How the CHRO of PepsiCo Foods is Improving the Frontline Employee Experience

Community Blog
Written by Amanda Baldwin

AUGUST 10, 2023

For the past year or so, business media has been hyper fixated on the employee experience of corporate workers, with headlines of “return to office” and “hybrid workplaces” trending everywhere. But for organizations with frontline workers, this is only half the story. Not all positions can offer flexibility, and many HR leaders are struggling to adapt their employee experience to attract and retain critical frontline staff. 

We’ve been listening to our CHRO communities who have been highly requesting this as a discussion topic at community programs, and it was recently the theme of the closing keynote at the Dallas CHRO Executive Summit this past June. 

Here, Patrick McLaughlin, PepsiCo Foods North America CHRO and Co-Chair of the Dallas CHRO Community, sat down with Peter Aykens, Chief of Research for Gartner’s HR practice, for a live recording of the Gartner Talent Angle podcast to reflect on the frontline employee experience and how organizations can collectively improve their employee value proposition (EVP).

People now understand the importance of that frontline workforce in a way that we have never understood before… and for me, this is a great moment to seize on that to create something that is different from what we’ve had.”

- Patrick McLaughlin

During the conversation, Patrick discussed the evolution of the frontline talent landscape, the gap in the labor market, how HR leaders need to rethink their approach and a need to embrace emerging technologies, such as generative AI and automation. He stated, “I’ve been doing this since 1989. I think we’ve always approached it with a surplus of labor model, and we will select from the environment the people that we think will fit our environment. Well, that’s a luxury I’m not sure that we have anymore.”

To counter challenges, Patrick shared many ways he is beginning to offer more flexibility, career growth opportunities and pay optimization for frontline workers at PepsiCo Foods. In addition, he described how he is upskilling management to better serve the labor force. He said, “Leadership is the single biggest force multiplier that we have.”

Here is what participants had to say about this thought provoking conversation at the summit:

One of the best sessions in my 10+ years of attending these events! Patrick is one of the most strategic and thoughtful business and HR leaders I have ever known!”

This was an awesome experience. I have never heard Patrick speak and learned so much.”

Listen to the full keynote conversation wherever you listen to your podcasts:

Don’t miss an opportunity to connect in person with like-minded HR leaders - apply to join your local CHRO community today.


Amanda Baldwin headshot

Amanda Baldwin

Content Marketing Manager at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CHROs, for CHROs

Find your local community and explore the benefits of becoming a member.