Ian Powell, Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers

PricewaterhouseCoopers were ranked among the Top 25 best large companies to work for in the Sunday Times Top 100 2014 survey. PwC staff said that Chairman and senior partner Ian Powell, who has been the head of the company since 2008, inspires people (70%) with his efforts to “do the right thing for our clients, our people and our communities.” Ian’s staff also said that, as well as following the company vision, Ian “always makes time to talk, and he walks the talk.”

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Ian’s top engagement tips

  • Engaged staff = satisfied customers: ‘It surprised us how linear that relationship is between our people engagement and our client engagement… We’ve analysed it in every way we can. The proof is there, that we are a better business when our people are well engaged.’
  • Keep the message simple: ‘We try to keep our overall ambition as simple to communicate as possible… The more people that you’re trying to influence, the simpler the message has got to be.’
  • Values matter: ‘Our vision is about one firm, that does the right thing for its clients, its people and its communities… Our people want to know that the values of the organisation and what is expected of them makes a good, positive contribution.’
  • Be clear about what you expect: ‘I say to our people all the time, every interaction that you have with each other or with anybody outside the firm has got to be on the basis of our behavioural statement because that is what people experience of PwC.’
  • Give your managers the tools: ‘If you expect your leadership team to communicate on a consistent basis… you’ve got to make it easier for them by giving them the communication tools that they feel comfortable in presenting.’
  • Practise what you preach: ‘I saw a great quote from another chief executive that said: ‘Every day I communicate the behaviours that I expect in the organisation, and sometimes I even use words”
  • Be yourself: ‘Every single person in our business is encouraged to communicate with me at any time… It isn’t always me. This responsibility is shared between our senior team and middle managers in order to encourage an environment where conversations take place.’
  • Keep your team informed: ‘In a modern leader, I think it is entirely appropriate that you be yourself and understand that people are watching you all the time. They’re not looking for perfection, they want authenticity and accessibility.’
  • Make your comms two way: ‘People always talk about a cascade. Cascade only goes one way. It’s far more important for it to come the other way.’
  • People want to be engaged on a personal level: ‘If you talk about the organisation, that is something that really resonates. An organisation like PwC is about building trust and solving important problems. People can engage with that at a personal level.’