide.
  • Last year PepsiCo met its goal of sourcing 100% renewable electricity in the US and set a new target of using 100% renewables across all of the company-owned operations by 2040 and reach zero net emissions.

Imagine a world where HR tools are as easy to use as booking a reservation at a restaurant you find on Instagram. From discovery to a click confirmation. Amedeo Guarraci from PepsiCo believes employee experience in HR tech can be that simple.

Guarraci, PepsiCo’s new vice president of HR Operations North America, has been working on a new HR enterprise for employees which goes live in June and is the start of his vision.

He explains: “I grew up as a process nerd, doing process engineering and technology implementations so not only am I an employee experience enthusiast, but it is a place where I want more people to focus their careers. It matters. 

“I want employee experience to feel like our consumer experience where everything is easy. I ultimately always say I want our experiences at work to feel like what restaurant reservations feel like to me in the New York area. Which is where, my sister sends me an Instagram post that says ‘this place looks cool’ and I give the place two chances to make a reservation. The first is I Google it, there should be a ‘Reserve A Table Button’ right there. Or I go to the restaurant’s website and there’s a form application right there. I don’t have to scroll around or call a hostess anymore. So I want work to feel that way, super intuitive and for more people to focus on that experience piece.”

PepsiCo, one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, serves people in more than 200 countries with 23 $1 billion brands. In 2021 and beyond, driven by Guarraci, PepsiCo will transform how their 340,000 employees are supported — providing faster, stronger, and better services.

“Our ambitions are big,” he says speaking at ServiceNow’s Knowledge21 event. “This is the next phase of the HR professional and manager self-service. This is kind of where a new journey begins. There is a great ambition for a digital experience for all our employees that feels very, very, very simple and just presents the things that are on people’s minds in terms of the things they are most consumed about at that moment.”

Guarraci joined PepsiCo from Unilever in the midst of the pandemic in August 2020 and whilst he has never worked in the company’s New York offices, he’s already made a big impact in transforming the employee experience.

“This will be our first offering of a ServiceNow employee portal,” he explains. “It’s a very intuitive approach and will be a basket of 10 requestable services which the employee can initiate and I hope will build a culture of self-service not being a nasty word for pushing work back on the business but instead making an employee’s life easier. Right now making any of these 10 changes involves clicking around a bit or leaning on HR to help you get through a process. The ambition is that we will soon have a one-stop-shop to sort everything that’s on our mind from an employee services perspective.

“At PepsiCo I think it has come from an unbelievable place in the business in terms of operational excellence to make movements and sell our products, but in the HR space I think the team had gone without a lot of really basic digital tools.

“So one of the things we will 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 with DocuSign and you know, digital signature and things like that.

Guarraci continues: “A lot of HR business partners and HR coordinators who have come from other places have been on this digitalization journey for a while and have said to me ‘Amedeo I am still dealing with physical personal files at my manufacturing site,’ and that drives me crazy because we’ve come from really highly digitalized environments in my last few roles.

“So when I have to reference historical employee information because I am doing roll, or something like that, the idea of having this digital personal file where everything sits in one place and is accessible is super exciting especially for people who have only worked in a very manual way. We can then report on that quality information at a high level for HR leadership and from an HR perspective it makes lives much easier.”

From a governance and structure perspective, Guarraci had to put various layers in place to enable digitalization success for PepsiCo.

He says: “I really work against the perception that ServiceNow is just an HR thing because it’s not just an HR thing. To me, it’s an employee experience thing, and it’s very broad and has all these applications. But just an HR alone the ServiceNow functionality and features can positively impact experience and create efficiencies and sort of productivity and ease of use in so many different ways. 


“We have this Global Business Services (GBS) 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 ServiceNow have been a part of the possible thinking, which is everything from how we work in our leave admin space and trigger those processes to how we manage employee relations, kind of at all levels of the organization and across different personas.

“We have a big backlog of ideas that we have to quickly prioritize and 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 that ultimately everything should ladder up to the vision of our GBS. You know, is this faster, stronger, a better engine for the business as an enabler for capability and technology so that everything is through that digital employee experience lens. And we’re very lucky to have a CRHO, especially that really has champion this digital employee experience journey, not just professional professionals, but also for frontline folks.”

Moving forward Guarraci is excited about else he can achieve in his role at PepsiCo.

“When I was thinking about, you know, where I wanted to spend kind of a prime years of my career I was excited about Pepsi’s commitment to sustainability and purpose because that is super, super important to me. 

“I know, a lot of people have started new career journeys during COVID so I’m really looking forward to getting back to the hallway conversations and, you know, lunches and happy hours. And just having obviously more space and making more time to get to know people I work with a little bit more and things that are important to them. And people getting to know a little bit more about me and what I stand for, and the way that I work. It has been tough to recreate some of that stuff virtually.”

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