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NAWO - In Conversation

Jul 11, 2019

In this episode we are delighted to speak with two leaders form the Pepsico business, from the Tingalpa snack foods facility in Queensland, where they are having great success in extending flexible work options to their shift based teams. Instilling a flexible work culture  has been a journey for Pepsico across all their functions, and they have pretty much nailed it, with their ‘One Simple thing’ approach to conversations around flexible work requests earning them a WGEA Employer of Choice Citation this year.


Jason Webster, Senior Supply Chain Leader and Plant Manager at Tingalpa and Stephanie Ridge, HR Manager for the site, share their approach to flexibility on site and give examples of how well it is working for their people and their operation.


At NAWO we are passionate about Flexibility because we know it is a key enabler of increasing female participation in the workplace, however what is beautiful about enabling flexibility in your workplace is it benefits everyone, regardless of gender and the Pepsico example really demonstrates this. Attracting a diverse workforce to shift based teams requires businesses to look critically at the overall package they are provide to employees, to attract them into the business and retain them. Pepsico’s experience proves that shift work can provide very interesting opportunities for flexibility if there is a willingness to consider different models, think laterally and invest in skills development across teams.


Key Learnings:

  • A workplace culture of trust is a pre-requisite to successful implementation of flexible work
  • Principle-based leadership and reference to clear principles directly applicable to flexible work requests is vital as the foundation for encouraging requests for flexible work and having open and honest conversations about how they can be accommodated
  • An investment in cross training/skills development for front line team members is integral to enabling flexible options
  • Positive role modelling of the behaviours around flexibility, in line with principles, from leaders is extremely important
  • Clearly articulating the level of flexibility that can be enabled for particular roles and job classifications (e.g low, moderate and high flex roles) manages expectations from the outset
  • There are huge benefits to implementing this approach to flexible work for sites with long tenure in regard to transition to retirement
  • Extending opportunities for flexibility beyond traditional parameters (i.e. part time or casual work for mothers returning from leave) provides enormous retention opportunities for all employees (studying, transitioning to retirement, sporting commitments, parenting, elder care, commuting problems, faith etc)


Attached here is a Linked In article I have written reflecting on principle-based leadership  - what it is and why it matters and a short slide deck providing some example principles specific to enabling flexibility.