Pepsico's SVP on how to prepare your talent for RPA
The key enabler of RPA success is people, according to Pepsico's SVP for global financial shared services, John Dieter—who shares his insights in the lead up to Shared Services & Outsourcing Week
AIIA Network (AIIA): Looking back on your own journey, how did the implementation of RPA impact your workforce both in terms of organizational structure (i.e. the elimination and/or creation of new roles) as well as your approach to talent management in general (i.e. increased focus on developing new skills, recruiting technical talent and/or cultivating a culture of innovation)?
John Dieter (JD): As a Shared Services organization, we have a continuous improvement culture and have been focused on various types of system and process improvements since our inception. We have existing resources who have technical aptitudes that we shifted priorities to focus on RPA development. The productivity generated by RPA has helped our organization to deliver continuous value to the divisions we support through a reduction in G&A costs, incremental capacity or investing savings in further process and technology enhancements.
AIIA: How did you go about mentally preparing your workforce for RPA? What communication, messaging and change management strategies did you find most effective?
JD: Our approach is about communication. We have transparently shared our strategy of making RPA the next automation tool in our journey to continue to add value to PepsiCo. We introduced the concept of RPA through Town Hall forums and newsletter communications to demystify the technology. The most effective communication has been sharing specific wins and demos to the organization. When others saw the benefits of eliminating more repetitive type work, they began to surface additional opportunities for automation within their specific areas. As our team see the value creation and how we manage that, the acceptance occurs.
AIIA: What about when it came to actually re-training employees affected by RPA? How did you go about not only training employees to use the RPA platform but truly capitalize on the benefits of RPA and thrive in a changed environment?
JD: We handled this the same as other productivity initiatives – it is part of our productivity mindset so was not a significant change. Our designated internal resources have received RPA training and we have supplemented with external support as needed.
AIIA: Lastly, for those who have yet to begin their RPA journey, what are the top 3 talent management-related key considerations shared services leaders need to make before they implement RPA?
- Identify the tech savvy individuals in the organization, train them, and provide space for learning/development
- Align Business objectives to ensure sponsorship and accountabilities among the team (and acknowledge there may not always be wins)
- Transparent communication and sharing of wins across the organization will demystify RPA, engage users, and create a pull vs. push approach