PwC’s journey to become better workplace pays off with top workplace award

Written on Jun 12, 2019

By Abigail Draper, OSCPA communication and engagement manager

“How do we get the next generation of CPAs and professional advisors able to work with us for the next 100 years?”

That is the question Michael Petrecca, CPA, office managing partner at PwC Columbus, frequently asks himself. He thinks the answer revolves around his organization’s push for work-life balance, flexibility, volunteerism and diversity.

Mike_Petrecca“We try to manage people through all facets of life,” Petrecca said. “We don’t want to be dictatorial and say, ‘You have to do x, y and z,’ but we want to manage things from a ‘be well, work well’ initiative.”

Petrecca said he references the movie City Slickers, in which the character Curly talks about finding the one thing most important to you.

“We try to look at what that one thing is,” Petrecca said. “Your career is up there, but it probably shouldn’t be the number-one thing, so we try to manage the things going on in your life and attempt to get your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual centralized.”

PwC Columbus’ prioritization for employee work-life balance led to their award in May as the #15 midsize organization by Columbus CEO magazine.

“I think we’ve probably won it every year they’ve had it,” Petrecca said. “We’ve moved in and out of the top 10 a couple of times, but we’re still very happy with 15.”

The Top Workplace award is determined by anonymous surveys sent out to employees about their satisfaction at work.

PwC conducts a “Global People Survey” survey internally every year to look at what their staff and partners think of their work environment, as well as the strategy of the firm.

“That gives you one thing to think about,” he said. “But when you’re having a third party – who isn’t familiar with our firm surveying our workforce and then comparing it others in the community of like size – giving us the award, it is all that more fulfilling. It says that what we are trying to do as a firm...is being looked at favorably on a local level and…it makes me feel like we’re doing the right thing.”

The firm also has a “Great Place to Work” committee that is spear-headed by staff members from each department. The committee plans events such as the month of giving in October, for which they volunteer for United Way and raise money for their PwC (People who Care) fund. This fund “invests in emerging solutions to society’s greatest challenges in education and humanitarianism.”

The committee’s goal is to try to create a more cohesive group in the 250-person practice. As accountants, many team members are spending time with clients and not at the office.

“So, how do we have a group of people that knows how to work well together, that can communicate with one another both inside and outside of the office,” Petrecca said. To accomplish this, the committee plans things like Clippers baseball games and happy hours.

Petrecca said PwC has changed its flexibility policy over the years.

“Technology is now a helper, so we look at how we can work with technology to work with different facets of our employees’ lives. Where you may need to spend your time closer to home due to personal reasons, we try to use technology as an enabler.”

PwC has also promoted diversity initiatives and groups.

“[We are] leveraging the power of those differences within our organization and creating a work environment that is more inclusive.”

Petrecca describes PwC’s initiatives to create a better workplace as a “journey” to manage staff and working relationships.

“We needed to make sure this is a place where people wanted to work, we wanted to get the best and the brightest to work with our clients...we needed to make it someplace you really want to be.”

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