This is the time of year at the firm where everyone gets the chance to sit back and really think about what they’ve achieved so far during their time with the firm and about what they want to achieve professionally over the course of the coming year. Professional development and coaching are a significant part of everyone’s role at PwC and as a means of facilitating these and keeping them a priority on everyone’s plate, we set goals on an annual basis and reflect on our progress of achieving these goals on a regular basis. Now is the time of year that we set goals and since this is what I was doing directly before I starting composing this blog, I figured it be another great topic of discussion.
As you’ve read in several other blogs, everyone at PwC is assigned to a coach from their day-one with the firm. Your coach is the person you speak to about anything from plans for the weekend to how to best go about grabbing any opportunity you hear about at the firm. Your coach acts as a mentor and as such, encourages you to set big (but achievable) goals and then helps you achieve them. Your coach reviews your goals and also follows up with you on a regular basis (i.e. bi-monthly) to see if you’re on the right track to achieving them. This is obviously a great system since, with so many job-related responsibilities on a day-to-day basis, it can be easy to lose track of the bigger picture and that which all of your hard work is supposed to be for. Also, developing these goals gives you the ability to really take advantage of the professional development programs at the firm since integrating your attendance and participation in these programs into your goals pretty well commits you to actually attending and participating because you know your coach will want to hear all about them as he/she checks up on you on that regular basis.
So what kind of professional development programs are there? For starters, the training that you go through when you start with the firm is your first exposure to professional development since the training sessions teach you both the technical and inter-personal skills you will need to perform tasks and work on engagement teams. Subsequent to your new hire training, there are sessions you can register for which focus on further developing your ability to perform a specific element of an engagement such as report writing, negotiating, presenting, etc., etc. These are voluntary courses that firm allows you to take at your discretion and as they apply to you at your particular level (i.e. Associate, Manager, etc.).
Every year, the Consulting & Deals side of the firm runs what is known as “Consulting & Deals University” for three days at the end of August. C&D U is a chance to learn best practices relating to particular skills from senior people who work at the firm and have the experience necessary to teach what they have learned over the years based on the work they’ve done. C&D U is a key element to the firm’s ability to provide high quality work to clients (through training the people that do the work) but it’s also a great opportunity for staff to further develop as professionals irrespective of their roles at PwC. In a nut shell, C&D U lets you learn cool things that while applicable to your job, are also interesting to learn about for general interests’ sake – that’s really the reason why it’s such an effective professional development tool.
Genesis Park is yet another professional development program for selected PwC people. It’s a three-month long conference that serves as a forum for some of the brightest minds across the entire firm (not just within Canada) to get together and learn from each other. Discussions of important firm-related, industry-related and worldwide issues allow PwC people from all over the world to again, learn from each other, and then take these learnings back to their home offices and influence their day-to-day colleagues on an on-going basis.
These are just some of the ways the firm promotes and supports its peoples’ pursuit to become better. Other programs that are run through the PwC Canada Foundation and the Women In Leadership initiatives are also examples which encourage work-life balance as a means of making people more well-rounded. If you’re interested in finding out more about anything mentioned in this posting, feel free to ask me!