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Jenny Mathias, newly appointed Chief Talent Officer of EY Switzerland, faces a challenge similar to many companies – retaining and recruiting talent in a competitive market.
Jenny, you are the talent leader for EY Switzerland since July 2023. What topics are currently moving you?
In today’s evolving workplace, flexibility has become more than just a desirable perk – it is now a critical and fundamental cornerstone to our employee value proposition. And it goes well beyond where we work – at home or in the office – it’s about providing flexibility in when we work, how we work, the experiences we have and what and how we continue teaching and upskilling our workforce.
How do you do that especially in terms of client-facing work?
It is a challenge to break the longstanding misconception that flexibility is not compatible with client facing roles. To shift traditional mindsets, we have used storytelling to show how employees manage working flexibly with high perfor- mance and consistent client satisfaction. This has created awareness, understanding and support among our leaders. Transparency about flexible working arrangements is paramount for a trusted client relationship. Most clients are supportive and appreciate the role modeling effect it has for their own teams. After all, they are experiencing the same challenges and are focused on promoting and encouraging flexibility.
What does the offer of flexible work look like in concrete terms at EY?
We offer part-time work, job sharing, flex-time and hybrid-working. Our employees have flexibility in arranging their working time during the week and have the option to purchase additional leave. We also have additional benefits for working parents.
Does EY benefit as an employer from giving the employees more flexibility?
Yes! There are only benefits for everyone – happy and engaged employees, increased productivity, reduced costs and innovative, high-quality solutions for our clients. Jenny, you are part of the senior management at EY, a mother of two small children and you like to be outdoors and play soccer.
How does flexibility look like for you personally?
A career in a professional services firm is not without its challenges. We do often work under intense deadlines and client and talent topics that come up might sometimes be unpredictable. This coupled with the fact that I have two small kids makes time management a challenge. What inspires me and what helps navigate some of these challenges and applying flexibility is the people – professionally I am surrounded by incredible employees and teams where we cover for each other and work together. Personally, I am surrounded by an incredible husband that is also flexible and supportive when client or talent demands come at short notice. In the end for me it is about being organized and recognizing that flexibility is also a two way street.
This is my personal set-up, but I know that there are countless variations. In my position, I want to empower every person, to find a good balance for a fulfilled life, so that everyone can contribute at their best in their professional and private lives.
About Jenny Mathias
US Certified Public Accountant, UK Chartered Accountant, American- born Jenny Mathias is an Audit Partner at EY Switzerland with over 15 years of experience providing professional assurance services to both public and private organizations in Switzerland and the US across a variety of industries. Jenny is a purpose-driven leader, mentor, and mother of two children, with a passion for people, the outdoors and soccer.
Jenny is appearing as a speaker at the Forbes Women’s Summit on 2 November in Switzerland.