PwC’s Yolanda Seals-Coffield on Personalizing the People Experience
The world is changing at an unprecedented pace. There's been a fundamental shift in the relationship between employees and employers, and companies can’t compete on compensation and benefits alone.
At the i4cp 2023 Next Practices Now Conference (March 27 – 30, 2023), Yolanda Seals-Coffield, PwC US Chief People Officer, will discuss how and why the firm is reimagining its people experience, putting personalization and technology at the heart of its three-year transformation and vision for the future of work.
We had a chance to sit down with Yolanda in advance of her session.
Our research has shown, and we know you’re in agreement, that companies can’t compete on compensation and benefits alone. What is PwC prioritizing to address this reality?
That’s right, I couldn’t agree more. Expectations and mindsets about where, when and how we work have changed, enabled by technology and accelerated by the pandemic. As the world continues to change, we know our employees can thrive when their daily experience matches what they value. That’s why we launched My+ - our biggest and boldest reimagination of our people experience - which is changing the way we work, focused on using technology to personalize careers at PwC, all while keeping our clients’ needs at the center. We’re working toward a future where there is increased emphasis on growth and development, rewards and benefits are customized, well-being is further stitched into our daily experiences, and there is flexibility to support our people as their lives and needs shift over time.
Many organizations are investing heavily in the employee experience. How do you make that experience more personalized from end-to-end? Where do you start?
Our people are the heartbeat of our firm, and building a more personalized employee experience starts with them. We listened to them to understand what they need today, but to also help us envision what they might need one, two or three years from now. When we embarked on the journey to change our people experience, the nation was in the midst of a pandemic, faced with a declining full-time workforce and lower college enrollment. Today, employees are wanting more flexibility and support for well-being from their employers. We know we have to change to meet the evolving needs of our employees, so we can ultimately drive the growth of the firm and deliver for our clients.
Technology plays a key role in a personalized employee experience—what does the relationship between the HR and Technology teams look like?
We’re focused on building a human-powered and tech-enabled organization, so our people experience and technology teams are closely intertwined. What’s been important to that relationship in particular is that they each inform and empower one another. It’s a two-way street built on collaboration and communication. Technology is at the core of our My+ people strategy and we’ve launched a number of tools to support a personalized employee experience, including a simplified, tech-enabled, personalized learning platform to enable more transparent access to skill development and varied career opportunities for our people. We’ve also rolled out new vacation tools to make it easier to plan and take uninterrupted time off. Additionally, we are planning to launch a new, integrated, tech-enabled talent marketplace that connects the needs of our business with our people’s goals, interests and skills. It will guide our people throughout their career at the firm by seamlessly integrating how they track their skills development, how they create personalized learning plans and how they explore and apply for open opportunities.
PwC has been a leader when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. How do those efforts factor into or inform your employee experience transformation, and vice versa?
We have a longstanding history focused on cultivating a culture of belonging and inclusivity at our firm. The multitude of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives across our PwC community are part of what enables us to find new solutions to important problems, so it’s essential that we foster an environment that enables our employees to find success and purpose. That’s why our transformation will encompass everything from growth and development, to rewards and benefits, to well-being and flexibility - all to support our employees’ different responsibilities, needs and ambitions.
What does the future of work look like to you?
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that change is constant. When I think about the future of work, I have no doubt that things will continue to change but I envision a future where we have the fundamental flexibility to adjust to and take advantage of those ongoing shifts. For me personally and for PwC as a firm, that agility is built upon the tech-enabled personalization that we’re building and ingraining with our My+ people experience. Whether it’s demand for new skills, a shift in the ways we work or some other unprecedented change in the world, the future we’re working towards is one where we are ready to meet those challenges and able to help our employees thrive through it all.
What one recommendation do you have to HR leaders so that they and their organizations don’t get left behind in the years ahead?
I think it’s especially important for human capital leaders to understand their business and what both their organization’s employees and clients need to succeed. That means being aware of the skills and tools that employees need to be effective at their jobs, both today and tomorrow. And equally as important, it means thinking about what they will need to feel fulfilled and satisfied in their careers.