Maintaining productivity during a global pandemic has been tough, so PwC decided to recognize their employees’ hard work by issuing performance-based raises this year.
The Big Four accounting firm issued the new raises this January, which was a pay bump of up to 5% of employees’ salaries. Workers also received their regular annual bonuses, and promotions were awarded on schedule throughout 2020. The company’s HR department says they didn’t want to sacrifice employee retention to the pandemic, and were determined to keep employee benefits and perks a high priority.
“Even amidst the pandemic, the competition for talent remains significant and strong,” says Michael Fenlon, chief people officer at PwC. “This pandemic is not forever, so we’re making short and long-term investments in our workforce.”
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While unemployment reached record highs during the pandemic, PwC managed to prevent layoffs entirely. Once the company determined that was possible, its HR department organized brainstorming sessions to make the new remote work situation more bearable, Fenlon says.
“The key to creating competitive benefits is knowing it’s not purely and simply about salary and bonuses — there has to be a much broader conversation around benefits,” Fenlon says. “HR needs to think about solutions that help people with their daily lives.”
Many of the benefits PwC rolled out last year were geared toward helping employees balance their work and personal responsibilities. Working parents could take advantage of protected time and flex-time policies, which allows them to set aside time during the workday to help their children with schoolwork.
“As schools start to announce their plans for the pandemic, we wanted to help make things easier for our working parents,” said Kim Jones, people experience leader at PwC, in a previous report. “It’s a challenging time; many of our employees are overseeing their children’s education while working from home.”
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Employees could also take advantage of reduced schedules, a compressed workweek, sabbatical leave and backup care reimbursement. Fenlon says the company understood that employees without children could have caregiving responsibilities too; these employees also had access to flexible schedules and care reimbursement benefits.
PwC invested in making traditional benefits, like healthcare and wellness programs, digitally accessible. Fenlon says PwC also continued making contributions to their employees’ student loans during the pandemic, even though federal borrowers received a year-long grace period.
“We know being under house-arrest can take a toll,” Fenlon says. “That’s why we’ve been investing in our employees’ well-being and digital upskilling. And we’re planning to continue investing in their financial futures.”
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