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PwC’s approach to managing people

PwC’s approach to managing people
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PwC was recently awarded the Health Creation accreditation mark in the CMHA’s Thriving at Work Assessment. Here PwC shares its approach to managing people which falls under Standard 5 in the CMHA’s UK Thriving at Work Guide and Assessment.   

The challenge

At PwC, people are often in and out of different projects, working with different people and, before the pandemic, often on client site. Even before the pandemic, the majority of people management interactions were done remotely. Individuals with these responsibilities have had to develop ways to get to know the people they are responsible for so that they can spot signs from a wellbeing perspective. PwC has therefore had to develop its approach to people management to account for the fluid nature of peoples’ working relationships and locations.

Career Coaches and Wellbeing Performance

In response, the firm has implemented a community of Career Coaches who each have people management responsibilities for several individuals. The career coach role covers three main areas; performance management, coaching and wellbeing.

In addition, the firm has integrated wellbeing into the framework outlining the competencies, skills and behaviours expected from a PwC professional. This year everyone across the firm has a wellbeing performance goal, which asks them to focus on two key areas 1) what will you do to take care of your own wellbeing? And 2) what will you do to support the wellbeing of those around you? Career coaches talk through what their coachees have done to accomplish this goal as part of an individual’s performance review conversation and discuss how they can further support them in prioritizing their wellbeing. And since job performance measured against all goals drives people’s reward, wellbeing is linked to remuneration.

Training and support

On an ongoing basis PwC invests time, energy and new thinking into how to train and equip people with the skills to be Career Coaches as part of their role. The firm has developed a number of training and professional development interventions related to wellbeing performance which Career Coaches are encouraged to take part in:

  • Team resilience programme: Career Coaches can join a team resilience programme where they learn skills on how to maintain and enhance wellbeing in a practical way, through intentional energy management. These strategies can be passed onto colleagues they manage.
  • Wellbeing in the City: PwC worked with the Samaritans to develop an e-learning module on how to have confident wellbeing conversations. The firm has an aspiration for 100% of its people to do the training and career coaches are particularly encouraged to complete the training, helping them to better understand how to look after themselves, as well as helping them offer the best support to their people.
  • Peer to peer learning: the firm provides opportunities for more experienced coaches to support people who are newer to the role.
  • A wellbeing curriculum: the firm has developed a wellbeing curriculum for new joiners through their early careers. This maps out the wellbeing learning objectives for their first five years including what is on offer to people to look after their own wellbeing and help build resilience, considered by PwC as a key leadership skill.

Key learnings from PwC:

  • It takes time to build strong relationships with those that you manage. This depends a lot on the enthusiasm and time people put into building those relationships, especially when you are not regularly seeing people face to face. PwC has invested in upskilling its career coaches to be able to have the confidence and skills to have wellbeing conversations and to notice when someone isn’t quite themselves. In addition, PwC has found that the best ideas to engage colleagues on wellbeing have often come from teams and individuals in the business, at local level. The firm has a long track record of consulting with people on what would make a difference – most significantly its recent firmwide survey of the whole workforce, focused on people’s aspirations for new ways of working, as we emerge from the pandemic. This has informed the development of a new blended way of working, with encouragement to ‘Empower your Day’ in making choices about where, when and how work is best delivered.
  • To encourage participation in skills building, PwC has found that the best approach has been to widely and consistently promote visible leadership endorsement rather than making training mandatory. Participating in wellbeing training is also recognized as a key way to demonstrate how you are achieving your individual wellbeing performance goals in a given year.
  • To increase awareness and accountability of PwC’s firmwide approach to wellbeing, the firm communicates internally and externally what it does around wellbeing and inclusion in a transparent way. For example, through annual reports, personal stories and videos.