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International Journal of Leadership Education

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Proving Leo Durocher Wrong: Driving Work/Life Change at Ernst & Young

IJLE Volume 1 Issue 1:


Author(s): Stewart D. Friedman, Cynthia Thompson, Michelle Carpenter and Dennis Marcel

Describes initiatives at Ernst & Young, LLP (E&Y) in the late 1990?s designed to transform the organization?s culture to make it more supportive of life beyond work in order to attract and retain the best talent. CEO Phil Laskawy led the way, through his personal leadership and frequently stated position that ?people issues? are his top priority. Laskawy created the Office for Retention (OFR) to improve opportunities for women and life balance for all employees. Its director, Deborah Holmes, reported directly to Laskaway. The OFR developed new approaches to addressing life balance challenges. Described here are two such prototypes and their innovative practices (e.g., revising the work week?s structure, discussing work/life considerations with clients, restructuring consultant-client relationships, dialogue about work/life issues in account teams, etc.). Also described is E&Y?s ?Life Balance Matrix,? which leveraged the firm?s approach to knowledge management and information technology to create a dynamic repository for E&Y?s life balance tools.

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