PwC CCO on why the company is paying staffers to take vacation

Comms head J.C. Lapierre was on the leadership team that created the new program.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK: PwC is paying employees $250 each time they take a full week’s vacation over the next year.

Depending upon the success of the program, the company may extend this effort into future years.

PwC’s U.S. chief communications officer J.C. Lapierre was on the 19-member leadership team that created the new program.

On Friday morning, PwC’s U.S. chair and senior partner Timothy Ryan internally shared the news during the monthly company-wide webcast.

“Quite honestly, what is internal is external these days,” said Lapierre, who oversees both internal and external communications. “We believe in transparency and telling our story for people internally and also sharing our story externally, so people know we don’t just talk about our purpose but we also walk our purpose.”

She framed the goal as supporting employees to “bring their best selves to work” to help them solve clients’ problems,

The strategy—particularly, giving cash to take vacations, also resulted in earned media, with coverage in The Wall Street Journal, Accounting Today and The New York Times.

In addition to PR, the accounting firm understands what’s on the books.

In March 2021, Human Resource Executive reported that even before 2020, 55% of American workers were not taking vacation days. One Oxford Economics study reported U.S. companies accrued $224 billion in liability for unused PTO, and “burnout, anxiety, on-the-job injuries, financial worries and other stressors were on the rise.”

Lapierre told PRWeek that PwC U.S. did not lay off people during the pandemic. However, she noted that the company conducts performance evaluations. This could allow for other types of job separations. PwC is a private company, and declined to provide the numbers that compared its pre-pandemic headcount to its current 55,000 employees.

After listening to employees, the team enhanced its perks, said Lapierre. Added benefits include increased salaries and bonuses, plus another one-week pay bonus given in April. The company has discouraged people from scheduling Friday afternoon meetings and calls during the summer. Next month, PwC will open offices, with “opt-in” choices, and plans to transition to hybrid, office-and-remote working in September. The company is also offering more digital training and will introduce a new diversity and inclusion initiative.

The generous perks yielded generous PR, which Lapierre said she hopes can influence the industry.

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