At PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Unique People Experience (UPE) was created to reduce turnover, maximize the productivity of the firm’s staff, and increase the value for PwC’s clients. The initiative is a philosophical approach to developing talent: Instead of treating everyone the same, the firm has customized its approach to fit the diversity of its people and create a culture of inclusion.
The first step is understanding those different needs, which is why each of the 28,000 staff is assigned a partner/leader who is charged with getting to know him or her professionally and personally, including those aspects such as race, gender, and work-life issues that can affect experiences with the firm. These conversations continue in other professional forums such as diversity leadership conferences and through PwC’s Minority, GLBT, and Women’s Networking Circles.
The second major component of UPE is redesigning the work model to a more team-based approach. In Client Portfolio Teams (CPT), groups of partners serve a portfolio of clients and share responsibility for developing and retaining staff. This new structure was created to improve quality, reduce administrative burdens, and decrease the workload of client professionals. CPT has altered the way work gets done, resulting in greater satisfaction and lower turnover rates.
All PwC partners and staff are held accountable for UPE through an evaluation process that assesses contributions in the areas of people, quality, and profitable growth. As a main strategic area of focus, People results are critically important. Semiannual surveys track satisfaction rates, and leaders are responsible for improving scores within their businesses or geographies.
The firm’s efforts have paid-off: From 2001 to 2006, women’s representation at the partner level increased 30 percent, from 12 to 16 percent, and voluntary turnover for client service staff has decreased from 24 percent to 16 percent.