Sue McPartlin’s recruiting the best of the best at PwC Cincinnati & retaining a multi-generational workforce

Retain your talent

Within most companies today, workforces are very diverse and expect different things from their employers. No longer does a one-size-fits-all solution keep people happy.

“Our expectation from our people is adaptability and flexibility on their side, but also on the PwC side, and not treating everyone exactly the same,” McPartlin says.

With workforces becoming more unique than ever before, companies have to get creative to retain talent and offer things others don’t, or do a better job offering similar things. PwC focuses on training and development of its employees.

“We offer a lot to our employees in terms of formal training and development,” she says. “Our folks consistently tell us that they think our learning and development is very strong in helping them prepare to do their work. We also offer on-the-job training.”

PwC also puts emphasis on working in team environments, no matter what the work is or in what department.

“You’re always learning from somebody who is a bit more experienced than you,” she says. “Our team members get a variety of clients, which keeps things interesting and they can learn from people with different experiences than they have.

“When we ask people about what they like best about the firm and what keeps them here, they consistently say the people and the ability to team with people and learn from them. That’s one of the key drivers in terms of retention.”

Aside from teamwork, flexibility is another aspect of today’s work environment that younger generations expect to have. Work/life balance plays a bigger role today than it ever has.

“I don’t like the term work/life balance because that implies that it’s always in balance,” McPartlin says. “I view it as scale. Sometimes work takes precedent and sometimes life takes precedent.

“Don’t just focus on that one day that you had to work a lot and didn’t get to spend as much time at home as you wanted. You have to look at flexibility from the bigger picture.”

In a workforce like PwC’s, not everyone is looking for the same things.

“It’s not so much that millennials want different things in a job versus non-millennials, but rather rank those needs in different degrees of importance,” she says. “We’re recognizing that we need to change and adapt to these things.”

Provide opportunity

Everyone probably can agree on, no matter what generation they’re in, that having different opportunities provided to you is important and desired.

“With a firm of our size and the variety of things that we do from a client service perspective, as well as a lot of the things we need to do to run the firm from an internal perspective, there’s a lot of opportunities out there,” McPartlin says. “I’ve had folks who are on the assurance staff, but move into marketing and sales, and then come back to assurance. Some folks move permanently into those roles because they were able to try something different.”

The other point McPartlin and PwC emphasize to employees is encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones.

“They have to know that the leadership and the partner group will support them in doing that,” she says. “When most people have any angst about moving on to a different role or department, they want to know they’ll be supported.”

The third thing that builds goodwill with employees is making sure they are offered opportunities even if they don’t take them.

“That lets them know that you think highly enough of them that you want to offer them that next role and next opportunity. That’s really important,” she says.