One of the major developments at PwC in the past couple of years has been the implementation of Enhanced Working Practices (EWP) to help make PwC the distinctive firm in client services as well as develop experiences for all employees. EWP has become more than just terminology and has evolved to become a way of life at PwC. This blog will focus on how PwC uses EWP and how this has helped to develop employee and client satisfaction. First of all, it is important to explain what the EWPs are and how they are used day to day in a work environment. There are five main components to EWP:
1. Rounds: This is a meeting where more junior team members present their perspective on an issue to the team. For example, a new team member could provide their interpretation of a potential issue that has arisen during a year-end audit, including what they think could be a recommended solution. This helps less experienced team members think through issues independently, while getting immediate feedback from their teammates. From my experiences, it is really important to develop this skill and think critically, rather than just waiting for a more experienced staff member to provide a solution.
2. Shadowing: This enhanced working practice involves bringing less experienced staff members to important team and client meetings which they may not otherwise been involved with. I’ve really enjoyed being able to shadow my senior team members as it helps you to learn in a “real life” setting.
3. Observation & Feedback: This helps team members gain immediate feedback on the work they are performing or client interactions. You’ve probably guessed that “observation and feedback” involves one team member observing the other and then providing feedback. I was exposed to this on one of my first engagements when a senior accompanied me to a client meeting. Afterward, we debriefed the meeting which helped me improve my approach to asking questions and made me more comfortable at client meetings.
4. Lessons Learned: This approach brings teams together to share experiences of what worked well and what didn’t. Lessons learned are often used after a client engagement to formally discuss what was done well and what may require some changes in the future. I have had lessons learned meetings on almost all of my engagements and it really helps to improve client service as well as further develop teams.
5. Team Workshop: A team workshop involves presenting a more technical topic to your team so that all members are knowledgeable about that particular topic. These are great to share information and help to ensure that all team members are up to date on all important issues.
PwC helps to encourage the use of EWP by encouraging friendly competition between teams and offering rewards to teams for submitting EWP success stories. In my first year, there was a “EWP winner” each month and that team received prizes such as extra acclaim points or $500 towards a team event. At the end of the year, a national winner was declared. By holding competitions such as this, it helped teams use EWP on a regular basis, and now it has become second nature for most people.
As you can see, the Enhanced Working Practices really help to address key areas of development for teams and individuals, which ultimately results in a better working environment. I’ve noticed that the implementation of EWP on my teams has fostered an environment of growth and development and I look forward to helping all new staff become familiar with EWP this year!