- Accounting firm PwC recently said its 40,000 U.S. employees can choose to work remotely.
- In an industry known for its demanding culture, the decision can have rewards and challenges.
- For new associates, the focus on building relationships in the business is always the most important.
One of the largest firms in the accounting industry lets its employees choose how they work, forever.
PricewaterhouseCoopers recently announced that all of its 40,000 employees in the United States can work remotely from anywhere. In an industry known for its demanding work culture, policy change will have its benefits. But that will probably also come with challenges.
Rod Adams, head of talent acquisition and onboarding for PwC recruiting in the US and Mexico, said the decision to allow employees to work remotely was meant to give them choice.
“The benefit is that you can have that individual control over how they want to work and how it meets their personal needs or wants,” Adams said.
For associates starting their careers, Adams said the same level of relationship-building attention is needed whether they start virtually or in person. Compared to 30 years ago, Adams says, PwC now has the tools to enable people to collaborate virtually and build trust and familiarity – a key part of an associate’s success.
“I don’t think there should be an automatic assumption that just because someone chooses virtual it will negatively impact their growth,” Adams said. “Build relationships, ask questions, so they can learn new things and they can develop and grow at the same pace as if they were in person. “
Adams said PwC still operates with a learning model for new associates, where they receive coaching and feedback to help them get started with the business.
In different areas of PwC, associates still provide the same work to clients, even though the way they work has changed. For example, team meetings will have some members in a room together while others join by video, and associates should be comfortable participating in the discussion that way.
But he said the new associates likely already had experience using virtual tools at university or in previous internships during the pandemic.
“Because we’re in an environment where there’s pressure to deliver to customers, it won’t be any different in a virtual world versus a face-to-face world,” Adams said. “Nothing we do changes the expectations our customers have of us. We’re just going to deliver it in a different way and continue to proactively manage the well-being of our employees. “
As teams plan and organize clients’ work, Adams said they also make plans with a focus on wellness, like making sure some team members can finish the workday by 5 p.m. that they can focus on their personal life.
Opening up jobs to people who can work from anywhere has also expanded the talent pool, Adams said. Now, talent who might not live near one of PwC’s more than 50 locations in the US can interact with recruiters and work with the company they are located from.
“This idea of where you work is not prescribed as it has been in our industry for so long is a great opportunity to provide more flexibility to people who choose this career path,” said Adams. .
Remote working creates a challenge where people work in different ways, but Adams says PwC provides advice on how to lead and support teams when everyone is working in different locations and time zones.
“There is training that we are rolling out over the next few months for all of our employees to help them with this transition, ensuring that we are inclusive, ensuring that everyone still has the same levels of opportunity. “, did he declare.
From a recruiting perspective, the market is hot right now. Interest in PwC is at an all time high, according to Adams, and throughout the fall, PwC engaged with entry-level talent on more than 600 campuses, 35 of which are historically black colleges and universities.
Adams said PwC received nearly 75,000 applicants in its last fall process, a record for this time of year. PwC’s entry-level recruitment targets are also up 20% from last year.
“For people entering the profession,” said Adams, “remember that the key element that has not changed is building relationships and your network, whether you are in person or virtual.”