Annie Griffith-Swain, PepsiCo: “We are always on the lookout for new talent”
“I believe a manager’s fundamental role is to support their teams to achieve more than they ever thought possible. To do that, a manager needs to invest time in getting to know each member of a team, their strengths, individual and collective motivations and set an ambitious vision that they can achieve together. A high performing, cohesive team is built on trust, where team members feel comfortable to be themselves and are committed to working together to achieve their goals. A manager plays a critical role to create this environment, which is why we invested in the Development Centre for managers last year, to support our managers develop their leadership skills,” Annie Griffith-Swain, HR Director PepsiCo East Balkans told The Diplomat-Bucharest.
“A key part of our business plan is to make sure that we invest in critical capabilities to ensure that we have skills that we need for today and in the future. We have long term plans at both a Romania and European level to invest in certain key capabilities like Automation, eCommerce, Go To Market, Digitalisation and Net Revenue Management to make sure we have the skills and capability needed to continue to grow.”
What do you think will be the main business drivers for business growth in your company in 2022?
One of our main drivers of business growth will always be our people. Together we make, move and sell iconic brands. Our associates’ talents, ingenuity and drive for results are key to our success. We invest heavily in our people, supporting their ongoing development to help them achieve their career objectives. We are always on the lookout for new talent and I would encourage any of your readers looking to work for a fast-paced international business with an award winning culture, to look at our career website – right now we are particularly focused on hiring for our graduate schemes and have some really exciting opportunities for those looking to fast track their careers.
Our culture, which we refer to as the PepsiCo Way, is integral to our success and we encourage our associates to live the PepsiCo Way, to act as owners, to focus and get things done fast, to act with integrity, to speak up fearlessly, to raise the bar on talent and diversity and celebrate success. Diverse teams, where people’s different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences are valued and celebrated, will continue to be a driver for growth for us, so diversity and inclusion initiatives such as our recently formed East Balkans Women’s Network, are important parts of our strategy.
I’m really proud of how the PepsiCo Romania team brings our culture to life and think a great example of this is the PepsiCo Positive (pep+) agenda which guides our business operations: from sourcing ingredients and making and selling its products in a more sustainable way, to inspiring consumers each day to take sustainability mainstream and engage people to make choices that are better for themselves and the planet.
What was the flag-ship project of 2021 in your company?
One of our flagship people projects of 2021 was our Development Centre for Managers. Every manager in our PepsiCo Romania business had the opportunity to go through a range of development assessments to help them to really understand their strengths and development opportunities. They received a personalised report with detailed feedback so that they can work with their managers to build a strong development plan to help them to achieve their goals and take part in a centralised learning agenda run by my team. Programmes like these help us to retain and develop our high potential colleagues and support them to develop their careers, whether locally in Romania, in regional roles or internationally. 2021 was a record year for us developing our people and over 1/3 of all our professional associates were promoted to a new opportunity in the last 12 months. I’m proud of the work done by the PepsiCo Romania team to develop our talent, to support our associates to fulfil their career ambitions and ensure that we have the talent to continue to sustainably fuel our business.
What kind of workspace culture & values is to be consolidated in your company in 2022?
We will always try to encourage associates to be the best possible version of themselves, to have a culture of trust, respect and care for each other.
One example of practising these values within our team was the incredible response we had from our colleagues to support PepsiCo Ukrainian associates and their family members who came to Romania as refugees after fleeing the war in Ukraine. Our teams have come together to support over 900 people since the outbreak of war. Almost every member of the PepsiCo family in Romania has been involved, whether it’s meeting people at the border and bringing them to hotels in Bucharest, donating old strollers for children or helping family members to create a CV, I’m in awe of the way the teams have come together to support our colleagues in their moment of need.
PepsiCo encourages associates to be empathetic leaders and empowers them to deliver on their ideas. Our Supply Chain Director, Sashko Morokhovskyi, wanted to provide learning opportunities for the children of our Ukrainian colleagues, and together with a team in just a few weeks, set up a learning centre with NGO, the Private School Association, in Bucharest for 150 of our Ukraine children aged 3-17. The centre offers children some normalcy and continuity in their learning, while also providing parents with an opportunity to return to work if they wish.
We have been working with our Ukrainian Refugees to support them to find work whilst they are in Romania. We have now supported 81 people to find a new role, the majority within PepsiCo, but also with our partners. We recently held a careers fair attended by 110 of our Ukrainian refugees where they heard more about opportunities at PepsiCo and our partners IPP (Instore Power Provider) and Kaufland.
In 2022, as people start to return to the office, we’ve really thought about the role of our office and how we can use it as a space to bring our culture to life. I’m proud to share that we will be refurbishing our office space through our Work that Works initiative and create spaces that allow us to create, collaborate, connect and celebrate whilst supporting our colleagues to work flexibly and embrace hybrid working.
I’m confident as the year progresses, we will continue to bring to life our PepsiCo Way.
What is a manager’s role and skills in order to maintain and enhance a team’s cohesion?
I believe a manager’s fundamental role is to support their teams to achieve more than they ever thought possible. To do that, a manager needs to invest time in getting to know each member of a team, their strengths, individual and collective motivations and set an ambitious vision that they can achieve together. A high performing, cohesive team is built on trust, where team members feel comfortable to be themselves and are committed to working together to achieve their goals. A manager plays a critical role to create this environment, which is why we invested in the Development Centre for managers last year, to support our managers develop their leadership skills.
What kind of skills and capabilities need to be improved in your company / team in 2022?
A key part of our business plan is to make sure that we invest in critical capabilities to ensure that we have skills that we need for today and in the future. We have long term plans at both a Romania and European level to invest in certain key capabilities like Automation, eCommerce, Go To Market, Digitalisation and Net Revenue Management to make sure we have the skills and capability needed to continue to grow.
In term of general business & teams’ core-values, which are your 3 power words for 2022?
My three power words for 2022 are empathy, resilience and courage.
The war in Ukraine, coming after 2 years of a global pandemic has led to huge distress and uncertainty across Europe and we need to have empathy for each other and ourselves. We need to be kind to each other. Leaders need to create time and space to listen to their teams, understand their concerns and what they can do to support.
Resilience continues to be critical, finding the energy, motivation and passion to reach your goals when things get tough. Whatever your goals are for this year it’s your determination, your focus, your resilience that will ensure you achieve whatever you have set your mind to.
Courage is one of our most powerful emotions. I regularly ask myself and my team ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ Encourage yourself and the people around you to take calculated risks. Share your ideas in that big meeting, ask to be considered for that promotion, after all, what is the worst that can happen?