How PwC Built a Connected Workforce

Ten Thousand Coffees Team -
March 30, 2022

How did PwC create a culture of connectivity? How did the company drive information sharing, employee engagement, and a sense of belonging in a global pandemic? Dave Wilkin, Co-Founder and CEO of Ten Thousand Coffees, spoke to Susie Gould, Deals People Leader at PwC, about all these questions and more in a roundtable discussion with HR professionals in attendance. 

During the event, Gould touched on the success she’s had building a connected workforce within a remote and hybrid environment. At PwC, connectivity is a big part of who they are. It is at the core of their innovation, inclusion, talent, and career development culture. As the HR Lead of the Deals People team, she spoke about how she used technology and a results-driven approach to scale and measure connectivity, the power of people development to drive culture, as well as tips on how to empower inter-office networks and avoid the pitfalls of disconnection. 

Wilkin: A recent study found that the cost of loneliness to the US economy could be up to $406B/year. It found that lonely employees have a higher risk of turnover, are less productive and have more missed days at work. With the business case clear, what can companies do to solve this crisis?

“At PwC, connectivity is top of mind for our employees,” Gould said, “We are now flexed, meaning employees are fully remote or they spend half their time virtual, and the other half in the office 2-3 days a week.” Having relationships with the people you work with is important, she said, but it isn’t easy for international companies where virtual work is the new norm, or for employees who left major markets for lifestyle or family reasons. “We've seen a big shift with people living in big cities — they have different options. How do we keep people connected despite not being in the same place all the time?” Gould said. Giving people opportunities to develop those relationships is one way; creating trust and advocacy amongst employees, leaders and people you want to work with is another. 

PwC also puts a major emphasis on mentorship culture.

“The mentorship culture at PwC is why so many come here,” Gould said, “At PwC, people stay for the people,” she added. “Many start their careers here because of the opportunity to be mentored. We lost some of that in the pandemic when we went virtual, but have worked to fix this.” 

That’s where 10KC’s technology has filled a void, she said, helping connect leaders, Partners and Managing Directors in mentorship roles with employees. “That was an active strategy,” Gould said. It went beyond direct working relationships, she explained, and created a connection across verticals. It helps from a client standpoint, she said, knowing you’ve been introduced to someone in valuation, or financial due diligence, even though it may not be your specific team. “Knowing people across your team helps you go into the market with a more diversified approach,” Gould said, citing the 10KC platform builds connectivity in-house that is result-based with better teams to manage client interactions. 

She sees added value in the remote workplace too. “The virtual world creates a huge opportunity for us, because everybody's on a level playing field.” Historically, she said, major markets like New York City had a leg up on face-to-face interaction. “We’re all virtual to some extent now, which means that people can gain access to those they couldn’t before.”

Wilkin: What kind of activity, mentoring and networking problems are you trying to solve in the next 3 to 12 months? 

“Everyone’s heard of ‘The Great Resignation’ – and because of this, there's so much opportunity in the market right now. People are getting offers from competitors due to the nature of the market, and we're looking at strategies to retain our employees through mentorship and development. We want people to feel connected with their leaders or coaches – if they do, they will be less likely to leave. I regularly advise our leaders and staff to reach out to the people they work with. Build that relationship. If you become a trusted advisor or mentor for that individual, they will want to stay,” Gould said. 

She shared that using 10KC’s platform, PwC has been able to better measure those important connections. “You can see who's connecting naturally, who opts in, how many people they've connected with. We also see who hasn't opted in. That's the kind of person we might spend more time focusing on and encouraging our leaders to connect with.” She added: “The technology is so helpful. We can notice trends and make sure employees aren’t getting lost in the shuffle.” 

Wilkin: How exactly is PwC investing in its people and its connectivity strategy? 

By giving Partners and teams activity budgets, said Gould. “We've invested a lot in connectivity events. We did this across the firm, both digital and in-person, depending upon people's comfort level and the ebbs and flows of COVID. We've had all sorts of virtual events, and have had a wide variety of in-person events; everything from flower arranging classes, to charcuterie boards, to wellness programs.” Gould believes it's important for employee morale and the organization’s culture to celebrate the wins going forward. “Thanking people for all they've been doing during this difficult time. The pandemic has been hard on everyone — emphasizing recognition and celebrating wins, big or small, helps people feel like they’re valued.”

She cites that maintaining and promoting PwC’s robust internal network as a key to driving company morale, but also revenue. “From a business development and client service standpoint, this helps us generate more revenue. Having a strong internal network and being part of a culture of recognition leads to better employee engagement and more business.”

Wilkin asked Gould how she customized the 10KC platform to make it so successful within the company dynamic. 

“At PwC, we have inclusion networks, and 80% of our 10KC matches involve an inclusion network member.”

Finding mentorship and allies across networks breaks down silos and helps people grow, she says, “People feel included.” Gould is also seeing more connectivity between newer team members because of the initiative, she said, and the goal going forward is to ensure those connections are happening more frequently, “that the right conversations are happening within those conversations. There is this element of finding people who have similar characteristics to you, but it’s also about learning from people who are different from you,” Gould said. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Ten Thousand Coffees’ connectivity solution, you can access it here.

Webinar

How PwC Built a Connected Workforce

How did PwC create a culture of connectivity? How did the company drive information sharing, employee engagement, and a sense of belonging in a global pandemic? Dave Wilkin, Co-Founder and CEO of Ten Thousand Coffees, spoke to Susie Gould, Deals People Leader at PwC, about all these questions and more in a roundtable discussion with HR professionals in attendance. 

During the event, Gould touched on the success she’s had building a connected workforce within a remote and hybrid environment. At PwC, connectivity is a big part of who they are. It is at the core of their innovation, inclusion, talent, and career development culture. As the HR Lead of the Deals People team, she spoke about how she used technology and a results-driven approach to scale and measure connectivity, the power of people development to drive culture, as well as tips on how to empower inter-office networks and avoid the pitfalls of disconnection. 

Wilkin: A recent study found that the cost of loneliness to the US economy could be up to $406B/year. It found that lonely employees have a higher risk of turnover, are less productive and have more missed days at work. With the business case clear, what can companies do to solve this crisis?

“At PwC, connectivity is top of mind for our employees,” Gould said, “We are now flexed, meaning employees are fully remote or they spend half their time virtual, and the other half in the office 2-3 days a week.” Having relationships with the people you work with is important, she said, but it isn’t easy for international companies where virtual work is the new norm, or for employees who left major markets for lifestyle or family reasons. “We've seen a big shift with people living in big cities — they have different options. How do we keep people connected despite not being in the same place all the time?” Gould said. Giving people opportunities to develop those relationships is one way; creating trust and advocacy amongst employees, leaders and people you want to work with is another. 

PwC also puts a major emphasis on mentorship culture.

“The mentorship culture at PwC is why so many come here,” Gould said, “At PwC, people stay for the people,” she added. “Many start their careers here because of the opportunity to be mentored. We lost some of that in the pandemic when we went virtual, but have worked to fix this.” 

That’s where 10KC’s technology has filled a void, she said, helping connect leaders, Partners and Managing Directors in mentorship roles with employees. “That was an active strategy,” Gould said. It went beyond direct working relationships, she explained, and created a connection across verticals. It helps from a client standpoint, she said, knowing you’ve been introduced to someone in valuation, or financial due diligence, even though it may not be your specific team. “Knowing people across your team helps you go into the market with a more diversified approach,” Gould said, citing the 10KC platform builds connectivity in-house that is result-based with better teams to manage client interactions. 

She sees added value in the remote workplace too. “The virtual world creates a huge opportunity for us, because everybody's on a level playing field.” Historically, she said, major markets like New York City had a leg up on face-to-face interaction. “We’re all virtual to some extent now, which means that people can gain access to those they couldn’t before.”

Wilkin: What kind of activity, mentoring and networking problems are you trying to solve in the next 3 to 12 months? 

“Everyone’s heard of ‘The Great Resignation’ – and because of this, there's so much opportunity in the market right now. People are getting offers from competitors due to the nature of the market, and we're looking at strategies to retain our employees through mentorship and development. We want people to feel connected with their leaders or coaches – if they do, they will be less likely to leave. I regularly advise our leaders and staff to reach out to the people they work with. Build that relationship. If you become a trusted advisor or mentor for that individual, they will want to stay,” Gould said. 

She shared that using 10KC’s platform, PwC has been able to better measure those important connections. “You can see who's connecting naturally, who opts in, how many people they've connected with. We also see who hasn't opted in. That's the kind of person we might spend more time focusing on and encouraging our leaders to connect with.” She added: “The technology is so helpful. We can notice trends and make sure employees aren’t getting lost in the shuffle.” 

Wilkin: How exactly is PwC investing in its people and its connectivity strategy? 

By giving Partners and teams activity budgets, said Gould. “We've invested a lot in connectivity events. We did this across the firm, both digital and in-person, depending upon people's comfort level and the ebbs and flows of COVID. We've had all sorts of virtual events, and have had a wide variety of in-person events; everything from flower arranging classes, to charcuterie boards, to wellness programs.” Gould believes it's important for employee morale and the organization’s culture to celebrate the wins going forward. “Thanking people for all they've been doing during this difficult time. The pandemic has been hard on everyone — emphasizing recognition and celebrating wins, big or small, helps people feel like they’re valued.”

She cites that maintaining and promoting PwC’s robust internal network as a key to driving company morale, but also revenue. “From a business development and client service standpoint, this helps us generate more revenue. Having a strong internal network and being part of a culture of recognition leads to better employee engagement and more business.”

Wilkin asked Gould how she customized the 10KC platform to make it so successful within the company dynamic. 

“At PwC, we have inclusion networks, and 80% of our 10KC matches involve an inclusion network member.”

Finding mentorship and allies across networks breaks down silos and helps people grow, she says, “People feel included.” Gould is also seeing more connectivity between newer team members because of the initiative, she said, and the goal going forward is to ensure those connections are happening more frequently, “that the right conversations are happening within those conversations. There is this element of finding people who have similar characteristics to you, but it’s also about learning from people who are different from you,” Gould said. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Ten Thousand Coffees’ connectivity solution, you can access it here.

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