Can GBS be a place for those who seek ambitious, global projects but with the mix of local stability? – this is exactly what we wish to provide to all candidates as well as all our current employees.
Let us hear today from Boris Wouters, General Manager of PepsiCo GBS Centre in Kraków, about career perspectives today and in the future at the GBS of the company that stands behind some of the most iconic brands in the food industry.
What did work environment of a business centre look like 20 years ago?
Boris Wouters, General Manager of PepsiCo GBS Centre in Kraków: – It was repetitive and contributed little added value to the company. The employees could only see a fraction of the process and that’s what they were focused on. Interestingly enough, this work model was also reflected in office space. The employee’s horizons were their walled cubicle and their creative space was limited to some desk surface, a monitor and a phone. As a result, employees knew only a small part of the process and had tiny share of office space at their disposal.
Such was business reality 20 years ago, when the process of transfering certain company tasks to specialized centers was only gaining momentum.
Let’s leapfrog to 2020 when you opened your Kraków Center. What had changed in the market and how did those changes impact your development?
– Generally speaking, GBS centers have undergone serious transformation. They have started to acquire more and more complicated operations and complex processes, thus becoming more attractive workplaces.
Our center was built only three years ago, when the Kraków market was relatively saturated and stable. So, we did not have 20 years for transformation and development, but still we were never hindered by that circumstance. We drew our conclusions from the way the sector developed, and it helped us offer our candidates and employees fresh, energetic and lively approach to building company structure. We needed just three years to transition from offering only sales support to comprehensive services to PepsiCo in the following areas: HR, supply chain, e-commerce, finance, marketing.
Since the very start, we put emphasis on technological development that enabled us to automate multiple processes. Today, we constitute a thriving competence center responsible for global projects. Some of them are truly fascinating. This, in turn, translates into attractive daily tasks for our teams.
Fascinating is an overused word. Any examples of such projects?
– Do you remember the last Champions League final? During the broadcast, Pepsi brand was broadcast on all markets. The postproduction was done by our marketing department that handles online content!
Another example: when PepsicCo introduced a new crisps flavour 20 years ago, it was created in laboratories where our specialists mixed many flavours and later invited 50 people for tasting to get their opinion. Back then, that was the most effective method. Today, we create new flavours with the use of AI technology that analyzes content published in social media, at culinary forums. Based on the gathered data, it predicts which flavours may appeal to our consumers’ taste.
Interdisciplinary teams from the entire company are involved in the process, including those from our business centers, among others, in Kraków.
Let us get back to those `attractive daily activities`. What should a candidate who wants to wark for you expect from the company?
– We are a company that focuses on its people. We give our employees freedom to direct their career according to their own style and pace. You want to be a specialist and master one field? No problem. You prefer to become a manager and team leader? We employ 800 people, which means we will shortly need around 100 managers at multiple levels. So, you can plan your career with us, both in the operations as well as management. We have many departments and provide promotion opportunities as well as changing the field and specialization.
Do you have leaders of global teams on board, who manage processes and employees in remote locations around the world?
– Sure thing! And this marks a very big shift across the market that has been taking place recently. I think that business centers were rarely considered as global career facilitators one can manage worldwide processes from. And we have around a 100 roles related with managing teams and processes around Europe and in other markets.
As an organization, we always strive to find the best talent in each location and build a team around them. This is a benefit of global structure which – by the way – also opens entirely new opportunities of working from other countries.
Are you a place for experienced employees or rather those who are just starting their careers?
– We cater for both groups you mentioned. PepsiCo Kraków is a great choice for all those who are looking for a place which escapes red tape, is understandable and welcoming. It is a place where people smile a lot. We surely require flexibility, because this is what leads us to success on the market. That is why we are a great place for those who like to be surprised and enjoy a certain level of „creative chaos”.
But can we find such thing as career model in that creative chaos? I`m talking about clear-cut career path?
– We are not like a state-governed company, so we do not provide a systematic career path, laid out for each job position beforehand. It all depends on you. We want people to take responsibility for their careers. I always highlight the fact that in our organization you are the CEO of your career. I can’t tell what Mrs X or Mr Y’s career will look like because it is entirely up to them. You manage your own career. You decide which way you want to take, what is most important to you and what you need in order to achieve it. Exactly like a company CEO.
How do you support these individual decisions?
– It is our mission to provide every employee with all tools requireed to follow that path. We offer opportunities for development, as we create a system that will help you find best options across the globe. Kraków? Mexico? Egypt? Alright. And maybe you would like to work in Kraków and still realize a project together with a Mexican team? And maybe you work in one department and wish to participate in a project with another one. There are plenty such possibilities. We provide education, trainings, internal job fairs – all you need is to find the best option for yourself.
Nowadays, people talk a lot about diversity management. What does it look like in your organization?
– Across PepsiCo, we put great emphasis on diversity in all areas. We take care about our employees and give them equal chances for development. I personally review the question of diversity within the team. It’s unimaginable that our business center is devoted only to women or men. At KBS, we can proudly display almost perfect balance (49% and 51%) of employment of men and women as leaders.
We also advocate full support to LGBTQ+ community, we are open to different cultures, viewpoints, as long as they are based on mutual respect. We also find it pivotal that people feel safe with us, know that they can say whatever they believe, and they will be heard! I think PepsiCo is a genuine trendsetter in that regard.
We started with the past, let’s end with the future. What kind of employer will you be like in 10 years’ time?
– Our foundations will not change. We will continue to be PepsiCo – a company that cares about its employees, creates an environment in which they can feel good and draw pleasure from. We will not change our approach to career, as we will still value our employees’ independence. I also believe we will increase the number of global projects as well as those related to new technologies.
And how will the business itself change? What tasks may your GBS face in 10 years?
– We want to do new things, but our transformation will not resemble the Copernican revolution. We will keep on improving production, sales and distribution of drinks and snacks. Maybe in 10 years’ time the management will have an idea of introducing a new energy drink and will want to know whether that is the right time and the right market. They shall present this question to the GBS who will run market research and evaluate all perspectives for such a solution. Later, the management will ask us how to do this optimally, what the price should stand at, and what the packaging should look like so that the customers receive the new product well.
Browse PepsiCo career opportunities at pepsicojobs.com, and smile at what’s next.