Pepsi Tracks Diversity Outreach

The company is relying less on employment agencies.

M aking sure a company’s workforce is both qualified and diverse isn’t easy, and as consultants Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler found in their 2005 CareerXroads study of corporate hiring practices, there is no silver bullet.

    Their survey found that affinity groups and employee referrals are perceived to be the most productive sources for diversity hiring. After five years of tracking its diversity hiring, Pepsico’s John Delpino has found the same thing.

    Delpino, director of executive staffing, began keeping track of sourcing channels in 1999, the year his budget was halved by Pepsi’s management. Delpino’s supervisor then asked him to spend 30 percent less than that. “We had this aggressive diversity hiring agenda and suddenly I had a much smaller budget, so I wanted to know if we were using the best methods,” he says.

    At the time, Pepsi relied primarily on recruiters to find qualified executives to meet the company’s diversity goals–a minimum of 50 percent of employees who are not white men. Delpino became diligent at tracking and indexing results of his outreach efforts. He began using various job boards on a kind of trial-and-error basis. He also started exploring niche sites, major job boards and associations of black, Hispanic and Latino employees and MBAs.

    After five years of tracking–which Delpino says costs the company very little because it already had an applicant tracking system in place–he has changed and expanded the sources used to meet Pepsi’sdiversity requirements. “We’ve had a lot of success with the Internet, especially niche sites like LatPro.com,” he says. “But we also found that if you’re looking for a job, no matter who you are, you will also look on Monster, Yahoo and Hot Jobs.”

    Pepsi relies on agencies far less than it once did, and Delpino says that those it still uses work harder now and have higher percentage of diverse hires than they once did. “When we come to them now we have a targeted need. We can do the majority of candidates on our own,” he says. He also launched the company’s first formalized employee referral program.

    Although Delpino’s budget actually went up this year for the first time since 1999, he has exceeded the goal set by his manager every year since then, and now spends less than half of what he did in 1998.