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When EY executive Kelly Grier saw the video of George Floyd being murdered, her heart sank. And she acted from that raw place to rally her company.
Kelly, U.S. Chair and Managing Partner and Americas Managing Partner for EY, didn’t wait to write a speech or test her messaging.
She simply recorded a video message to the 80,000 or so employees she leads at the professional services firm, letting them know how much Floyd’s brutal death had shaken her, and that EY was committed to fighting racism and taking meaningful action.
“It was jarring to my soul,” she recalls. “I flipped my camera on and I just started speaking.”
Kelly’s willingness to speak from the heart, and the wider way she and EY’s leadership have supported employees amid the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and RACISM-20, were featured in the July 10th editionof the Great Place to Work® Better Together webinar series.
Great Place to Work CEO Michael C. Bush interviewed Kelly and shared two key strategies for companies to turn this time of crisis into an opportunity to build a high-trust, fully inclusive and high-performing culture.
Michael and Kelly also discussed Great Place to Work research on how organizations can thrive across the current recession. Michael noted that data from the Great Recession of 2007-2009 shows that companies with consistently inclusive, high-trust cultures outperformed peers.
In particular, organizations in which historically marginalized groups such as women, people of color and hourly male workers had a positive experience demonstrated roughly four times the performance of the stock market overall before, during and after the Great Recession.
Michael highlighted two critical employee experiences for succeeding in difficult times:
In both these areas, Michael noted, EY has earned exceptional marks from its employees on Great Place to Work’s Trust Index™ survey:
That sense of care has been critical amid COVID-19, Michael said. The pandemic has threatened not only people’s physical health, but their emotional well-being as well. As a result, mental health support has become a vital business imperative.
“Good companies have found a way to adjust and realize that to take care of their people is the best way to take care of their customers and get on the other side of the experience,” Michael said. “The companies that didn’t do it are struggling.”
EY’s care for employees amid COVID-19 has included:
Kelly and her team also provided a significant measure of job security to ease financial worries in an uncertain environment.
“One of the things that we felt was really important to take that anxiety off the table was to commit that we were going to take absolutely no actions whatsoever with regard to separating people, even performance-based,” said Kelly. “We committed that to the end of our fiscal year, which ended June 30th.”
Thousands of emails expressing appreciation poured in from EY employees.The job-security announcement “was a big relief,” Kelly recalls. “It was palpable.”
EY’s response to the racial justice uprising has been no less bold. It began with Kelly’s video message, and it has expanded to include a variety of actions and commitments:
Kelly said employees have overwhelmingly supported this multi-pronged response to racial inequality.
“Our people want to get involved,” Kelly said. They are saying to leaders: “Help me understand how I can contribute, both at EY and outside of EY, using our platform.”
One way Kelly herself feels called to contribute in this challenging moment is as a source of hope.
Just as she expressed her heartbreak at George Floyd’s death, she has worked to provide a heartening message that EY and humanity overall will get to the other side of today’s crises.
She noted that many EY employees haven’t had the experience of weathering a recession as a working adult before. And in her view, the societal reckoning on race these past several weeks has been more promising than earlier conversations about equality.
“I think it’s different,” Kelly said. “Being able to convey some optimism, some hope, in a very dark world is important.”
ABOUT OUR METHOLOGY
To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.
ABOUT OUR METHOLOGY
The Best Workplaces in Asia List
Great Place to Work® identifies the top organizations that create great workplaces in the Asian and Middle Eastern regions with the publication of the annual Best Workplaces in Asia list. The list recognizes companies in three size categories:
To be considered for inclusion, companies must appear on one or more of our national lists in the region, which includes Greater China (covering China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau), India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and UAE. For the 2021 Asia List, companies ranked on the national list in the Philippines will also be included. Multinational organizations must meet the following requirements:
Multinationals also receive additional credit for their efforts to successfully create an excellent workplace culture in multiple countries in the region. The data used in the calculation of the regional list comes from national lists published in 2019 and early 2020.