Julie Wood, Chief People Officer of Crowe Horwath, admits that the firm has had some dips in morale over the last few years, but says “morale again appears to be trending in the right direction, thanks in part to the people engagement action plan we implemented earlier this year,” she says.
The action plan focused on three main areas—helping our people connect with the firm’s strategy and vision, find career fulfillment and feel valued.” The plan includes across-the-board base pay adjustments, a renewed commitment to an annual bonus plan and an expanded firm-paid holiday schedule.
Crowe Horwath also launched a People Advisory Council and CEO Advisory Council as a means to directly connect our people to firm leaders and give them a voice in conversations about firm strategic decisions, Wood says.
These initiatives, coupled with an aggressive quality-control effort to ensure an overall exceptional client experience, is what sets Crowe Horwath apart from competitors, Wood says.
“We believe in collecting ongoing feedback from our clients, and annually since 2002, we have used an independent research firm to survey our clients and help us understand how we can improve our service,” Wood says. “Over the years, our clients have continued to give us high marks. As our specific strengths, they cite that we provide access to our partners and people who put forth extra effort.”
These efforts, Wood says, have helped lead the firm to new heights. They also helped land Crowe Horwath (formerly Crowe Chizek) its first appearance on Consulting
’s Best Firms to Work For list.
“Making the Best Firms list is a great honor for our people and a credit to their dedicated service to our clients and each other,” she says. “For our consulting practice and for Crowe as a whole, making the Best Firms list is a tremendous achievement, as we’ll be able to use this recognition to recruit new talent to our team.”
Recruits are one thing, but another part of the effort includes telling the rest of world just how far the firm has come. Over the next year, Wood’s top priority is to continue building brand awareness around Crowe. However, Wood insists she’ll stay vigilant about what makes Crowe such a special place to work—its people.
“We’ll remain focused on improving our employee morale by implementing activities around the people engagement action plan we rolled out earlier this year.” Q&AOn the Best Firms to Work For survey, Crowe Horwath scored highest in the areas of Culture, Client Engagement and Work/Life Balance.
Consulting asked Julie Wood, Chief People Officer, why the firm excelled in these areas. Her response follows.Culture
“In the past year, we’ve continued to make investments and launch initiatives related to creating a rewarding culture full of opportunities for our people. We promote a culture of coaching and learning, supported by our shift to a new firm-wide performance management process this spring. We also provide leadership growth and development opportunities by supporting professional certifications and continuing professional education, encouraging volunteer involvement within professional
associations and community organizations and creating internal networking opportunities.” Client Engagement
“These elements of our culture are closely intertwined with our client engagement success. When you combine them with other initiatives around gathering ongoing feedback from our clients and providing an overall exceptional client experience, it’s not surprising that we’ve excelled in the area of client engagement. Our people come to the table with the technical skills, thought leadership and service-orientation that clients are looking for, thanks in part to our focus on training, coaching and leadership development.” Work/Life Balance
“While our clients’ engagement is very important to us, the engagement of our people is equally as important. That’s why we continue to invest in and promote work/life balance as an important part of our culture. We offer extra monetary compensation in the form of overnight travel rewards and special perks for people who frequently are on the road.”—J.K.