Providing quality opportunities for our people and helping them grow and succeed as professionals is a key component of our people strategy. We continue to invest in our people’s development throughout their careers – to support them in their current positions as well as prepare them to progress to more senior roles within the firm.
Learning opportunities at PwC are a mix of on-the-job experience, coaching, and internal and external courses, which are supported by a range of activities including mobility assignments, and community and volunteer activities. The greater the opportunities we provide for our people to develop, the greater their ability to build trusted relationships with their teams and clients.
PwC is an approved Chartered Accountant Training Office (CATO). As part of our CATO activities, we provide our newly hired graduate recruits with the opportunity to prepare for their CA designation with our comprehensive UFE (Uniform Final Exam) Preparatory Program. We also continue to contribute to the professional development of our people through continuous learning opportunities that promote responsible business practices and help to uphold accounting standards. This is a priority for the firm.
Coaching is highly valued by our people. They appreciate frequent and meaningful coaching conversations that support them in their ongoing development and career paths. Over the past year, we have focused on improving support for our coaches and sharing effective practices through dedicated workshops and other learning forums.
The programs below are just a few examples of how we support the professional and personal growth of our people:
In FY2012 we focused our efforts on providing opportunities for secondments to and from emerging markets. We look to match our high-performing talent with opportunities that allow them to connect with people, build new skills and broaden their perspective on the global economy. These secondments help build skill sets and capacity not only for the people taking part but also in their co-workers both in the host country and in their home region. In FY2012, 67 people (33 outbound, 34 inbound) participated in a Global Mobility secondment – a decrease of 21 people (21%) from FY2011. This reduction reflects the global economic challenges of the year and our change in focus to emerging markets.
Enhanced Working Practices and Experiential Learning
In FY2012, we continued to look for ways to embed Enhanced Working Practices (EWP) across all of our lines of service and placed increased emphasis on using EWP to deliver strong client service. In this spirit, we launched a new program called Dare to Doubt to help our partners and managers coach their engagement teams to apply professional scepticism when working with audit clients. We collaborated with our chief auditor to ensure the program focused on areas that would have the greatest impact with participants and we produced a video where he shared real stories and experiences. The video proved to be a powerful teaching tool. We also developed a case study with our in-house Office of General Counsel that was used in a simulated court case in the classroom. After the classroom event, participants organized engagement team workshops where all team members identified and discussed areas of professional scepticism as it related to their clients. One of the most effective programs we launched in FY2012 was Profile, an easy-to-use platform where people can share their subject matter expertise, professional designations, education, language proficiencies, engagement history and more. It is accessed from our Portal and allows each partner and staff member to showcase their skills and experience. Profile’s powerful search engine enables us to search for PwC expertise locally, nationally and across the network of member firms. In FY2013, we will focus on collecting supporting data including more outcomebased information from each of these programs and analyzing this information to better understand how the programs are working and their impact.
One of our business objectives is to continually enhance the leadership skills of our staff, and we are using coaching to achieve that goal. In fact, we use coaching to develop and inspire people and align their goals with the firm’s strategy. We view it as an enabler. In FY2012 we employed coaching delivered via a series of highly successful train the trainers sessions. The impact was immediate, resulting in better on-theground support for coaches and coachees, which in turn improved the frequency and quality of coaching conversations that support the ongoing development of our people. We also started down the path of revising our coaching program for practice staff in Consulting and Deals. In FY2012 we launched a pilot in the GTA which realigned our people to a select group of coaches and provided additional training, tools and other support for those coaches to help deliver a better quality coaching experience for our people. We also revised our year-end evaluation tools to increase transparency around how our people are measured and evaluated against their peers. The preliminary feedback with respect to the direction of the program has been positive and our Global People Survey scores have improved. There have also been some critical lessons that will help us to enhance and refine the program going forward.
During FY2012, a Staff Council was created to develop innovative and unique solutions that make a difference to our people. Members seek input from their colleagues about specific topics and issues and bring those ideas to Council meetings, where potential solutions are discussed. The Council is comprised of 20 members representing different staff levels, lines of service and regions, all bringing different perspectives. It is co-chaired by Extended Leadership Team Council member Sonia Boisvert and our CEO, Bill McFarland.