KPMG started a national inclusive council that worked with women focusing on diversity as well as touching on minorities which included people with disabilities, mental health work, newcomers to Canada and more. This council worked with the firm to make sure that KPMG was a welcoming and open environment where they can be themselves. They are working towards incorporating the gender equality SDG into their business model.
This national inclusive council held 16 partner board members from across the country. It became such a big council that KPMG introduced a full time chief inclusion officer in 2013, fully embedding these strategies into KPMG’s business model. This became the CEO’s strategic agenda on monitoring its success in the company and evolving it to keep adapting with the changing business world. To make this work KPMG’s chief inclusion officer spent years on an intensive education program across the firm so that everyone understood what they meant by gender equality, unconscious bias, inclusion and how they can support their people. Their strategies have now been successfully implemented into their company model since 2015.
Ten years ago at the entry level of the firm Canada wide, it was a 50/50 split of male and female meaning that new hires coming in were evenly both genders. As those employees moved up the ranks and were getting promotions, the firm started to notice that they weren't doing a good job retaining females due to the demands of the job coupled with family responsibilities. This is where the company first began to see the gender gap. They had many males being promoted while the females had to decline as they weren't able to find that work-life balance when they wanted to have families: sending the males up the ranks and pushing the females down behind them. This is when the firm began to implement a lot of gender equality strategies into their business model. The firm organized an inclusive strategy to support women and vouch for gender equality. As Ruth Todd said, "We realized that gender equality and diversity in the workplace was going to be an important part of future business and. we wanted to be at the forefront of this innovation and change."
The commitment KPMG has made to implement the SDGs into their business model has gradually made them into the sustainable company they are today: impacting their society for the better. Every year, KPMG personnel come together on International Women’s Day on March 8th to champion equality for all women. From local events, to our people from around the world pledging on how they’ll personally drive change, the response from our network is overwhelming. The commitment our people demonstrate is a sign of the ever-increasing need to create an inclusive future for all. Another example of one of their sustainable practices that impacts their society is their Women Corporate Directors Foundation which is KPMG’s commitment to increasing boardroom diversity. The Women Corporate Directors Foundation (WCD) is the world’s largest membership community of women corporate board directors serving on more than 8,500 public and private boards around the world. KPMG also supports the foundation at a local level; there are 80 WCD Chapters worldwide that draw on support from senior female partners taking on the role of WCD Chapter Co-Chair also providing operational support from local KPMG professionals.
Since 2014, KPMG in the US has also served as title sponsor of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, a collaboration between the PGA of America, LPGA and KPMG in the US, which focuses on the development, advancement and empowerment of women on and off the golf course. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship — broadcast in conjunction with NBC and Golf Channel — includes a women’s leadership summit (KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit) and an ongoing charitable initiative (KPMG Future Leaders Program) designed to inspire and develop new generations of women leaders. The KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit’s objective is to help move more women into the C-suite. At this year’s Summit, 66th US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, KPMG in the US Chairman & CEO Lynne Doughtie and retired 4-star US Navy Admiral Michelle Howard shared strategies, insights and lessons learned from their personal journeys with the next generation of women leaders nominated by their CEOs to attend, which included representation from more than 80 of the world’s leading brands.
The short term effects of KPMG implementing these strategic agendas of gender equality into their firm included more retention of the women being promoted as they felt like their needs were being met in a more effective way and that they were being heard. As well it included a lot more training and development of policies and standards highlighting gender equality, educating everyone in the firm so people are aware. This created a lot more awareness of unconscious bias in the workplace as well as a healthier and happier workplace as these strategies were always being developed to meet needs and wants of all employees. The long term effects of these strategies and campaigns being implemented into KPMG’s business model were a lot bigger. Over time as the business world changed and KPMG was implementing more strategic agendas regarding inclusion and diversity, we saw a change in the way women were being represented in a mostly male dominated industry for the longest time. One of the long term effects was at the executive level of KPMG; they created new expectations where there was an equal level of genders on the executive team of 7 people. This means that if there were 3 men at least 3 women were included as well. They found that with all these plans they were implementing many deserving women were coming forward for promotion as they felt supported and that they would be able to handle the demanding job as well as their family duties. This is where the campaign “What do 4 women, 3 men, 2 mothers, 3 fathers, a lesbian, all with a variety of different ethnic and religious backgrounds have in common? They all belong to KPMG’s executive team.” This was meant to highlight that when you have an inclusive and diverse workplace there should be many different perspectives brought to the table ultimately providing more options and different views therefore creating better work. Another long term effect is each year on international women's day, team members across all the offices Canada wide take pledges on inclusion and diversity in the workplace and how they can help. Each year after International Women's day KPMG holds sessions where experts in the Inclusion & Diversity field discuss practical ways to put each of the pledges into action. This is a really positive effect as it allows employees to personally track how they have had an effect and how they can continue to create a healthy, inclusive workplace aligning with the goals and strategic agendas in the firm's business model.
The biggest benefit for KPMG was that they now have such a diverse perspective through equality and inclusion. This creates more quality work and higher performance at the company.
There are now many more voices who have unique perspectives because they all have different experiences. Now when they are trying to make decisions and get things accomplished, it is a lot more diverse. There is also better service to our clients and better opportunities for our teams. They also have more diverse leadership; equality and representatives for all different races and sexes in their company makes them more appealing to many people and customers.
Five years ago, KPMG Canada embarked on its journey to embed a more inclusive culture within the workplace. Since launching their strategy in 2015, they have taken a data-driven approach to build their business case, understand their workforce, define their strategic priorities, and measure their progress on being a super inclusive firm with many equality practices in place. KPMG’s mission is ongoing. They are proud to have been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 12 consecutive years. This shows a lot of evidence that their approach to reach the gender equality SDG and diversity goals works. It keeps getting better and evolving with time as the business world is changing: showing they are committed. Yet while data has been critical to mapping KPMG’s inclusion journey, their ongoing success relies on their employees. In recent years, KPMG has shifted the emphasis of their training from addressing unconscious bias to focusing on inclusive leadership. Moreover, KPMG is continuously evaluating their progress and setting new goals. All aligning with the mission to ensure every employee knows they belong and are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work. Some other evidence that proves the impact of KPMG’s gender equality can be looked at through The Bird-Walton leadership development and sponsorship program, which is designed to empower high- potential women to increase their organizational impact with the confidence to take action when career opportunities arise. The program’s design recognizes that one of the greatest impediments to the advancement of women is their lack of access to senior sponsors. Over a 6-month period, the program challenges male partners to step outside their comfort zones and experience the workplace through the eyes of the women they sponsor. Similarly, the women are exposed to the dynamics of senior leadership and inspired with practical tools, knowledge and nuanced capabilities critical to becoming an effective leader with impact. Across the KPMG network, they have seen the following improvements as well: 141 of new partners promoted internally were female which is up from 126 in 2017. Also across KPMG’s leadership ranks, the percentage of women partners and directors has risen to 24 percent up from 22 percent in 2017. This proves that what KPMG is implementing has concrete evidence and proof to show what they are doing is having a positive impact.
When referring to the second SDG, KPMG has implemented into their sustainable practices about climate action/ affordable clean energy there has been a positive impact on the environment throughout their three goals of how they implement this into their business model. Firstly the impact of their environmental efforts include incorporating environmental considerations into all purchasing decisions of goods needed to complete their services. This includes embedding environmental criteria into all purchasing decisions, purchasing IT equipment and services that are energy efficient, creating minimum environmental credentials for the paper they use in the office as well as offer branded items that are sustainably sourced. These all impact the environment in a positive way which can be proven by KPMG being recognized as a LEED certified business. This means that KPMG is a business leader in energy and environmental design for having positive impacts and is setting a path to follow by helping to change the way business affects the environment. KPMG’s national managing partner for diversity and and corporate responsibility said, ““KPMG lives out its commitment to environmental sustainability through our Living Green program and this includes ensuring our office spaces are designed, constructed, and equipped in an environmentally-friendly way,” This is important because it shows that KPMG’s plans are put into action.
Another way the environment has been impacted from KPMG’s sustainable practices are through minimizing their environmental footprint by reducing their consumption of resources and maximizing the amount of waste diverted from a landfill. Since KPMG is a service business they have a small operational footprint, however, they have a huge opportunity to reduce their paper consumption and ensure that the resources that they do use can be diverted from landfills or disposed of using the highest environmental standards. As well through sustaining success of engaging an environmentally aware culture at work KPMG has been finding ways to reduce the firm's negative environmental impacts associated with travel. As a professional service organization travel is very critical and paramount to the success of their business. KPMG has implemented IT alternatives to reduce the need for travel. Lastly, for sustaining sustainability KPMG measures, reduces, and reports GHG emissions in alignment with KPMG international's global green initiative. Through these goals, KPMG has positively impacted the environment by reducing their GHG emission through innovation as well as purchasing renewable energy. One last way that KPMG has had a positive impact on the environment through their sustainable practice is by enabling sustainability. This means that KPMG supports organizations in their communities that are working to address environmental issues affecting the places that they work and live. KPMG recognizes that they have the ability to positively impact their communities by supporting local environments through meaningful relationships with community organizations. KPMG also recognizes that they can have a positive impact by leading their employees and clients to advance the way that they contribute to a more sustainable future. This includes stimulating dialogue and action regarding pressing environmental issues and addressing complex issues by providing their perspective and finding ways and solutions to help issues.
Clients are getting better service and a more diverse workforce means more diverse community opportunities. There are also additional benefits because a diverse team has diverse connections to the community. Since giving back is such a big part of KPMG culture, they are able to help many different angles in the community. KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit demonstrates that they care about women in leadership even in the community. There is a gap showing that women leaders aren't well supported and they are making significant changes to fix these issues.
Ruth E Todd, Regional Managining Partner| Regions East| Managing Parterner- Hamilton, Oakville, St. Cathrines
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Hamilton, Ontario, Worldwide
Business Website: https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home.html
Year Founded: 1987
Number of Employees: 10000+