Message from Dennis Finn, PwC Vice Chairman, Global Human Capital
We are extremely proud of our people and their accomplishments. On the next few pages, we highlight just a few of the many examples that showcase the real strength of PwC...our people. Whilst the last few years have been full of challenge, we could not be more pleased with our people’s growing engagement and passion for serving clients.
At PwC, we continue to define what it means to be part of our network. In the past year, we have embraced a new leadership model called PwC Professional – a fresh and distinctive way of defining and encouraging leadership at all levels.
The heart of the PwC Professional is that everyone at PwC shows leadership every day by guiding, influencing and inspiring colleagues, clients and communities to be the best they can be. Our people achieve this by leading in a responsible, inclusive and passionate way – and taking personal responsibility for how their actions impact others and PwC as a whole. As whole leaders, our people constructively influence others within and beyond PwC, by demonstrating different forms of leadership at different stages of their careers.
As well as whole leadership mindset, there are four additional attributes of the PwC Professional: the ability to build trust-based relationships; business acumen and technical capabilities, which create value for clients and PwC; and global acumen, transcending geographic boundaries, politics, race, and culture. Key to the model is the concept of a leader bringing their best self to work, applying their own unique blend of the five key attributes.
With the advent of the PwC Professional, we now have one consistent roadmap to develop future leaders across the world. We are confident that, in the coming years, the impacts and benefits of the PwC Professional will become clear through our people’s increasing engagement and the value they create for our clients and communities.
A key aspect of empowering leadership at all levels is valuing the insights of our younger employees. This is all the more vital now that that the Millennial generation or ‘Gen Y’, born between 1980 and 1995, make up two-thirds of our global workforce.
To enable Millennials to make their fullest contribution, we need to provide an employment offer that meets their distinct needs. Compared with previous generations, Gen Y seeks greater workplace flexibility, a better work/life balance, and more opportunities for overseas assignments. Put simply, Millennials want their work to fit round them as individuals, more than the other way round.
How do we know all this? Because in April 2013 we completed the world’s largest and most comprehensive study into Millennials’ attitudes and behaviours – a two-year project initiated by PwC and conducted in partnership with the University of Southern California and London Business School.
Some 44,000 online surveys were completed anonymously by PwC employees from all generations and across all parts of our business in over 20 PwC firms.
So, what did they tell us? The survey – entitled ‘PwC’s NextGen: A global generational study’ – both confirmed and dispelled stereotypes about Millennials. While they’re more tech savvy, globally focused and willing to share information than older counterparts, the study found they don’t feel more entitled or less committed, and are willing to work just as hard.
Indeed, many Gen Y attitudes are shared by their more senior colleagues – with the difference being that Gen Y are more vocal about them. And here at PwC, we’re listening. The NextGen findings have already guided us towards cultural and structural changes in how we manage, promote and compensate our people, to help provide the flexibility and fulfilment they want.
NextGen also resonates with an innovation this year in our approach to workplace mentoring. Mentoring of our younger people by their more experienced counterparts has long been a key part of our people development. But now we’re making growing use of a new variant where our more experienced employees learn from their younger colleagues: ‘reverse mentoring’.
Why? The fact is, in today’s fast-changing and increasingly technological world, a younger worker can make a huge contribution to helping colleagues learn new things and advance their careers. Today, people in their 20s or 30s are superbly qualified to pass on many valuable skills – like how to master workplace technology, leverage social media and understand the mindset of the people they’re managing.
Harnessing this potential goes to the heart of what differentiates PwC. We’re successful if we recruit, retain and develop the very best people. And reverse mentoring helps us do this, by engaging our very best people in a conversation around the things that PwC sees as most important.
Globally, we’re running an initiative – the Digital Reverse Mentoring Programme – where our younger people help their colleagues learn how to use social media safely, efficiently and effectively to deepen and strengthen their engagement with clients, staff and peers. Currently being rolled out in several firms around the world, the programme uses one-on-one tailored sessions to enable partners to tap into the previously underused skills and enthusiasm of the Millennial generation.
The real proof of all our people-focused initiatives lies in the great things that we empower and equip our people to achieve. Just a few of countless examples we could quote across the world are showcased throughout this section of the report.
As these case studies underline, leadership at PwC happens at all levels, from experienced partners to first-year associates. Put simply, we believe that leaders are defined not by their position in any hierarchy, but, more importantly, by what they do.
We are proud of the progress we have made. Our people strategy of finding, developing, motivating, mobilising and retaining quality talent and transforming our culture is designed to build our network for the future.
As reflected in this Review, we have achieved strong results across the network. However, this would not have been possible without our people. We have shared just a few examples of how our people, across all generations, lead, inspire and develop both themselves and each other.
We will continue to work hard to provide all our people with the opportunities to grow as individuals, to work flexibly, to build lasting relationships and to make an impact. Our goal at PwC is to simply give our people an opportunity of a lifetime.
We look forward to building on this progress, and learning and gaining insights from our leaders at all levels, in FY 2014 and beyond.
In August 2012, when ING Direct launched a competition in partnership with the Metro newspaper to find Britain’s most decent people, Liam Conlon from PwC UK’s Consulting team found himself on the list of nominees. In December he was announced as one of the ten winners.
The competition asked Metro readers to nominate people they knew whose selfless acts of decency profoundly impacted the lives of others. Liam certainly fitted the bill.
Having previously worked helping disability NGOs in Burkina Faso, West Africa, Liam found out in early August that the country’s Paralympic team had arrived in London three weeks before the Games with nowhere to stay. So he cancelled his holiday and put them up in his own house, as well as sourcing them a new handbike and other equipment after the original kit didn’t meet the specifications required for the Paralympic Games.
The competition judges described Liam’s selfless actions as “one of those little-known stories... that demonstrated how the whole country embraced the Olympic spirit”.
In January 2013, Liam, 25, was appointed as the youngest trustee of the United Nations Association International Service in its 60-year history. With them, he has developed a high-profile ‘Inclusion in Sport’ project with the Burkina Faso Paralympic Association, which is now fully operational.
The association aims to enable greater integration of disabled people, especially women, into society through sport. It also has the overarching ambition of getting more Paralympic athletes to the Rio 2016 Games where Liam will be the Paralympic Attache for the country.
“The only way I am able to continue with work outside PwC, is with the fantastic support I’ve received from the firm,” says Liam.
After overcoming the challenge from 2,000 competitors in three rounds, PwC New Zealand’s Alex Gordon was named the 2012 Financial Modelling World Champion in December 2012.
Financial modelling is the task of building an abstract representation (a model) of a real world financial situation.
Up against the world’s top 15 financial modelling minds at the live finals in New York, Alex pulled out all the stops to impress the three global judges and clinch the US$25,000 prize.
Competing with rivals from countries including Australia, Russia, Hungary, the US and UK, he had his innovation, speed, best practice modelling theory, and data and risk understanding put to the ultimate test.
Delighted by his win, Alex said: “Financial modelling is something I do every day and am passionate about. I am very happy to have won - it’s a wonderful recognition.”
Before heading to the finals, Alex told a national newspaper that he thought a trip to New York was a pretty good prize on its own, but he’d give the title his best shot. He’s glad he did.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang recently highlighted the importance of the economic relationship between China and Germany. Against this backdrop of a special bilateral partnership, Dr Huili Wang is in the right place at the right time.
An international tax partner in PwC’s Munich office, Huili is also responsible for leading the firm’s China/German relations and business. It’s a role she’s uniquely equipped to handle. Born and educated in China, Huili moved to Munich in 1996 where she qualified as a German tax adviser and obtained a doctorate in Business Economics at Munich University. Having been a lecturer in international and German tax law at Munich University, she joined PwC in 2008 where she immediately got involved in large-scale international client projects.
She now specialises in advising multinational clients on their German, Chinese and international tax affairs, including group restructuring and financing strategies, and structuring for cross-border transactions. Fluent in English, Mandarin and German, Huili provides a bridge between PwC’s German and Chinese firms. She does the same for clients, helping them to understand and navigate the complex technical tax and cultural nuances that can so often undermine deals in this space.
As she sums up: “Sometimes when German companies are acquired by Chinese entities, they struggle to establish relationships with their new shareholders. It’s great to be able to make a difference there.” And with Chinese investment into Germany set to soar beyond current levels, she is likely to be kept very busy.
Leadership can be demonstrated in many ways. For Tricia Antonini, in PwC Canada’s Calgary office, it’s been about courage, taking a challenging situation and creating something positive from it – for her colleagues and clients, and for the wider community.
Two years after being diagnosed with leukemia (and shortly after joining PwC Canada in 1997), Tricia started volunteering with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC). She has continued to support them for over 16 years, through two relapses and three bone marrow transplants.
As a founding member of the Alberta Chapter of LLSC, she’s been a past co-chair of its board of trustees, and currently counsels newly diagnosed or relapsed patients.
Tricia also volunteers with Alberta Health Services, sitting on its Provincial Advisory Council for Cancer, as well as being one of just two non-clinician members of its Strategic Clinical Network, a core committee focused on improving the quality of care throughout the entire patient journey. “By drawing on my experience with cancer, as well as my professional training, this is where I feel I can help to make a real long-term impact,” she says.
At work, Tricia co-leads the PwC Corporate Responsibility (CR) Champion team for the Calgary office, with responsibility for raising awareness for the firm’s Canada-wide CR programmes. And as a senior manager in the Assurance practice, she’s found a role specialising in not-for-profit accounts, where, as she says: “After everything I’ve gone through, it’s great to be able to help these clients help other people.”
Three years ago, Bernice Kimacia was offered the chance to move to Rwanda to set up PwC Rwanda’s new office in Kigali. After 20 years with PwC, including five on secondment in London and six as a partner in Kenya, she jumped at the opportunity.
“It was a tremendously exciting challenge,” she recalls. “Working at PwC, you often take for granted what it takes to run an office. But starting from scratch, resourcing the staff, setting up the systems – these were all things I’d never done before.”
Events since then suggest she did a pretty good job. Starting with 13 people in 2010, the office is now approaching 70-strong and has become the leading professional services firm in Rwanda.
Alongside running PwC’s presence, Bernice also focuses on two other priorities. One is supporting the development of Rwanda’s professional services market, and thereby its wider economy. The other is helping women working for PwC in the region realise their full potential, by mentoring them and sharing her own experiences.
“Like many firms, we recruit an equal balance of men and women, but by partnership level the proportion of women is very low,” she comments. “It’s sad to see women dropping out when there’s often no need – and my career story can encourage them to stay.”
Looking forward, Bernice aims to grow the Rwandan office into a stable, mid-sized PwC presence, before moving on to another role in the PwC network. “What I enjoy most is developing the potential of my team,” she says. “And I’ll enjoy doing that anywhere in the world.”