Ernst & Young

Helping workers achieve balance at home and work

When Beatrice Fernandez talks with friends about her workplace, she finds herself bragging -- not so much about the benefits package, which she says is on par with those of many other large firms. Instead, she boasts about something that for many companies is often more talk than reality: flexibility.

"I can work anywhere, anyplace," says Fernandez, a 10-year veteran at Secaucus, N.J.-based Ernst & Young, one of the auditing industry's Big Four. "I can be at my niece's softball game and have the tools to access the office if something comes up." Her friends' reaction, she says, is, "Wow, we don't have that."

Support for flexibility comes right from the top, with the executive board ensuring that managers promote it among employees, says Fernandez, director of technology enablement services. "We believe our technology needs cannot be met if IT professionals' lives don't work," says Renee Sussman, assistant director of technology communications and learning.

Another emphasis is inclusiveness, and according to Fernandez, E&Y succeeds in driving it into the culture.

"There's always been a push for diversity, but with inclusion, there's a difference," she says. "You can meet the quotas, but that doesn't mean you're including people with other cultures and lifestyles in the thought leadership of the firm." The topic of inclusion comes up in every meeting and often in the company's daily newsletter.

Fernandez says she's found her place at E&Y. "It's the whole package that's made the difference to me," she says. "I don't see myself going anywhere else."

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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