How PepsiCo transformed their maternity benefits

In 2019, PepsiCo replaced their underutilized homegrown maternity solution with Cleo. Since the change, engagement has skyrocketed and more PepsiCo parents are getting the care they need.

About PepsiCo

We all know PepsiCo as the successful American multinational food and beverage company, but what do we know about its thousands of employees? Better yet, what do we know about their families? At Cleo, we know quite a bit.

PepsiCo is one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies serving more than 200 countries and territories around the world with a global employee population. Their vision is to “win with purpose,” not only reflecting their ambition to grow their business sustainably in the marketplace, but also to embed purpose into all aspects of the business, including how they care for their employees.

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The challenge of antiquated “maternity” benefits

For many HR teams, one of their greatest challenges is figuring out who needs what support, and when. However, ensuring employees have the right tools to stay happy and healthy is not just what drives them, it’s also what drives the overall well-being of the company, bottom line included. With a multigenerational workforce and over 250,000 employees, PepsiCo’s global benefits mission puts employees and their families at the center of their benefits strategy. They aim to help their families live better physically, financially, and socially.

In 2019, the PepsiCo HR team wanted to make sure all of their employees received the benefits they need to have meaningful support and continue to be happy and productive. They previously had a homegrown maternity solution that was part of a traditional health plan, but working parents weren’t utilizing the program because it wasn’t meeting their specific needs during the postpartum period and beyond.

After further investigation, it became clear to the team that there were gaps in the benefits they offered. PepsiCo realized that to support working parents during such a vulnerable period, they needed to provide more personalized and attentive support, which is often missing from traditional healthcare and systems. They aimed to better understand the full spectrum of experiences that birth parents, partners, and those exploring alternative paths to parenthood go through while finding meaningful ways to support them through it all.

Moving beyond what’s expected

When a company offers a basic maternity solution that’s built within a traditional health plan, it’s often limited to just that, “maternity”. They miss the opportunity to provide meaningful, personalized support that extends beyond the immediate months before and after having a baby. That’s because these solutions are not necessarily designed to provide trusted guidance, but to identify risk so employees are utilizing healthcare appropriately and the health plan can lower costs. Because of this, employees aren’t engaged with the program.

With Cleo, parents get a holistic family benefits platform that picks up where these traditional benefits leave off. We believe that supporting families (the whole family) is not only good for business, it’s the right thing to do. Cleo pairs every member with individual Cleo Guides who carry them through the entire, and often overwhelming, process of building a family, parenting, and balancing it all with work.

“We heard from a few employees that our prior maternity program was okay. They received a book and spoke with an expert a few times,” Nicole Salvatore, Total Rewards Communication, said. “And the feedback since moving to Cleo has been overwhelmingly positive and a lot more enthusiastic.”

It was important to the PepsiCo team to bring on a fully integrated family benefit platform that can work well with their existing ecosystem. One thing the PepsiCo team loves most about Cleo is its seamless connection to their Health ACE Team, which is built within their insurance company to help employees navigate their health insurance. This team is the first touch point for employees, so Cleo’s additional support makes it easier for them to be the hero of healthcare services for their employees by providing a solution like Cleo.

The Health ACE Team has been so excited to see that the individual attention and care Cleo Guides bring to new working parents. “Our team recommends Cleo as soon as they hear an employee is pregnant,” Donna Ruppert of PepsiCo’s Total Rewards team said. Cleo works with PepsiCo’s existing benefits ecosystem to enhance the solutions they already have in place and help employees navigate the benefits available to them with custom integrations. Because of their close relationship with parents, Guides create awareness of and trust in PepsiCo’s additional benefits and provide warm handoffs at the right time.

Guiding working parents through their entire journey

“The personal touch of the Guides is why I recommend Cleo,” Donna said.

Building a family goes far beyond just giving birth and taking parental leave. And it was important to the PepsiCo team that their benefits reflect that. Since implementing Cleo, PepsiCo families are receiving essential support from pregnancy to their child’s first birthday.

Expanding and supporting a family while remaining dedicated to a career is one of the toughest commitments employees make. Cleo understands the simultaneous miracle and grueling challenge of this experience intimately. That’s why we support parents through the particularly vulnerable postpartum period, ensuring higher parental confidence, improved mental health, and a higher return-to-work rate. This creates a better quality of life for working parents, helping them to feel cared for by the company and bring their best selves to work.

PepsiCo parents are in deep with Cleo Guides. In just six months, 53% of PepsiCo Baby families engaged with Cleo Guides every month, exceeding engagement patterns of similarly sized companies. It was important to the PepsiCo team that parents are able to get the help they need how and when they need it. With Cleo, members can talk or message with their Guide, read evidence-based content, join group sessions and live workshops, or receive 1-on-1 guidance from an expert to address a specific concern.

“When we consider the value Cleo has created at PepsiCo, the highlight for our team is the enhanced employee experience. Prior to Cleo, our maternity program was not well used and members felt it wasn’t worth their time. The previous program required three phone calls prior to delivery and one call after birth. Now, I feel so much more comfortable knowing employees are on their parenting journey with Cleo and have a reliable touchpoint for whatever they need.” Donna said.

For families and especially new parents, the healthcare system is complex, often making it hard to even reach their doctor for simple but important questions. There’s no doubt that there are gaps in care in the moments they need it most. “When you have a question that might feel too minor to ask your doctor, it is so helpful to have a trusted expert to check in with,” a PepsiCo expecting parent shared.

Coming together to support working parents

Since partnering with Cleo, more PepsiCo parents have engaged than with any of their past family benefits offerings. Parents work with their Cleo Guides in all different ways to maintain their mental health through stress, balance the demands of work and home life, and get the most out of PepsiCo’s benefits offering. For PepsiCo, this means happier employees that feel meaningfully supported and can truly show up at work.

When Cleo and PepsiCo work together:

  • Better mental and emotional health: 92% Connected via phone or video with their Cleo Guide for emotional wellness and care navigation
  • Infant health benefits from breastfeeding: 80% Received 1:1 personalized support from a Cleo lactation expert
  • Less costly birth interventions: 40% Completed a birth preparation session with a Cleo Guide