In war for talent, PwC boosts offerings

'We rely on our people to hold us accountable to our intentions'

In war for talent, PwC boosts offerings

As the temperature starts to rise with the onset of summer days away, so has the competitive nature of recruiting.

Employers are reaching far and wide to not only hire top graduates or senior executives but extending current policies to make firms friendlier and more suitable given post-COVID demands by employees.

Take PwC. The 8,000-employee company has increased its parental leave policy from 18 weeks to 26 weeks, inclusive of adoption, surrogacy, foster care, kinship care and stillbirth, according to Suji Kanagalingam, PwC managing partner, Melbourne office.

“[It] can be taken flexibly in a way that best suits our people. We also provide superannuation contributions for up to 12 months for employees on parental leave, and three weeks of co-parent leave.”

PwC has also launched a domestic and family violence policy, including unrestricted paid leave to find safety and reorganise personal affairs, financial assistance and support for people experiencing violence. They also provide 10 days paid leave for our people supporting a friend or family member who is experiencing domestic and family violence.

More than one in five people have experienced violence and harassment at work, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Staying accountable

The firm has also adopted an “All Roles Flex” policy which means it is open to discussing and implementing a flexible approach for all roles across the firm, says Kanagalingam.

“We rely on our people to hold us accountable to our intentions and engage regularly through employee networks to continually improve,” he says. “While there is always more to do, we are proud and reflect on the great foundations the firm has set on diversity, inclusion and wellbeing.

By conducting gender pay gap audits, PwC has sought to readdress any imbalance and is now focused heavily on equity in remuneration. They are constantly reviewing performance ratings, pay, incentives and promotion for equity, according to Kanagalingam.

“We have provided training in mental health first aid and domestic and family violence first response to more than 3% of our people, our ‘Green Light To Talk’ advocates,” he says.

“At PwC, we believe in creating an inclusive environment where our people can feel comfortable and confident being themselves. The kind of environment where they can be open and honest about who they are, and also thrive and inspire others.

After getting leaders to “walk the talk,” a practical step to take towards fostering a culture of inclusion is to encourage employee-led business resource groups (BRG), says one expert.

Best practices for inclusiveness

There is a point, however, when employers need to understand that not everyone wants to share every intimate detail about their life or their cultural background. Employees also need to understand that they are paid to work first and foremost.

“It is easy for people in organisations to speak about inclusion, yet to ‘walk the talk’ takes dedication and transformation in our thinking,” says  Christina Foxwell, founder and CEO of Ignite Purpose.

Cultural exclusion happens from biases formed through beliefs when people grow up and start their careers, she says.

“The challenge is it creates a ‘us’ and ‘them’ separation in organisations that eats away at the fabric of inclusive cultures.”

It’s important to teach everyone that “the secret to inclusion is not just a group statement or ‘activities’; it is the choice to transform our thinking and overcome our fears and shaming behaviour that we have learnt to keep us ‘safe’,” said Foxwell.

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