PwC invests $2.4 billion in their work culture and benefits
In the last two years, companies have seriously questioned the ingredients that go into an attractive and sustainable work culture. PricewaterhouseCoopers seems to have arrived at an answer.
With approximately two million workers missing from the US labor force and talks of a recession bringing uncertainty to talent acquisition, it’s imperative companies build the “right” work culture to retain their best talent. PwC is investing $2.4 billion in a reimagined employee experience called My+, centering flexibility and agency for its workforce.
“We are building an experience that is truly centered around what our people have told us they want and need,” says Kim Jones, US talent strategy and people experience leader at PwC. “They told us it’s meaningful relationships, support for flexibility in their workday, a purpose, a sense of belonging and a balanced workload.”
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It became clear to Jones’ team that this wish list has to be rooted in personalization and choice in the workplace. In fact, last fall PwC was the first professional services firm to offer a formal remote work option to all 40,000 client service professionals, and the firm plans to keep this offering on the table. This means workers can choose to be fully virtual, hybrid or in-person, no questions asked.
Notably, only 4% of employers are making workers return to the office full-time, according to the nonprofit research group Conference Board. However, research from Microsoft revealed that 50% of leaders want their workers to return to the office in the next year , while 52% of workers are considering switching to a fully remote or hybrid position. PwC’s policy avoids this tension altogether.
“I am aware that there are some companies that are starting to require people back into the office, but our people are much happier having the option of virtual roles,” says Jones. “We want to build as much flexibility as possible so people can serve our clients while having a balance between their work and personal lives.”
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Beyond flexibility, PwC is also expanding protected time off by implementing weeklong company-wide shutdowns each year in July and December. Jones considers this one of their most popular perks — and her personal favorite.
“People have an opportunity to relax, recharge and unplug, knowing there isn’t a mountain of emails waiting for them once they come back,” she says. “It feels very different when you’re on vacation and everybody else is on vacation as well.”
Additionally, PwC is doubling the number of free visits with a mental health professional from six to 12 annually and increasing the reimbursement rate for out-of-network mental healthcare from 70% to 90%. Jones views these latest upgrades as part of a natural evolution for PwC benefits, pointing to their “Be Well, Work Well” program that started in 2017. The program helps employees form healthy habits to better their six dimensions of well-being: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial and social.
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“We have looked for ways to support people in their quest for mental health and just being well,” says Jones. “We want people to feel good about what they’re doing at PwC and in their lives more broadly.”
On the upskilling front, PwC is launching an Inclusive Mindset Badge, a learning experience that works to build inclusive leadership skills for employees at all levels.
As Jones looks back at the last few years, she trusts the current trajectory of PwC’s work culture, noting how the company adapted and even thrived during the Great Resignation. Since PwC has viewed the labor market as competitive long before COVID entered the picture, they had already invested in attraction and retention strategies, explains Jones. For example, when PwC offered their fully virtual option last fall, they saw an immediate 20% increase in job applications.
In the new year, Jones plans to keep her ears to the ground and encourage leaders to do the same. Employees’ needs may shift, and employers need to be listening.
“We are certainly looking for more ways to protect flexibility and offer a much higher degree of personalized choice than our people have ever had before,” says Jones. “I’m really excited about that.”