In 2014, PwC Switzerland launched its ‘Energy to grow your own way’ program that covers the areas of Activity, Attitude, Rest and Nutrition. After writing two articles of my own about energy thieves and energy sources, I asked the Head of Human Capital at PwC Switzerland about their program to increase the energy levels of employees. The most interesting fact I learned is that the program has had an impact on the behavior of employees that goes beyond the activities on offer.
Claudia Kraaz: What were the reasons for launching this initiative?
Michaela Christian Gartmann: We asked ourselves what we could do to set our company apart from other employers even more clearly and what is needed to ensure the continued development of our employees. They are at the center of PwC – they are our most important success factor. In all areas of life, we need to have energy and power to do the things that count. We can only do our best at work, for our clients and in our free time – and combine these different priorities – when we are full of energy. With our ‘Energy to grow your own way’ program, we want to address this very point in a practical way. By integrating activities from the four areas into our daily lives, we can have a positive impact on our energy levels. Each individual employee is, of course, free to decide whether they want to take part, which is why all the activities are voluntary.
Activities prove very popular
Could you give us one or two examples of the activities you offer your employees in each area?
The four areas now encompass a wide range of activities and offerings, which are very popular:
Our personal attitude can either create or ‘consume’ energy. We offer our employees a wide range of information and training opportunities and promote an energy-rich environment with various activities that have a positive impact on our attitudes. They include training courses about time management, self-organization, prioritization and delegation, as well as leadership. The gradual redesign and optimization of our workplace concept is another area.
Exercise gives us energy! We not only encourage our employees to climb the stairs: We offer them discounted subscriptions to fitness centers and have gym facilities at some of our office locations where employees can participate in Pilates, yoga, boot camp sessions or other sports courses. We also regularly invite experts to talk about these activities, e.g. our event about ‘The power of an efficient running technique’ was very interesting.
What we eat and when influences our energy levels. We are not nutritional experts but we regularly invite specialists with different philosophies about nutrition to talk to employees. In a lecture entitled ‘Boost energy with nutrition’, for example, we were able to learn how to feel more energetic, focused and motivated in everyday life through a proper diet. Our employee restaurants offer balanced meals, we have water dispensers in our offices, and we provide free tea, coffee and healthy snacks in our coffee rooms.
Rest is another key factor determining how much energy we have. Regular breaks and sleep can work wonders – and not only for our concentration! We therefore have a rest room where employees can take power naps. To help employees switch off from work and enjoy themselves, we offer discounts at Ticket Corner and run regular after-work parties.
Program influences other areas
How have employees responded to ‘Energy to grow your own way’? How strong is the take-up of the individual activities and what changes have you noticed among employees since the start of the program?
We are always receiving positive feedback from employees. We are very pleased about this and we are seeking to continuously develop the program. Our events tend to get booked up very quickly since we work on the principle of ‘first come, first served’. This shows us that we are addressing topics that are relevant to our employees. Since the launch of ‘Energy to grow your own way’, we have also noticed a much greater interest in our sports infrastructure, equipment and offers. More and more of our employees are engaging in sports on a daily basis. We also had to increase the number of bicycle racks outside our offices, for example, because our employees are increasingly cycling to work.
Generally speaking, we are seeing greater interest in a healthy lifestyle among our employees and they are increasingly thinking about their energy balance. On the one hand, this reflects a current trend. On the other hand, we are convinced that we can inspire employees through our program and that the various steps that can be integrated into everyday life in a very practical way have an impact.
Strengthening ‘energy expertise’ as part of our culture
How long will this program run? Are changes or additions planned?
‘Energy to grow your own way’ is an important part of our cultural program and we invest a great deal in it. We are currently working on new energy ideas. We will also better coordinate the various cultural initiatives. That is the only way to develop our desired culture. We will remain committed to our goal of creating an energy-rich environment and strengthening our employees’ ‘energy expertise’ in the future!
Michaela Christian Gartmann (aged 44) rejoined the Human Capital team at PwC Switzerland in August 2008 and has been Head of Human Capital since December 2012. She previously worked for GE Money Bank. Michaela Christian Gartmann holds a Master in Human Resources Management and Services from Zurich University of Applied Sciences as well as a CAS in Change Management and Organizational Development from the Institute for Applied Psychology.
For those who missed my two articles on energy thieves and energy sources here are the links: energy thieves: https://www.stressandbalance.ch/en/2017/12/05/what-are-your-energy-thieves/ and energy sources: https://www.stressandbalance.ch/en/2018/01/16/what-gives-you-energy/.
© Claudia Kraaz