Our people are at the heart of everything we do and the decisions that we make - and the events of the past year have demonstrated this more than ever.
We’ve had a culture of flexibility for a number of years now, but recent investments in technology allowed all 22,000 of us to shift to home working overnight when lockdown was announced. But more than just enabling us to work, it played a crucial role in connecting us with our teams and allowing us to support each other.
One way we looked after each other was through regular wellbeing webcasts and, the day after lockdown was announced, over 12,000 of our people logged in for a live conversation with a doctor and a psychiatrist to answer questions on physical and mental health.
Early on we took the decision that our partners would shoulder the short-term financial impacts of COVID-19, to reassure our people and to protect their jobs. This included the jobs of 180 graduates who joined us virtually in April, just a few days after lockdown started, and the further 1500 graduates and school leavers who joined us in September.
We also continued to run our largest ever training programme focused on technology skills, with over 5,000 employees taking part to date, and we were able to switch from face to face sessions to a virtual classroom format within just two weeks following lockdown.
Our purpose became more important than ever and guided us as we engaged with our communities. We continued coaching social enterprises, released our Digital Fitness App to the public, and reached thousands of young people through free virtual training sessions - all great examples of how we’re delivering on our New World. New Skills commitment.
The Black Lives Matter events of the early summer also served as an important reminder of the inequality which exists across society. The events prompted a review of our existing diversity and inclusion plan, and we’ve reacted by introducing five targeted actions aimed specifically at reducing racial inequality in our firm and across society.
As we reflect on the year that’s passed, it’s fair to say there will be uncertainties ahead. We’re all in the process of determining the best way to live and work through the unknowns but one thing we do know is that the more we work together and care for each other, the better the outcome will be for us all.
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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom