Auditors: one size does not fit all
It is a common misconception that auditors are all similar in their needs. One size does not fit all, and never will.
As a global EY organization with a broad framework that applies worldwide, each locality is addressed with sensitivity and awareness of cultural differences to create the right approaches. For example, in the UK and Australia a successful strategy has been implemented to help people look after their vitality, which brings more flexibility and remote working options for them.
The EY organization has challenged assumptions about where, when and how work gets done, while maintaining a clear focus on the results we want to achieve together. This is one of the ways to be agile and responsive to the diverse needs of EY professionals and all stakeholders.
The importance of flexible working conditions
Whether working flexibly helps people balance family demands so that they can do the school drop-off or be at home for dinner, compete at an Olympic Games (which has been an experience for far more EY people than you might think) or volunteer for local community projects, they know they have the support to use flexible working to help them achieve the best outcomes between their work and personal lives every day.
In Hong Kong the idea of working from home is not so attractive, as a consequence of the city’s makeup and restricted residential space. It is therefore important that policies are applied that reflect the distinct cultural and local factors that contribute to employee vitality. In Japan, as another example, a pilot is currently being tested where emails cannot be sent after 10:00 p.m. local time, which ensures a respite for people in a culture that is known for long working hours.
It is imperative for an organization to recognize that changing expectations need to be met with the right response. Teams are addressing the challenges of encouraging and facilitating flexible and remote working in an historically desk-driven culture by bringing partners even closer to the workforce. This helps professionals understand they support all kinds of flexibility, and empowers them to ask for it. This requires commitment to a culture where not everybody is expected to stay until leadership has left.
The digital deluge
Today’s culture can head in the direction of over-consumption and digital deluge. People are battling with the fear of missing out socially. With a 24-hour working culture, the distinction between personal and working hours can start to blur. To combat this issue, the EY organization helped build an understanding of the benefits of well-being for both mental and physical health.
A team of US Assurance professionals from across the country gathered to take a comprehensive look at how EY teams can enhance programs, build skills focused on finding the right work-life balance and identify tools that can be used to preserve well-being. The profession is changing and evolving rapidly, providing a unique opportunity to make sure vitality is embedded in new ways of working. It is important for people to feel they can disconnect and recharge, and the EY organization respects and encourages their need to do so.
Vitality is crucial to preserving the future of the auditing profession. It is critical that we build an environment and foster a culture that enables vitality and empowers the auditor of the future. There is no time to lose – it is essential that we all prioritize this conversation and collectively drive change.
This article was first published in Accountancy Age.