PwC unites employees virtually to share their skills for good

Stéphanie Grawehr December 15, 2020

In this article

What was the activity? Which organisations were supported? What were the highlights of the activity? Feedback from the nonprofits? Tips to organise a productive and inspiring activity:

Every year, PwC Switzerland organises a team building activity for its interns – typically done in person. Due to the pandemic, they weren’t able to physically meet and build those all-important bonds for this promising group of talents, who are usually spread out across their 14 offices.

Given the circumstances, Lisa Udet, Senior Talent Programme Expert at PwC Switzerland, turned to Alaya for a special edition of the Intern Day. With Alaya and 5 nonprofit partners, we organised an online brainstorming session to share their interns’ skills for good.

What was the activity?

An online brainstorming session is a hackathon-like team building activity, where a group of colleagues come together to work on a specific challenge or opportunity that a nonprofit faces. For example, expanding their finance strategy, or preparing a business plan to expand their donor base.

Over half a day, participants and facilitators came together in a virtual meeting room to build teams and do good. After a round of introductions from PwC’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, Jasmin Khalifa, and Delphine Andreae, Alaya Nonprofit Relations Manager, the group was split into sub-teams per nonprofit. Then it was over to the participants to use their brain power to come up with solutions in 2 hours. At the end, all teams came together to present their findings to the nonprofits and each other.

PwC virtual employee teambuilding

Which organisations were supported?

  1. Brain Project Africa: contribute medical expertise toward a strong healthcare ecosystem on the African continent through expert care and a willingness to bring standardized medical practices to rural and underserved communities.
  2. Cansearch: supports and develops medical research projects on cancer and blood illnesses in children.
  3. IRHA (The International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance): promote rainwater harvesting as an effective and sustainable solution in the face of water shortages, and to prevent natural hazards including floods and droughts from weakening the resilience of communities and the ecosystems upon which they depend.
  4. Lotus for Laos: offer young Laotians from 3 orphanages the opportunity to shape their own sustainable future, by improving educational opportunities.
  5. Plan International Switzerland: to advance children’s rights and equality for girls in various parts of the world. Our programs create the conditions for adolescent girls and young adults to be protected, educated and empowered.

What were the highlights of the activity?

Participants loved the interaction and getting to know other interns from other PwC offices (who would otherwise never have met!), the discussions and working on concrete projects. The ideas that came out in 1.5-2 hours, were really impressive and useful. You could also clearly see the evolution in the energy and dynamics of the groups. Many of the participants hadn’t met each other before. At first, it was a little bit awkward, but after just 15 minutes and the energy changed completely as participants were immersed in the challenge: it was a dynamic discussion.

PwC virtual employee teambuilding

Feedback from the nonprofits?

“Overall, it was really interesting to get outsiders’ ideas. I believe that with these kinds of events, people not engaged in the nonprofit world may have a better understanding of the challenges we face.” – Brain Project Africa

“A big thank you for organising this brainstorming activities with a fantastic team. We were impressed by the participants’ professionalism and appreciated their commitment and creativity. We hope that this collaboration can continue in the longer term and we will keep in touch with them with great pleasure.” – Cansearch

Tips to organise a productive and inspiring activity:

  1. Think about the skills and profiles of your employees.
  2. Think about causes that you want to support, that make sense with your company’s purpose or employees’ passions.
  3. Inform participants about the projects in advance so they can best prepare.
  4. Make sure to split the group into smaller teams (we recommend up to 4 people) so that you don’t have too many people, so everyone can get involved and share their ideas.
  5. Get people excited with some goodies from the nonprofits you’re working during the event. Also works as a thank you gift!
  6. Leave enough time for Q&A and improvisation, or even a virtual coffee break to foster connection among participants. These spontaneous moments can lead to insights and bonding!
  7. On the technical side, make sure to test your tool, try it with a few people 1 week before the event.
  8. Encourage your employees to get involved in the longer term with the nonprofit, connect them with the NPOs. For example, to support them year-round with other projects.
  9. Ask nonprofit organisations to share feedback about the implementation of the projects.

Congratulations to the participants and nonprofits on this collaboration!

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