How 3 Best Workplaces™ in Consulting are Caring For Their People Amid COVID-19

 How 3 Best Workplaces™ in Consulting are Caring For Their People Amid COVID-19

Caring Employee Experience Leadership & Management

Photo: Jimmy Etheredge, CEO, North America, Accenture.

The Best Workplaces in Consulting & Professional Services™ are known for helping clients make wise decisions in tough situations. 

No wonder they are leading the way during the COVID-19 crisis.

Best Workplaces in this industry are putting their employees' experience first during the pandemic, even as they guide customers through these tumultuous times.

We reached out to several companies on the 2020 list of the Best Workplaces in Consulting & Professional Services list to ask how they are caring for employees amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Here are responses from three world-class consulting firms:

EY, No. 2 on the list of Best Large Workplaces in Consulting & Professional Services

From Herb Schul, EY Americas Advisory Markets, Sectors, and Solutions Leader:

Today and throughout this crisis, our high-touch communications approach ensures our leadership is staying connected with our teams and answering their questions in a timely manner. 

We are working hard to nurture a sense of community in this virtual environment through coffee breaks or themed team calls by showcasing our new office mates (family and pets). We are exchanging tips for well-being, favorite shows, movies, and recipes, to name a few.

Across the firm, we continue to provide physical, emotional, and financial health and well-being support to our people and their families. For instance, we're offering 24/7 COVID-19 resources through EY Assist, our single-source solution for linking our EY people to consultants or licensed professionals. 

To ensure our people have the tools, resources and equipment to serve our clients as they work from home, we're providing reimbursements for products including monitors, increased Wi-Fi bandwidth and more.

Recognizing that many aspects of employees lives are impacted – such as grocery store shortages and extended closures of schools and daycares – EY has significantly increased the resources and benefits available to support our people and their families. These include:

  • Virtual medical visits and resources to support emotional health and resilience.
  • Discounted tutoring and other educational resources
  • Doubling the benefits under child and adult care support programs
  • Drop-in calls and group counseling sessions for employees to connect and share experiences that focus on mindfulness, caregiving, and other topics.

"The drop-in calls have been particularly popular with our people," Herb said. 

One participant in one of EY's mindfulness sessions recently said,"Working for an employer that allows scheduled mindfulness sessions daily (especially during the COVID-19 crisis), to break up the workday, has proved to be invaluable. 

"It allows me to reset and ups my productivity level. As a millennial, this is a highly valued benefit to my workday."

Accenture, No. 8 

From Jimmy Etheredge, CEO, North America, Accenture:

Clear communications have been essential to supporting our people every step of the way. Our 24x7 crisis team helps all of our leaders communicate clearly and consistently changes in our guidance, real-time updates on our offices and how our people can get the help they need.

I quickly established a regular cadence of connection points, anchored by virtual town halls and open office hours with both our leaders and all of our people.   

In this time of great uncertainty, we all have so many questions, and I will continue to lead these discussions until the questions stop coming. Our people have been truly engaged and we're seeing more than twice as many people attending these forums as before the pandemic. 

It is essential for my leadership team and me to tackle every question we receive with transparency—especially the tough ones--which in turn is teaching us to get a lot more comfortable saying, "I don't know."

During this time of stress, Accenture has created an arsenal of tools to help their people thrive. Two stand out:

  • A new internal portal, #MoreTogetherNow with meditation tips, ideas to help recharge, resources for working parents and more. "Our employee engagement is at an all-time high as everyone continues to crave a strong sense of connection as we work through this together,"  Jimmy said. 

  • Working parent Employee Resource Groups (ERGS) have stepped up with new support during these trying times. Accenture's working parent ERG (called "POWER") who in addition to holding its regular webcasts to check in on parents, has created a virtual "Kids Corner" that offers virtual babysitting for Accenture kids. Kids Corner play session includes a dance party, drawing and story-time. 

Deloitte, No. 9 

From Melinda Hecht, Talent Engagement Communications Leader at Deloitte:

"Our primary focus has been and remains the safety and well-being of our people and our communities. We have provided our people with many resources to support their mental and physical health and empower their well-being." Some examples include:

  • Updated internal well-being app "WorkWell" with a new "Coping with COVID-19" section that includes articles and videos about managing stress, building resilience, and working remotely. 

  • Several new WorkWell podcast episodes on topics such as managing stress and anxiety, showing empathy, working remotely, and maintaining human connection. 

  • Launched a crowdsourcing site called "Staying Connected" to bring employees together and provide a way for them to share their collective experiences around how they are managing their well-being and work-from-home environments.

  • Converted live well-being learning offerings to virtual, including a mindfulness series and mental health first aid.

  • Deloitte's Chief Well-being Officer and Chief Inclusion Officer participated in numerous virtual fireside chats and town halls with thousands of professionals across Deloitte. Employees can get advice from Deloitte leaders, empowering them to speak openly, strengthen their connections with each other, and further Deloitte's inclusive culture.

How is your company showing up for its people during COVID-19? If your workplace is building trust through the pandemic, we'd love to hear from you. Nominate your company - large or small - for a chance to be featured on one of our upcoming Best Workplaces lists.  

For more HR best practices on navigating COVID-19 and new challenges in the workplace, check out our dedicated resource page.

Ed Frauenheim