4 minute read 5 Jul 2018
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How EY people built a better working world in 2017

By EY Global

Ernst & Young Global Ltd.

4 minute read 5 Jul 2018

Meet the finalists from Better begins with you 2017.

The finalists below are building a better working world every day. Discover their stories.

ReachOut One Click Away team

Half of Australians will experience mental health issues at some point in their lives, and 75% of them will experience their first episode before they reach 25. Yet the majority of these young people go undiagnosed and untreated.

How can data help us reach those who can’t reach out?

Founded in 1998, ReachOut.com is the country’s leading online mental health resource. It provides young people who are unable or unwilling to seek traditional care information on relevant topics and the opportunity to chat anonymously with their peers.

For the past four years, the cross-competency EY Advisory team in Australia has worked with ReachOut.com to raise awareness and inform public debate on mental health support services and the cost of mental health issues to Australian society, through reports targeted at governments and potential partners.

This year, however, the team focused on examining the pathways individuals are using when they interact with the online digital self-help site for mental health and measuring its effectiveness. The resulting report, One Click Away, was based on in-depth analysis of data from the organization’s 20-year history.

It found that the site’s online communities helped visitors to understand their conditions and the care available to them, bridging an important gap in the mental health system at less than a hundredth of the cost of seeking professional care. Ninety-seven percent of the site’s visitors felt that ReachOut.com was a safe and supportive community, and more than 70% reported feeling better and less alone as a result of using the service.

ReachOut.com hopes the findings and analysis of One Click Away will lead to increased funding and a widespread integration of online resources as an effective part of effective mental health care, helping to increase the site’s reach beyond the 1.3 million people a year who currently use it.

Strategy and Transactions Cares team

In India, poor children often face many obstacles to education. On top of pressure to work from a young age to help provide for their families, they often lack the proper identification to enroll in school.

When is investing in a child investing in a community?

The Strategy and Transactions Cares team in India contacted local village leaders in impoverished communities to discuss the development of a school outside the formal system, so children could attend without cost or paperwork.

Parents are often reluctant to send their children to school, especially their girls, out of fear for their safety and the loss of a household provider. To navigate these concerns, the team went household to household with the village leaders to convince the parents of the importance of education, not just for boys, but for the girls, too. In six months, they created two schools with around 225 students and 15 teachers.

The five team members play an integral role managing administration, sourcing funds and materials, orchestrating curriculums and extracurricular activities, hiring teachers and even teaching English in the schools on weekends.

The schools teach traditional subjects alongside what they call “social studies,” including hygiene, discipline, day-to-day counseling and life coaching. The children learn to understand and manage the world around them and learn the skills to integrate into a world that has largely shut them out. They are then able to return home and share these valuable lessons and skills with the rest of their family.

The Strategy and Transactions Cares team hopes to expand the schools to provide for children up to grade 8. They also are instituting digital learning tools, like a computer lab, to modernize the children’s education, give them access to limitless information and better prepare them for the world.

Web companion team

For many older people, digital technology can be scary, confusing and overwhelming. But, as technology becomes an increasingly essential aspect of everyday life, a lack of digital literacy leaves these people at risk of being left behind by the world around them.

How do you bring a generation back in touch?

Jan Czichos, an EY Executive Director in Munich, experienced this personally, as his parents’ refusal to use a computer was leaving them disconnected from Jan, his wife and daughter. Together with people in his personal network, he developed an easy-to-use interface for tablet PCs that would simplify the digital experience for people like his parents. When he shared this personal project at an EY leadership meeting, his colleagues loved the idea and saw the potential for an even greater impact.

They developed a course for the elderly called Webgefährte@EY (Web companion) that focused on the most valuable, entertaining and engaging ways to use technology, like video chat, shopping, and emailing friends and family.

The three courses they’ve run so far have received great feedback. Their fourth course is being held in cooperation with a local high school, where 16–17-year-olds will support the EY team in instructing the elderly participants, bridging the gap between often distant generations.

The team’s courses have already helped dozens of people, and the program continues to grow. The biggest impact for Jan, however, has been much simpler. He can now open his email to see a new message from “Mom.”

Digital transformation team

EY has been working with one of the largest producers of steel in the Americas for more than a decade, particularly in terms of implementing new technology, and in the last few years, the company has grown significantly.

How could a steel plant be constructed on a cloud?

The client approached the EY Advisory team to ask what experience we had with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology — a digital, inventory management system — and whether it could be implemented at the company.

The EY team found that there would be significant challenges in implementing RFID in a steel manufacturer. The large, powerful machinery found in the client’s manufacturing plants, as well as the steel material it produces, interferes with RFID tags’ ability to communicate with each other. Plus, the sheer size of the company meant the team’s solution needed to be scalable across a global network of plants, warehouses and transportation.

For the pilot project, the team worked with a specialized vendor and carried out extensive field testing. They developed electromagnetic solutions that mitigated the interference problems. Once the tags were ready, EY team members spent their time on the factory floor, helping managers install the equipment at times that wouldn’t disrupt day-to-day work.

Two years after the client’s initial request, the pilot project was successfully implemented. It digitized part of one large warehouse, making its data accessible at any time, from anywhere. Due to the success of the pilot implementation, the client is looking to roll out the project to other sites, and eventually to other countries.

The project also won first prize at the Global RFID Awards in the Supply Chain/Logistics category, earning recognition as the world’s best RFID solution stream across any industry.

Dominic Parewijck

Financial services firms face the challenge of an evolving marketplace, where agile start-up competitors are developing and using new technology to meet changing customer needs.

How can you disrupt the disruptors?

In order to address this situation for a particular client, Dominic Parewijck, part of the EY Financial Services Organization (FSO) team in Amsterdam, created a workflow tool that allows hundreds of people working on complex projects to collaborate remotely, automate core processes and centralize key objectives.

The client had been trying to develop its own product by partnering with a small software vendor, but Dominic’s solution was developed so quickly and effectively that it was introduced during its prototype phase. This led to other work for the client and Dominic created a portfolio of workflow tools that can be continually optimized, adapted and improved.

His innovative approach to his work saw him also host a hackathon event, where software developers turned some of the technology ideas of EY advisors into working prototypes within 24 hours. Not only were the prototypes successful, but many of the developers were hired by EY as a result.

Dominic, who first joined EY as a contract worker over six years ago, now leads a team of developers for EY. The team provides customized solutions for FSO clients across the world, which help them to stay ahead of their competitors. His inspirational story is an example of how EY is utilizing an integrated workforce of employees and contractors to meet important business needs.

EY Sphere team

The EY Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services (FIDS) team helps our global clients better understand the complexity and rules of engagement before making business decisions in markets around the world.

How can an app be the gateway to global services and collaboration?

With support of software developers, the team created EY Sphere, an app-based platform to interactively connect with EY client-serving professionals, allowing access to a variety of service offerings. The platform also includes daily internet-sourced, EY-curated, geo-referenced news incidents and thought leadership across all sectors to address critical information needs.

The team continuously develops EY Sphere to become an integrated mobile platform driving innovation and providing a single point of contact to our clients.

Along with monitoring capabilities around various compliance-related topics, the app has lean project management functionalities for team members to collaborate across the globe. Accessible from every location and across time zones, EY Sphere helps you to stay up-to-date while on-the-go. The platform delivers relevant documentation and reporting to steer projects, streamline communication and keep multiple stakeholders aligned and informed on the work progress.

EY Sphere has already been called a differentiator unlike anything that’s come before it by the clients who use it. The app has saved both the clients and their FIDS consultants valuable time, and made global projects a lot more manageable. As a result, it has greatly increased what the FIDS team can offer their clients, both current and prospective. The team is also now looking across the EY network, to see how other service-line offerings can be integrated into the app.

Restructuring team for a global e-commerce company

In August 2016, a global e-commerce giant hired EY to assist with a major internal restructuring program that spanned multiple business units and regions.

When is ‘who’ more important than ‘how’?

The Strategy and Transactions team in San Francisco saw an opportunity to go above and beyond what other advisors on the program could offer by bringing together a connected and highly responsive global, cross-service-line team.

As part of their overall strategy for the restructuring, they broke the program down into a series of smaller, synchronized local tasks, assigning people around the globe to work with their counterparts at the company.

Diverse teams of EY people with the chemistry and commitment to client success, and the right mix of skills, were carefully assembled for each location so that they could immerse themselves in the client’s culture to drive focus and execution. Regular touch points and interaction among the multiple teams allowed them to globally coordinate central goals and expectations and eliminate geographic barriers.

The first wave of the restructuring was deemed a seamless success by the client, who complimented EY’s ability to organize and drive results across functions, business units and geographies. Moreover, their passion to make the client’s goal their own goal for measuring success was felt by the client.

As a result of the team’s efforts, the client increased the scope of the project and made EY the lead, and sole, consultant for the rest of the transformation.

By having the right people in the right place at the right time, the EY team established itself as a trusted advisor to a pioneer in the global e-commerce sector and provided exceptional client service.

Australian pharmacy quality audit program team

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Quality Care Pharmacy Program (QCPP) manages quality assurance for community pharmacies in Australia, with nearly 95% of those pharmacies accredited.

How do you standardize extraordinary care?

The Guild asked EY to lead a nationwide quality management audit project for more than 5,500 community pharmacies eligible for accreditation. The audits cover all aspects of pharmacy operations, including human resources, financial management and pharmacy services, such as prescriptions and access to vaccinations, maintenance of premises and equipment, advertising and marketing.

The project is led by a cross-service-line team of professionals from CCaSS, PPM, Assurance, Tax and Health Strategy. They will conduct, resolve and project-manage more than 5,200 audits across Australia over a two-year period. The team creates efficiencies by working with EY Global Delivery Services and contingent workers, and it has implemented automated digital solutions to decrease costs and free up team members to focus on client service.

The team leveraged EY’s pharmacy and quality management knowledge to develop a risk-based, outcomes-focused audit questionnaire and to conduct auditor training. They worked with market research organization EY Sweeney to create a tablet-based checklist from the questionnaire and a web-based data capture tool. The tablet checklist reduces disruption to pharmacies during the audits and allows auditors to analyze pharmacy responses in real time. The data capture tool automates the development of audit reports and facilitates the efficient communication and resolution of quality improvement actions to the pharmacies and the Guild.

The team uses geo-clustering to plan the audit schedule, which capitalizes on efficiencies that reduce the overall costs of the program. They also consult an Expert Advisory Committee of pharmacy specialists to help them review their processes and proactively respond to developments in the community pharmacies.

The team’s attention to detail has paid off. They have become valued partners to the Guild and recently won a four-year contract extension. They’ve also gained the trust of the community pharmacies, as demonstrated by the 95% satisfaction rating on the most recent customer survey, and they are supporting the quality provision of therapeutic goods and services across Australia.

Poland healthcare report team

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was the third most common cause of death globally in 2012. In Poland, about 2 million people suffer from the chronic and debilitating disease, out of which 33% receive constant pharmacological treatment.

How can macroeconomics help a nation breathe more easily?

A pharmaceutical company developed a special inhaler for COPD patients that alleviates the symptoms of the disease at a cost of 50 euros per month. However, without government assistance, it was too costly for many patients.

The client commissioned EY to produce a report that examined the impact of COPD on the Polish economy. A cross-service-line team sent a powerful message to the country’s government regulators, by looking beyond the 100 million euros a year of direct medical costs associated with COPD to the much larger deficit left by the millions of people who are unable to effectively work and contribute to the nation’s GDP.

They worked with market researchers to conduct a survey of 400 patients and gather data on how their lives have been affected by COPD. They also interviewed professors, medical experts and health care professionals to verify the report’s information and testify to the disease’s impact.

The aim of the market research was to illustrate the effect of the disease in a more emotional and relatable way. The arguments presented in the report were referred to as the main points of discussion at a number of health care events. The report strongly supported the qualification process and helped to convince the government to subsidize more than two-thirds of the drug’s cost, making it much more affordable for patients at 15 euros per month, and bringing relief to many of Poland’s COPD sufferers.

EY Allies in South Africa team

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) movement in South Africa has a complicated history. Following the end of apartheid, South Africa appeared to become a beacon of progress, enacting the world’s first constitution to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and becoming the first — and still, only — African nation to legalize same-sex marriage. But despite these progressive landmarks, LGBT South Africans continue to face social stigma, extreme homophobic violence and high rates of HIV/AIDS.

How can one action be the wave that changes the tide?

In May 2016, EY Allies was founded in support of LGBT rights and issues to make the EY experience exceptional for LGBT professionals. Many of the group’s members suffered discrimination during the apartheid era and refuse to stand by as a new generation of hatred is inflicted on the LGBT community.

In just a short amount of time, they’ve already made a tremendous impact in the EY member firm office in South Africa, promoting the extension of maternity, paternity or adoption leave and benefit rights for same-sex couples.

Part of their mission of inclusiveness is taking a public stand for the LGBT community. Supported by family and friends, they took to the streets to participate in the 2016 Johannesburg Pride Parade, wearing black “I ‘Heart’ EY” T-shirts with rainbow-colored hearts. EY Allies was the only corporate participant at the parade.

The group has now grown to include more than 70 Allies, each committed to building support in the community for LGBT rights and causes. They now want to make an impact in African countries like Kenya, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, where the situation is even more challenging for the LGBT community than in South Africa.

Luke Soon

With a background in math and data analytics, Luke Soon first came to EY with a curiosity for deeper insights into customer experience. Now, as the leader of the Asean customer experience team, he instills that same curiosity in his team members.

How do you test the formula for happiness?

Luke has assembled an international, diverse team of professionals in experience design, analytics, finance and strategy who share his philosophy — that to simply answer a client’s request is inadequate. He encourages them to continually look for better questions to ask and new challenges to address.

He confirms that team members have plenty of exposure to clients, no matter what their level and uses his own extensive client network to ensure that his team is leveraging the knowledge found across our organization.

This approach has led to some great results for the team’s media and telecommunications clients. One such solution, called the “retail simulator,” helps his clients better understand the impact of their decisions by examining how “left-brained,” statistics-based analysis impacts “right-brained,” emotional responses and the elasticity of the customer experience. It compiles customer data that allows the user to gain insights that help assess the impact to the customer of, for example, a retailer closing a particular store.

One of the most important aspects of the simulator is the “X-calculator,” which creates a metric for understanding customer experience, assigning objective values to subjective experiences like queue times, shopping enjoyment and call center response. It allows professionals across many different departments to communicate a standardized, uniform language. To date, the X-calculator has identified millions of US dollars in experience improvement opportunities across several operators in Southeast Asia.

Luke is an eternal optimist who cares deeply about the work he, and his team, does at EY and supports his colleagues throughout proposals, projects and in their personal lives. By challenging and engaging his people, Luke is not only making their EY experience better, but also the experience of our clients.


EY Better begins with you global finalists are tapping personal passions to improve their communities and help clients succeed.

About this article

By EY Global

Ernst & Young Global Ltd.