14/09/2016 12:25 PM IST | Updated 15/09/2016 12:01 AM IST

PepsiCo Wants Millennials To Play A Bigger Role And Meet Indra Nooyi But First They Have To Take A Selfie

A "cultural" need.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Selfies often get a bad rap for being self-indulgent, but at PepsiCo India, they could mean a ticket to a high-flying job at the global consumer giant.

The company is launching a millennial hiring drive including a social media contest "Change The Game," which asks millennials to first upload a "creative" group selfie, followed by a larger question to articulate a business plan for the company and its products for 2020. If impressed, it plans to give a job and send the employee to New York to meet with the company's leadership team including Chairman and Chief Executive Indra Nooyi.

PepsiCo India Vice President Suchitra Rajendra, told HuffPost India the company's goal is to attract millennials who are creative, "digitally-savvy influencers" from outside the organisation, while providing its existing millennial employees unusual avenues for career growth – such as letting them advise and mentor its executive management team and even helping them craft a vision for the company's future.

This is all part of the company's effort to keep its brand popular in the digital age, said Rajendra, adding the company sees millennials as "change agents" who can help it expand its digital footprint. PepsiCo India is currently making a push in nutrition-based products.

The decision to attract millennials is largely driven by a "cultural" need to cater to the growing millennial strength both within and outside the organisation, said Rajendra. About 62 per of the company's staff is made up of millennials, which she referred to as people who are born after 1981.

"PepsiCo has to be very relevant...and nurturing for our talent," said Rajendra.

Asked why the company chose to use a selfie as part of the hiring plan, Rajendra pointed to millennials' "love" for selfies, and how through a "creative" group selfie and the accompanying social media likes it garners, the company would be able to judge the reach and influence of the person – important skills the company is seeking in addition to crowdsourcing its future leaders, she added.

"Reach is very important," she said. The company's contest has also been rolled out in other markets including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the UAE.

Internal Push

For its existing millennial employees, the company has introduced a special board, "The Generation-Y Board," which works alongside its executive committee, with shared responsibility for the company's decisions such as hiring and representing it at forums.

In addition to giving advice to its executive committee on social media, technology and futuristic ways of working, the millennials also "reverse mentor" its senior team, said Rajendra. Even Pepsico India CEO D. Shivakumar's weekly communication to employees is tailored to be precise, short and interesting to appeal to millennials.

"Millennials need to have a strong voice ...their advice can make us much more agile," Rajendra said, adding that over a dozen millennial employees from India are already in international, senior international positions.