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PepsiCo: Every Mind Enabled

Employer Case Study: Learn about PepsiCo's efforts to create more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible workplaces and support employee mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The COVID-19 pandemic brought about numerous changes to how we live and work. During this uncertain and challenging time that also generated an increased demand for its products, PepsiCo worked to meet the needs of all of its employees. These efforts included utilizing the company’s employee resource group (ERG), EnAble, to share information about PepsiCo's response to mental health concerns related to COVID-19 and the current social justice landscape.

Watch videos about PepsiCo's mental health initiatives and more.

PepsiCo operates in more than 200 countries and territories around the world and generated more than $70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, Tropicana and SodaStream. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. Guiding PepsiCo is its vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. "Winning with Purpose" reflects its ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of its business strategy and brands.

Healthy Living, PepsiCo’s employee well-being program, is designed to help employees and their families improve their physical, financial and emotional health. PepsiCo’s HR leaders ensure employee mental health is a priority as part of the company’s overall disability inclusion and wellness efforts. For example, an HR Associate Manager endeavored to improve their skills in addressing mental health concerns of employees. Due to their personal experience with mental illness, they were driven to champion an initiative that would help create a safe space and inclusive practices for employees with mental health conditions. Working in partnership with PepsiCo’s employee resource group (ERG) “EnAble,” the “Every Mind Enabled” initiative was created to specifically address issues of mental wellness among employees, and to foster a culture of mental wellness at PepsiCo.

An ERG representative commented, “We want people to be the most authentic versions of themselves, and to be a resource for other employees. We want to build an inclusive community and decrease stigma.”

At first, simple logistics like booking conference room space across the country proved challenging, but soon the group was able to draw upon the vast resources of the company and colleagues to help launch their first event. An hour-and-a-half internal conference promoted as “Every Mind Matters” attracted more than 360 people, in person and online. Senior leadership helped to bolster attendance, and not only encouraged employees to attend, but also shared their own experiences with mental health as part of a panel. With the success of this initial event, people began joining the EnAble ERG in larger numbers in order to get information about mental wellness. PepsiCo realized that this was a very important subject for employees, and the “Every Mind Enabled” arm of the ERG was created.

In April of 2020, PepsiCo’s leadership team reached out to Every Mind Enabled members to ask for assistance with the company’s response to mental health concerns linked to COVID-19 and the current social justice landscape. Every Mind Enabled pivoted to provide mental wellness information and resources company-wide. The group curated a collection of PepsiCo’s wellness benefits in a centralized and accessible location, including external resources available to complement existing benefits. Every Mind Enabled worked with the PepsiCo Total Rewards function to produce a series of events, including panel discussions led by mental health experts from PepsiCo’s Employee Assistance Program who provided valuable insights and real-time support. More than 1,000 employees attended these events, approximately 500 of whom were in HR roles.

Every Mind Enabled has evolved from simply a series of events to laying the foundation for fostering a more open and inclusive environment at PepsiCo. It has broadened perspectives and understanding that mental health exists on a continuum, and individual experiences may vary greatly depending on a variety of factors. The initiative has also informed PepsiCo’s inclusive leadership model by providing leaders across the organization with tools to create a safe space for associates to voice their opinions freely, and be confident when asking for support. In addition, the initiative aims to provide employees with information on topics such as disability disclosure at work and how to notice signs of distress in themselves and others, and allows employees to provide resources to respond to one another’s needs.

These efforts have yielded tangible returns, including a positive reputation among prospective employees as having an inclusive culture where mental wellness is valued, and a reduction in lost workdays due to mental health reasons.

According to an EnAble ERG representative, “If your company doesn’t understand this connection, you are going to lose a lot of money. If you don’t pay attention to mental wellness, you will have issues with truancy and productivity. Provide ways for people to get help to be more effective employees.”  

PepsiCo recognizes that the company can only succeed when its associates and the society it serves flourish. Utilizing employees with lived experiences with mental health concerns to lead efforts like Every Mind Enabled, and leveraging ERG members to craft messaging and improve information, has proven effective and invaluable. Additionally, the engagement of senior leaders has demonstrated support from the top for this issue. As a result of its success, Every Mind Enabled has expanded to PepsiCo’s operations in Canada, and is in the process of planning more events in North America.

In 2021, Every Mind Enabled was honored with a PepsiCo’s Global Chairman Harvey C. Russell Award, which recognizes associates who are advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.