Confronting Nation's Racial Turmoil is Business Imperative

PwC’s new U.S. chairman launched company-wide discussion on race, buoyed by his desire to comfort employees and in the process bolster engagement, recruitment.


By Eve Tahmincioglu

Tim Ryan spoke to his employees via Snapchat

Tim Ryan, appointed PwC’s U.S. chairman on July 1, realized his workforce was hurting and decided to take action.

In the aftermath of two videos of Black men being killed by police, and the murders of five police officers in Dallas earlier this month, Ryan sent an email to 45,000 employees acknowledging the turmoil the eventssparked across the country.

He ended up getting hundreds of responses from employees with a recurring theme: even though many were saddened and feeling overwhelmed by what was happening, few felt they could discuss the events, or issues regarding race, with managers or coworkers.

“It became clear that our people needed a forum to talk,” he said, and he decided to call for all the firm’s offices domestically to hold discussions on race on July 21, including diversity forums on Snapchat and Twitter.

It also became clear to Ryan that taking on these issues was a business imperative because such tragedies can impact employee engagement and the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce.

Ease Employee Baggage

Employees, he said, face a host of issues, such as caring for sick parents or pregnancy, and organizations try to address those in order to help employees be the most productive and engaged. However, “people are uncomfortable talking about race in the workplace. But many of our people were thinking of this in their heads,” he said about recent events.

Addressing the issues and talking to colleagues about what isweighing on their heartsisa…

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