EY offers flexible working to support work-life balance and business performance

Steve Varley

Employee Benefits Live 2016: EY promotes flexible working among its employees in order to support a high-performance culture and a diverse workforce.

Addressing delegates in his keynote speech at Olympia National, London, Steve Varley, UK chairman and managing partner at EY, spoke about why a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture is a key part of the organisation’s competitive advantage.

With 15,000 UK employees, ranging from graduate trainees to trained auditors, EY promotes a culture that attracts and retains key talent, while offering employees a working environment to help them thrive and deliver an outstanding service to its clients.

Varley said: “Our purpose as a firm is to build a better working world.”

A key part of this aspiration is supporting employees’ work-life balance with a flexible working programme. Key to this is an open and candid conversation about how, when and where an individual would want to work, and how this could balance with the needs of teams and clients.

Varley said: “Once we have recruited our people, how do we ensure that we are able to fulfil their career aspirations and offer working arrangements that will help support them throughout the different stages of their careers with us?

“We refuse to let people be forced out of a career because we couldn’t be flexible enough to accommodate their situation. Our underlying philosophy is that if we are able to get the best out of our people, by accommodating their needs, then the organisation as well as the individual benefits.”

Alongside the flexible working programme, EY introduced more shared parental leave that offers its employees greater flexibility and choice over how their children are cared for in the first year of their life; for example, it offers 39 weeks enhanced pay.

Varley said: “We hope that this will empower parents to make choices about childcare that suit their own individual circumstances and hopefully they will not have to make sacrifices in their working lives and careers.”

He added: “We believe it creates greater equality for fathers, adoptive parents and same-sex couples; giving our people greater control over their work and home lives helps us to create a high-performance culture.”

EY also offers career and family coaching to all parents taking or returning from parental leave, as well as support through its parents network, one of 50 employee networks in the organisation.