EY Invested More Than $500 Million in Over 12 Million Hours of Classroom Learning

"This year, we are also rolling out a new system that enables our people to earn certificates, or 'keys,' for each new skill they learn," writes EY Global Chairman and CEO Mark A. Weinberger.

EY is No. 3 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list


Mark A. Weinberger

Last month, when Tesla eclipsed America's century-old car manufacturers to become the most valuable automaker in the United States, it was a stark reminder of just how fast the world is changing.

Yes, dramatic shifts have always been a part of the business world – but today's companies are contending with a faster pace of change, coming from more places, than ever before. Virtually every industry is vulnerable to disruption, and that means there are a few things that every company should focus on to ensure their long-term success.

The first is building a workforce for the future. As a global firm with more than 250,000 people in over 150 countries, we at EY have seen firsthand how, as the global economy changes, the nature of work is changing along with it. In response, companies that want to attract and retain the best talent need to adapt. At the same time, companies need to make a conscious effort to disrupt themselves in a larger sense – because if you don't, someone else will.

At EY, we are taking on these two challenges – modernizing our workforce and disrupting our business – hand in hand.

Building a Workforce for the Future

For example, we know that the skills our people need to succeed are constantly changing. That's why we are investing more than ever in ongoing training opportunities for our employees. In 2016, EY invested more than $500 million in over 12 million hours of classroom learning for our people – an increase of three million hours from the previous year.

Often, this means putting people through exercises that simulate real business challenges, so they can clearly see how the new skills they acquire apply to the work they're doing – and will do in the future. Notably, this training also comes on top of mentoring, sponsorship, and other professional development opportunities that ensure our people are ready to advance.

This year, we are also rolling out a new system that enables our people to earn certificates, or "keys," for each new skill they learn. For instance, if a person gains valuable experience in data analytics, we recognize this with a "key" that they can add to their qualifications both internally and externally. That way, as people gain additional skills that will be in-demand going forward, they will be able to build their personal brand in a public way. The more keys employees have, the more doors they'll be able to open for themselves.

Creating a Culture of Innovation

At the same, as organizations work to train people for new challenges, it's also important to take action to create a larger culture of innovation. That starts with recruiting talent from new places and people with different backgrounds – the very people who will help us disrupt ourselves from within.

Today, when EY hires new employees, we aren't just looking for traditional skillsets that come to mind when you think about professional services. We're looking for candidates with expertise in areas like statistical analytics, coding, and computer science.

In fact, we expect to hire more graduates with technological and data backgrounds this year than Google will. And once we recruit them, we're increasingly building teams that combine tech people with people who have traditional professional services backgrounds, so they can combine their skillsets to solve evolving challenges in new and innovative ways.

Finally, as part of this culture of innovation, we've created a Global Innovation Team, which has embarked on a worldwide effort to disrupt our organization and adapt for the future. This effort is headed by our Chief Innovation Officer, an experienced Silicon Valley executive, and has the freedom to operate outside our existing structures. They are using that freedom to run a series of pilot projects that operate a lot like internal startups, looking for ways to disrupt some of our core business areas. Our logic is simple: if the world of tax and assurance is going to be disrupted soon, we want to be the ones to do it.

No matter what field you're in, it's steps like these that will enable your organization to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Because ultimately, the only proven response to disruption is innovation. That means not only reacting to what is happening in the world today, but actively preparing for the world of tomorrow – and then working to make it a reality.

(Originally published on LinkedIn)

Middle-market Companies Seizing Growth by Embracing AI, Diverse Talent Pools and Sweeping Regulation Over Next 12 Months

EY survey shows 87% of middle-market companies plan revenue growth of more than 6% this year, significantly outpacing GDP forecasts

Originally Published by EY.

Middle-market companies across the globe are significantly more optimistic about business conditions and opportunities than last year, according to the findings of the annual EY Growth Barometer released at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Forum. Growth prospects for all major economies are finally improving in 2018, with International Monetary Fund GDP forecasts currently at 3.9% for the year. Amid this positive background, business leaders are bullish about revenue growth.

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Regulatory Complexity is the Greatest Barrier to Widespread Blockchain Adoption, While Regulatory Changes are the Primary Driver of Broader Integration, According to EY Poll

Organizations are making an active effort to integrate blockchain into their business functions as they look to reap the benefits of the technology, with 60% expecting the financial/professional services industry to see the most blockchain breakthroughs in the next two years.

Originally Published by EY.

Regulatory complexity is having a significant impact on widespread blockchain adoption, according to an EY poll of senior professionals who attended the EY Global Blockchain Summit in New York. Sixty one percent see regulatory complexity as the biggest barrier to widespread adoption, followed by integration with legacy technology (51%) and a lack of general understanding of blockchain's capabilities (49%).

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Originally Published by National Organization on Disability.

On November 1st, the National Organization on Disability held our Corporate Leadership Council Fall Luncheon and Roundtable. Hosted at Sony's New York offices, the event centered on the topic of mental health in the workplace.

Members of our Board of Directors and executives from nearly 40 companies held a candid conversation, heard from business leaders, and participated in an insightful Q&A where successful strategies were discussed to accommodate and support employees with mental illness in the workplace.

"Mental illness is the single biggest cause of disability worldwide," said Craig Kramer, a panelist at the event and Chair of Johnson & Johnson's Global Campaign on Mental Health. "One out of four people will have a clinically diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives," he continued. Another 20 to 25% of the population will be caregivers to loved ones with a mental illness.

The costs are staggering. "In the coming decades, mental illness will account for more than half of the economic burden of all chronic diseases, more than cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases combined…. It's trillions of dollars," said Kramer.

From an employer's perspective, the need for a successful strategy to deal with mental illness in the workplace is clear. But what are the most effective ways to confront this challenge? Roundtable participants discussed a wide range of ideas and success stories aimed at de-stigmatizing mental health and incorporating the issue into wider conversations around talent, productivity, and inclusion.

6 KEY TAKEAWAYS ON MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE:

  1. Be empathetic. "The most important workplace practice [with respect to mental health] is empathy," said NOD President Carol Glazer. Empathy is critical for normalizing conversations about mental health, but also for maximizing productivity. "A feeling of psychological safety is important," said Lori Golden, a panelist and Abilities Strategy Leader for Ernst & Young; and this sense of safety requires the empathy of colleagues to flourish.
  2. Tell stories. "Nothing is more activating of empathy than for people to share their powerful stories," said Dr. Ronald Copeland, NOD Board member and Senior Vice President of National Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Kaiser Permanente. Copeland's organization partners with the renowned nonprofit, Story Corps, to capture the stories of Kaiser Permanente employees, and also provides a platform on the company intranet for employees to communicate in a safe space. Both Craig Kramer and Lori Golden also shared examples of how their companies provide opportunities to share their stories and "start the conversation, break the silence," as Kramer put it.
  3. Model from the top. Carol Glazer received a standing ovation at the luncheon for her account of her own experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This type of executive-level modeling sends a powerful message that a company is committed to improving mental health for all employees. Lori Golden shared how EY had experienced great success with a program where top-level managers host office-specific events and share stories of mental illness or addiction that they are personally connected to – either about their colleagues or loved ones or, in a surprisingly high number of instances, about themselves. Senior leadership setting the example conveys that this is a forum in which employees can feel comfortable sharing.
  4. Communicate peer-to-peer. "We all know that there's greater trust of our own peers than there is of the organization," said Lori Golden. So to build trust, EY "took it to the grass roots," creating formal opportunities for employees to have conversations about mental health and asking other ERGs to co-sponsor these events. Craig Kramer also noted that Johnson & Johnson had simply folded mental health issues into their global disability ERGs, eventually building the world's second-largest mental health ERG by piggy-backing on existing infrastructure and leveraging existing connections.
  5. Be flexible. Accommodating [the fact that people live busy, complex lives] gets you better buy-in…and keeps production pretty high," suggested Dr. Copeland. A representative from one Council company concurred, explaining how their company has recently instituted a new policy of paid time off for caregivers on top of federally-funded leave. "Being in a culture in which we measure what you produce and not whether you show up in person all day, every day, and where if you can't be there, you negotiate how the deliverables will get done and in what time frame…is immensely helpful to people who themselves have mental illness issues or addiction or are caring for those who do and may need some flexibility," summarized Lori Golden.
  6. Build a trustworthy Employee Action Plan. Many employees do not access or even trust their organization's internal resources. According to Craig Kramer, the percentage of calls placed to most company Employee Action Plans (EAPs) regarding mental health is "in the low single digits," while "if you look at your drug spend, you'll find that around 50% is [related to] mental health." The people answering those calls must be trained in mental health issues, and employees also need to be assured that EAPs are truly confidential.

While revealing and accommodating mental illness remains a massive challenge in the workplace and beyond, a number of successful strategies are emerging for tackling this challenge – many of them pioneered by companies in NOD's Corporate Leadership Council.

EY: Women CEOs’ Growth Ambitions Significantly Outpacing the Market, Despite Their Ongoing Challenges in Accessing Capital

The EY survey, based on views of CEOs from middle-market companies across the globe, showed that this optimism is in line with improving business conditions internationally.

Originally Published by EY.
  • 30% of female-led companies are targeting growth of more than 15% in next 12 months, compared with just 5% among rest of market
  • 52% of women-led companies have no access to external funding, compared to 30% of male-led companies
  • 17% of respondents think that access to capital is the biggest barrier to growth

Despite encountering more obstacles to accessing capital, female-run businesses are targeting more ambitious growth margins than male-led companies, according to the EY survey Is the x chromosome the x factor for business leadership?, unveiled at the EY Entrepreneurial Winning WomenTM Asia-Pacific and Japan conference this week in Tokyo. The survey, based on views of CEOs from middle-market companies across the globe, showed that this optimism is in line with improving business conditions internationally.

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