Training Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives (January 2024)

Each year Training magazine requires all Training Hall of Famers to submit an Outstanding Training Initiative that we share with our readers. Here are the details of EY’s Everyday Candor program.



EY set out to shift its culture from “EY Nice”—where it takes longer to convey important, valuable, and uncomfortable truths, inhibiting personal growth, productivity, and job satisfaction—to “EY Candor,” where people share these truths in a way that builds trust, both internally and with clients.

The EY Candor program aims to help EY personnel develop the habits of having more enhanced and candid conversations to accelerate transparency and communication, leading to more dynamic personal development and supporting recruiting, engagement, retention, and productivity.

Program Details

Culture shift begins with individual behavior changes that become habits. Based upon the science of habit change, the EY Learning Research and Development team designed a targeted blended program based upon the four-step framework for building new habits:

  1. Create commitment to change in behavior.
  2. Create clarity about the behavior desired.
  3. Manage obstacles to change.
  4. Build new habits.

The blended program design encourages behavior change through online learning, team meetings, and management support.

  • The 20-minute online learning activity teaches science-based strategies, scenarios, and skill-building activities.
  • In the Candor team meetings, learners discuss challenges and commit to one or two new habits. Team leaders model desired behaviors and habits as they host the meetings. Team members provide each other with social support and accountability.
  • After the initial team meeting, members receive e-mail reminders of the agreed-upon behavioral goals. The team leader establishes a cadence of follow-up check-in meetings to support and expand new habits.
  • Persuasive leadership messaging and role-modeling reinforce the expectation of speaking openly and truthfully.
  • Corporate communications highlight successes to build the culture shift momentum.
  • Expectations of candor were woven into all fiscal year 2021/2022 and subsequent talent development materials.


More than 400 people participated in the pilot in September 2022; the program now is being offered to the entire EY Americas.

Participants completed surveys before beginning online learning and approximately 30 days after participating in the initial Everyday Candor team meeting. Results from the pre- and post-survey data show that after participating in Everyday Candor, learners are:

  1. More frequently sharing candor with others.

Shift in percentage of learners sharing candor with others “Most of the time” or “Always” (points 4 and 5 on a 5-point scale, respectively):

  • Engagement leaders: from 73% before the learning to 79% after (6% increase)
  • Direct managers: from 82% before the learning to 91% after (9% increase)
  • Team members: from 83% before the learning to 91% after (8% increase)
  • Direct reports: from 81% before the learning to 98% after (17% increase)
  1. More frequently receiving candor from others.

Shift in percentage of learners receiving candor from other “Most of the time” or “Always” (points 4 and 5 on a 5-point scale, respectively):

  • Engagement leaders: from 64% before the learning to 75% after (11% increase)
  • Direct managers: from 74% before the learning to 85% after (11% increase)
  • Team members: from 66% before the learning to 75% after (9% increase)
  • Direct reports: from 64% before the learning to 77% after (13% increase)
  1. More confident in their ability to execute EY Candor strategies.

Mean shifts from pre- to post-survey in learner confidence on a 5-point scale (3=somewhat confident, 4=moderately confident, 5=extremely confident):

  • Convey empathy: from 4.26 to 4.42 (.26 increase)
  • Demonstrate fairness: from 4.29 to 4.53 (.24 increase)
  • Manage your emotions: from 3.87 to 4.12 (.25 increase)
  • Say what you mean in a respectful manner: from 3.89 to 4.18 (.29 increase)

EY believes Everyday Candor could increase employee engagement significantly, which would result in a boost in productivity of up to 1 hour per week. The firm also anticipates that Everyday Candor will help to decrease turnover by at least .5 percent, as candid coaching and development convey to employees that their contributions are valued, which leads to greater retention.

Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.