As Country Managing Partner at EY in Switzerland, Stefan Rösch-Rütsche leads the Swiss practice with more than 2,300 employees. Stefan is passionate about building diverse teams, supporting inclusive growth, empowering employees and activating the full potential of EY in order to collectively deliver the best client experience possible. Especially now during these uncertain and challenging times.
Watch an extract from the interview
How is it for you working in the “new normal”?
I could never have imagined how intense it would be working from home. The most important learning from this new way of working is the increased need to communicate with our people. We have been committed throughout to open, honest and transparent communication in terms of where we stand and the measures we are taking to protect the health of our people, the careers of our talent, and the sustainability of our practice. I believe this has helped make our partners and employees feel more comfortable. In terms of clients, we have enabled discussions through platforms and best practice groups where clients can exchange experiences and ask questions. It is all about helping navigate through this crisis and solidarity is therefore key. And staying close, although we are physically apart.
How are EYs clients being affected?
The impact is fundamentally different from industry to industry, client to client. Life Sciences clients in general have been doing well, while the travel and leisure industry, as an example, has been hit hard. The needs of our clients depend on their business activities. During the acute crisis phase, efforts were naturally focused on the immediate crisis response – health and wellbeing of employees, liquidity planning and financial stability. Now, the dialogue is shifting to future-proofing the business, therefore, the conversations are turning to more strategic projects – future operating models, supply chains of the future, further digitalization of activities.
It is in these times of uncertainty where you really get to know your people.
For you as a Country Managing Partner, what stood out the most?
It is in these times of uncertainty where you really get to know your people. As an organization, we have been able to stand together and navigate this crisis. We have worked together across teams, service lines, sectors, and competencies. This is a very significant learning experience. For all the tragedy of this crisis, the team experience has been incredible. It has been a rewarding experience for me to help leading our practice in Switzerland through these times. I much hope that we will be able to take all the valuable insights with us into the next phase.
Looking ahead, how do you expect the next few months to develop?
We are expecting a cold summer. Hopefully, activities will start to recover in fall, provided there is no second wave and provided that the virus does not mutate. I do not think that we will go back to the old normal, to how we did business even in the recent past. I am confident that we will be able to combine the best experiences and lessons from this crisis with the good ways of doing business of the past. I expect we will rethink the way we use our office space – using office space more as a hub for meetings with teams and clients. We will also adapt our learning and development programs into virtual programs, the way we approach business development, how we interact with clients, and how we run core business functions.
Where do you see EY in two years?
When I look back at the 2008 financial crisis, at the time we reinvented ourselves and we invested. I believe this is a recommendable approach in today’s uncertain times as well. Preparing for the future demands of our business means investing into our talent, and investing into our own technology transformation. Becoming even more data and technology driven is a key pillar of our global strategy. With the right investments, we will be well placed to serve the needs of our clients.
Finally, what would be your three key takeaways to prepare for what’s next in the “new normal”?
1. Stay healthy – take a conservative approach to avoid a second wave and prioritize health and wellbeing for everybody.
2. Be agile – develop capabilities that allow you to respond to various situations without specific scenarios.
3. Invest into the future – take a forward-looking approach and invest into talent and technology.
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