EXCLUSIVE: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) is rolling out an employee resilience programme in the UK.
The programme, which is aimed at encouraging its 16,500 UK employees to be aware of their psychological and emotional wellbeing, follows a successful pilot for employees in specific business areas.
Sally Evans, senior manager of the diversity, inclusion and employee wellbeing team at PWC, said: “When I joined a couple of years ago, I did some work to understand where we were around wellbeing, and it appeared to me that we were very good in the support and preventative health areas.
“If there was a gap, it was really in the skills-building area, specifically around resilience.”
Through its annual engagement survey, the professional services firm learned that wellbeing scores were lower than expected and were not improving, particularly in its South East Assurance practice.
At the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, a pilot programme was rolled out for the 6,000 staff in this part of the organisation.This included a series of team-based activities for staff, focus groups led by team leaders, and half-day workshops provided by external provider, The Energy Project.
“We really wanted to focus on the psychological health space,” said Evans. “We made it very action-based, so [staff] would commit to things they could change, and have a team-based approach to supporting each other in that. It created a shared language that helped their wellbeing conversations.”
PWC’s 2012 engagement survey, which followed the pilot project, saw a rise in wellbeing and engagement scores. Out of a score of five, wellbeing increased from 3.17 to 3.34, while engagement increased from 4.05 to 4.13.
PWC is now focusing on sharing the programme more widely across the organisation. So far, it has run in parts of the organisation that have identified a need for it. It is also being integrated into the organisation’s leadership and top talent programmes
It has started with a session called ‘Don’t be a boiling frog’. Evans explained: “If you put a frog in a pan of boiling water it will jump right out, but if you put it in tepid water and slowly increase the heat it will stay there.
“We have taken that analogy and framed work around people’s psychological and emotional health [looking at] how the pressures of life can potentially creep up on people without their realising, how we can have more self-awareness around that, and focus on practical things we can do to build and maintain our resilience.
“We’re building an offering now that we can extend to all our divisions.”