Webinar Takeaways: EY Best of Both Worlds Webinar

8 minutes read
By Lauren Hansen, Marketing Manager Africa, Top Employers Institute
The Top Employers Webinar: EY Best of Both Worlds was hosted on 27 August 2020 – below are some of the key takeaways from the webinar. To watch the full webinar, fill in the adjacent form.

The webinar was presented by Top Employers Institute’s Regional Manager for Africa, Billy Elliott, and HR Leaders from EY, Jabulile Kubheka, Talent leader Africa, Jenny Greyling, Talent Development & Total Rewards Leader Africa and Jane Onobhayedo, Talent Cluster Leader Africa.

The content presented was aligned to learning from our past experiences and the mindset shift that has already happened in our present to reimagine our future working world. EY Talent Leaders shared their employee experience journey to reimagine the “best of both worlds” and focused on specific examples and initiatives in leadership and skills development.

Key Webinar Takeaways

Top Employer Institute: Opening address

Billy Elliott, Regional Manager for Africa at Top Employers Institute, set the scene by reflecting on some of Top Employer Institute’s research findings from the 2020 Certification Programme.

Four key factors driving employee self-development:
1. The role of managers as career coaches: Managers need to be trained and acquire the necessary skills to act as career advisors, helping team members make development decisions for themselves based on a deep understanding of the business, professional threats and skills needed for the future. 95% of Top Employers agree that their executive management has a role to play in driving change towards an employee development culture, this is up by 6% in comparison to 2019.

2. Flexible conversations around development, not just performance: A second area where Top Employers are encouraging self-development is in the performance management space. Instead of positioning performance management as an occasion where managers judge their team members, 79% of Top Employers globally are now turning it into a development tool where employees and managers can have meaningful formal and informal conversations at regular intervals throughout the year.

3. Communicating transparently with employees: Amid all the changes affecting leading organisations worldwide, Top Employers know they have to offer their employees clear guidance and transparency.

4. New learning methods and a focus on soft skills: Soft skills, or people skills, have become more relevant in today’s labour market. For example, when considering candidates for management positions, leading organisations realise that not everyone is good at managing people. 100% of Top Employers worldwide have soft skill learning programmes in place for their employees.


Jabulile Kubheka, Talent leader Africa for EY spoke about Shifting our mindset in extraordinary times.

EY were able to move more than 5 500 people to work 100% remotely with little preparation time. The results were better than could have ever been anticipated with full adoption of virtual working.

This is what they have learned:

• They don’t have to be seated next to each other to get work done
• They can engage with clients as successfully working virtually as from an office
• They can work successfully without travelling as much
• Training can be delivered as successfully virtually
• Their technology is robust and they have adapted to using virtual meetings

How they achieved this? They focused on 3 things:

• The safety and well-being of their people which entailed amongst others that they had an employee assistance programme in all countries that can be accessed virtually by their people. They mobilised virtual fitness classes, launched an Africa Mindfulness Network, and ensured that their own HR individuals were empowered with knowledge and were equipped to fill their own world.

• The second thing was to focus on work-life balance. This entailed COVID sick leave made available in the event of a positive diagnosis. They also enforced virtual office closures to ensure people take regular breaks.

• And the last key focus was unlocking the exceptional EY experience through virtual working. This entailed remote working benefits in the form of office furniture for purchase that they subsidised for employees in South Africa. This was to set up proper home offices to ensure their well-being and effective productivity. They ensured that learning programmes are available on virtual platforms across the region. And lastly, created virtual recognition programmes.

With the end game in mind, what does the Future look like?
• Embracing agility and flexibility in the way we work, evaluating our people on outcomes not visibility
• Have a contemporary approach to work, thinking of offices as hubs, places we ‘touch down’ now and again, not places we all go to everyday
• Prioritise ‘virtual’ solutions not ‘face to face’ ones, across all we do: resourcing, meetings, connecting, training

Contemporary approach to work

• As we transform and simplify our business, we are rethinking workplace and culture. A big aspect of that is re-imagining our space based on increased virtual working and leveraging technology. We see the office as part of a network of a variety of locations that provide working environments and experiences that enable an outstanding client service delivery whilst demonstrating our commitment to our people’s success and enhance the connection to our brand, our culture and our values.
• We are creating Employee Centered Experiences. We strongly believe that a seamless employee journey will empower our client servers and our functional professionals to deliver in their roles and create maximum impact in the market.
• Core to a successful transformation and long term value will be sustainable behavioural change, role modelled by the Leadership and focusing on valuing Employee Outcomes independently from where they are generated.

Jenny Greyling, Talent Development & Total Rewards Leader Africa for EY showcased their leadership and skills development principles.
Jenny identified a new set of behaviours that have emerged that are critical for us to thrive in this transformative age:
• The leadership basics matter, but they are not enough for today
• Some of the basics matter more than ever, however, they need to be reconsidered for today’s work environments
• And we have got to bring some new behaviours to stay smart and human in the transformative age

What they found to be really important is the mindset and the behaviours of their people. It is about transformative leaders in their business, this includes every person within the organisation. Transformative Leaders are grounded by a growth mindset, always asking “how can I be better?”. There are two kinds of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. When you have a fixed mindset, you believe you are limited in your potential, you believe your basic abilities, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits. When you have a growth mindset, you believe your abilities and intelligence can be developed with effort, learning, and persistence.

Why EY invest in reskilling their people?

EY have been investing in reskilling their people to be prepared for the Transformative Age, so that they can have meaningful client conversations now about the impact of technology, and deliver the services their clients need now, next and beyond.

EY designed the EY Badges as a global programme to meet the need to upskill their people. This was launched globally in 2018 and they now have over 60,000 badges awarded and over 100,000 in progress. There are 4 levels of learning badges: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The Badges are earned through both learning and applying that learning through experiences. The badges are in 3 domains – leadership, business and technology and the domains cover not only the technology skillset needed for the future but also the leadership mindset needed to succeed.

In July of this year, they launched the EY Tech MBA which is a world-first for any organisation. The Tech MBA is accredited by Hult International Business School and is built off the EY Badges programme.

Joining the webinar from Lagos Nigeria was Jane Onobhayedo, Talent Cluster Leader Africa for EY. Jane took the audience the EY inclusive culture and how they build that.


The new EY employee value proposition states – It's yours to build. It is support by creating opportunities for their people to thrive in an environment and culture which will fuel their next wave ambition.

Their approach to bring this to life is to thread a possible Transformative Leadership continuum of experiences throughout the talent lifecycle to support their people to create transformative leadership habits.

The journey starts through the EY recruitment experiences before joining the firm through attraction and selection campaigns. Once you join, the EY onboarding approach will continue that experience to reinforce IT’S YOURS TO BUILD.

The journey moves through to people's career, development and performance experiences and further opportunities are possible using their ‘better me’ ‘better us’ ethos. Learning experiences are designed to develop transformative leadership habits and reinforce the behaviours.

Their approach outlines a possible continuum of experiences to create a visual representation of how their people can develop transformative leadership habits.

Jabulile Kubheka ended off the session by saying that person has their personal purpose, their source of personal and professional fulfilment, which we are more open to discover through a growth-mindset. EY have a strong purpose – their aspirational reason why they exist is Building a better working world. What is most powerful to EY is when employees see the connection between their personal purpose, their work and the company’s overall goals – that means understanding how they contribute to Building a better working world in a personally meaningful way so they are motivated to work effectively and enthusiastically.

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Webinar Takeaways: EY Best of Both Worlds Webinar