October 19, 2022  

How PepsiCo fosters an inclusive workplace for associates with disabilities

PepsiCo is working to ensure that all associates have the tools they need to achieve their maximum potential.

When Israel Sánchez began working at PepsiCo, there was only one bathroom adapted for disabled use at his office. Almost immediately, he suggested to his managers that they build more. “We are a top company at the highest level,” he explained. “If we want to have talented people with disabilities, we have to accommodate for that.” Leadership soon made the changes he proposed.

Israel, a Talent Management Coordinator in Mexico City, understands the value of a supportive environment like the one he found at PepsiCo. Friends and family rallied around him as he adapted to using a wheelchair. “There are so many people who have helped me,” Israel says. “I have to pay that forward.” He is paving a path at PepsiCo through CAPACIDADES, a group he helped start in Mexico to create opportunities for people with disabilities.

And he’s not alone in his efforts. PepsiCo has made a series of commitments aimed at building an inclusive and equitable environment for associates with disabilities as well as caregivers. This year, PepsiCo was recognized as a 2022 Best Place to Work by Disability:IN’s 2022 Disability Equality Index, which measures the actions a company takes to achieve disability inclusion.

“Raising the Bar on Talent and Diversity is a key behavior of our culture, The PepsiCo Way,” PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta says. “Through inclusive practices such as offering ongoing sign language training, enhanced disability benefits and self-identification, we are ensuring that our associates have the tools they need to achieve their maximum potential.”

Here is a closer look at some of the ways PepsiCo is building a more inclusive workplace:

Encouraging associates to self-identify: PepsiCo offers every associate the opportunity to voluntarily self-identify as being a member of disability community in their employee profile. Having associates self-identify helps PepsiCo track the recruitment and retention of associates more effectively, as well as enables the company to create appropriate programming and specific benefits to meet the needs of its workforce. The company creates awareness for the program and encourages people to self-identify through the You Belong Here Disability Awareness video series, which highlights the stories of associates with disabilities.

Providing disability inclusion training for managers: Through Pepsi ACT (Achieving Change Together), a partnership with non-profit Disability Solutions, PepsiCo has worked to enhance the recruiting, hiring, training and advancement of people with disabilities, including U.S. veterans, throughout the U.S. beverage business and Frito-Lay. The program has trained more than 900 managers at PepsiCo to improve interviewing, supervision and retention, and the results of that training have helped more than 2,600 jobseekers with disabilities across the U.S. increase their job readiness. For its efforts, PepsiCo was recognized by the Department of Labor for Excellence in Disability Inclusion.

Building community in the workplace: PepsiCo’s EnAble Employee Resource Group (ERG) champions inclusion and engagement for people with disabilities and caregivers. EnAble offers a space for community and support, provides resources, and raises awareness through volunteerism and fundraising events. In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the ERG teamed with Olympic runner, actress and filmmaker Alexi Pappas for a conversation about prioritizing mental health.

Engaging with advocacy organizations to accelerate change: Last year, PepsiCo joined the Valuable 500, a global business collective made up of 500 CEOs and their companies with the goal of innovating together to create disability inclusion. Through this commitment, PepsiCo aligned to advance inclusive practices that support associates with disabilities, continue to focus on the company’s disability agenda throughout the organization and at the board level, and increase representation in marketing campaigns and recruitment outreach.

Using brand platforms for purpose: Gatorade continues to promote opportunity for equity and belonging in sports through its “Want From Within” campaign featuring Hansel Enmanuel, a young basketball star who plays with one arm. The national commercial launched in June underscores that there is a place for everyone in sports.