Posted: August 13, 2012

2012 Best Companies, large: No. 3 PricewaterhouseCoopers

Eric Peterson

www.pwc.com

"The people here make PricewaterhouseCoopers a great place to work," says Suzanne Vanderhart, PwC’s Rockies HR Leader. "They’re passionate about providing client service and building relationships."

Big Three consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) didn’t get to its lofty position without fostering a comfortable workplace. The company, which provides expertise in the fields of assurance, tax, human resources, transactions, performance improvement and crisis management, has more than 35,000 employees in the U.S. in all, including about 325 in Colorado.

Above all, Vanderhart thinks the co-worker and customer relationships of those employees are the bedrock of the company’s success. "People have to feel they have good relationships," she says. "They’re key here."

Then there are the fun perks. Every year, promotions are celebrated as part of an office-wide outing at the end of the fiscal year. In 2011, the whole crew of 300-plus employees went to a Rockies game. This year, they went to Elitch Gardens. "It was great," Vanderhart says. This year, PwC celebrated 40 internal promotions, about one out of eight employees at the Denver office.

The company’s full circle allows parents to take up to five years off. "They still stay connected to the firm," Vanderhart says. "We keep them in the loop." Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) have also proved popular, she adds. "We’re getting away from having people working from their desks from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Everybody has stuff in their lives they need to deal with."

Also, staffers can easily juggle their schedules if that "stuff" proves to need tending to during business hours. In other words: If you need to drive your kid to Little League at 3 p.m., go ahead. Make up the time next week. "It’s not an official program," she adds. "Flexibility is built into what we do."

The company’s "We Recognize Great Performance Program" is a unified incentive program that gathered award plans under one umbrella. "It recognizes people’s great performance with monetary awards," Vanderhart says. "It’s a timely recognition of high performance for people who go above and beyond."

2011 RANK: No. 3

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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