Employee health as a key ingredient for success

Our people’s health is a precondition for our success as a firm. Their expertise, sense of excellence and innovation, and service orientation give us the leading edge in a fast-moving and highly-competitive business environment. To be able to solve the important problems of our clients and build trust in society through the services we provide (see ‘Why we exist’), our teams need to be of good mental health. Moreover, a healthy workplace culture is instrumental in attracting talents. Without this, the economic sustainability of our firm is at risk.

As such, it is a priority for PwC to create a working environment in which the health of our workforce is protected, and where individuals who suffer from health problems are supported.

Reviewing the way we do business for a healthier workplace culture

Due to the nature of our business, our people’s health is mainly determined by mental wellbeing factors (rather than physical ones): working-time flexibility, autonomy, work-life-balance, recognition for work, opportunities for development, leadership effectiveness, and team interaction, to name a few.

To measure the health level of our entire workforce, we use a Wellbeing Index (WBI). It is built from 30 health and wellbeing-relevant questions from our yearly Global People Survey (GPS; see ‘Employee Journey’ for more information). We use the WBI as a baseline to measure our progress regarding the health of our workforce. Moreover, as it gathers first-hand wellbeing feedback from our people, it is a crucial information source for us to design appropriate actions.

Based on the WBI results of previous years, we put in place a variety of actions to improve the wellbeing of our people, such as remote working schemes (see ‘Employee Journey’), improved coaching and feedback tools (see ‘Employee Journey’), and internal training sessions around stress management and burnout prevention.

This year, 60% of our people are satisfied with how they experience well-being at PwC Luxembourg. This represents a slight deterioration compared to the previous two years. Our people see room for improvement particularly in the following areas:

  • Feedback and coaching;

  • Work time flexibility;

  • Transparency of information shared by leaders;

  • Support of career coaches and team leaders in the wellbeing dimension; and

  • The caring aspect within teams.

Despite the actions taken by us, the WBI has decreased. This suggests that there is a gap between the needs of our people and the solutions we have put in place. To be able to address our wellbeing challenges more effectively, we are planning to look at the WBI results per line of service, together with our respective leaders. That way, we hope to identify wellbeing issues specific to our audit, advisory, tax and corporate service practices and be able to develop more tailored solutions.

Burnout as an ultimate indicator that the health of our people is at risk 

Discussing mental health, and especially burnout, in the corporate context is slowly becoming less stigmatised. This is also due to the fact that the topic is valid in the whole Luxembourgish business community: 30% of the country's workforce suffer from psychological pressures at work.

For PwC Luxembourg, burnout is the ultimate indication that the health of our people is at risk. We set ourselves the target of ‘Zero Burnout’ in 2016 and have been working closely with the Luxembourgish Association Pour la Santé au Travail du Secteur Financier (ASTF) in order to achieve it. Their role is to advise employers in the field of work-related health and wellbeing and to offer medical support to employees who suffer from psychological conditions, including burnout.


"I would like to highlight the close collaboration between PwC's HR department and the ASTF. Without the mutual trust that we built through the years, we would not be able to progress. PwC's employees need to know that a full confidentiality is guaranteed on all levels - from the part of our occupational physicians towards your HR department, and from your HR department to the PwC hierarchy."

Patrizia Thiry, Executive Director of ASTF

Dr. Patrizia Thiry, General Director - ASTF Luxembourg

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Burnout at PwC Luxembourg

Listen to what Dr. Patrizia Thiry, Executive Director of ASTF, has to say about how we are managing burnout risks at PwC Luxembourg.

As our long-standing partner in health matters, ASTF helps us raise awareness among our people regarding psychological pressures at work and how they can deal with it. We regularly invite ASTF psychologists to give mental health trainings in our premises, giving our people the opportunity to talk to them.

Furthermore, ASTF is supporting us by providing a yearly health statistics report to better understand the risk factors for health and wellbeing in our firm and to measure the progress of our work. The four main psychosocial risk factors causing burnout at PwC have been identified to be: 

(1) Workload; 

(2) Low level of autonomy and control; 

(3) Lack of financial or social recognition; and

(4) Toxic management.

The recommendation of Dr. Patrizia Thiry is to work on all of these factors by empowering our people, managing our level of excellence and having zero tolerance towards 'toxic management' (i.e. disrespectful management styles). In order to reduce these underlying risk factors, we are working to review the way we do business. 

Our performance

Zero burnout is our declared target. To measure ourselves against this goal, we take as a baseline the number of burnout cases of PwC Luxembourg employees diagnosed by the ASTF. Based on the burnout figure of the FY 2019, there is a decrease in declared burnouts this year.

We commit to further reviewing the way we do business to ensure our everyday working culture is as healthy as possible. We have also already started to put in place concrete measures to achieve our zero burnout target. For instance, with the appointment of the ‘Ethic Counsellors’ (see ‘Legitimacy and Ethics’ for further detail), to whom our people can talk informally when facing difficult situations, we hope to help tackle toxic management in our firm. However, we are aware that introducing this systemic change takes time. In the meantime, we will also start improving the way we deal with people who come back to work after a burnout leave. Our approach of reintegrating them into the PwC working life still leaves room for improvement.

This material references Disclosures 102-44, 102-46, 102-47, 103-1, 103-2, 103-3 and 403-2.

Contact us

Lieven Lambrecht

Managing Director, Head of Human Ressources, PwC Luxembourg

Tel: +352 49 48 48 1

Fabien Hautier

Tax Partner, Wellbeing Leader, PwC Luxembourg

Tel: +352 49 48 48 3004