At the heart of our approach is our corporate culture – this is key to implementing our values and achieving our ambitions. We have defined five core values – and three cultural attributes we believe are vital to success: fast innovation, high performance and inclusive collaboration. These values guide the way we behave and the decisions we take; they are wired into our ‘People’ processes – into our performance reviews, for example, and into how we decide promotions and variable pay. They are built into our internal communications and people surveys – and form an important part of our dialogue with partners and directors. It is vital for us that partners and directors reflect and ‘live’ these values in their daily management.
We see inclusion & diversity as a business priority – that means we set targets and hold our leadership to account for performance. We also ask our leaders to set the ‘right tone’ for progress in this area. Building an inclusive work environment, we believe, helps attract and retain talent.
Our five Inclusion & Diversity communities: Gender, Cultural & International, Ability, LGTBQ+ and Generations
Over the past year, we have made further progress in ‘unbiasing’ - in other words, removing unconscious biases from our development, reward and promotion processes. We provide ‘unconscious’ bias training to our development Managers – and have piloted an Inclusion & Diversity Impact programme that will be rolled out to all partners and directors in 2021/2022.
On gender diversity, we are making steady progress. In recruitment, women already account for 42% of our intake (virtually flat compared to last year: 43%). Even so, we lose too many talented women as they advance in the organisation. At the end of 2020/2021, women accounted for 19% of our partners and directors (2019/2020: 18%) – short of our target of 21%. ‘Unbiasing’ will help us address this – we’re also actively sponsoring women approaching promotion.
At the same time, we’re looking to advance cultural diversity within the firm. Currently, we have 73 different nationalities working at KPMG in the Netherlands. Our Inclusion & Diversity programme specifically addresses cultural diversity – we’re also working with Amsterdam University on research projects to help improve the performance of Dutch companies in this area. Within KPMG, we’ve organised several initiatives to enhance cultural awareness - including our Ramadan challenge and International Week. Last year, an estimated 7% of our partners and directors had a non-European cultural background, compared with 6% the year before.
To support Inclusion & Diversity, we take part in a number of external initiatives. These include the Ability Coaching programme, the Cross-Cultural Mentoring Programme and Talent to the Top, which seeks to promote more women into senior management positions across Dutch businesses. Find out more about our Inclusion & Diversity programme on our website.
Over the past year, we’ve also continued to invest in our ‘employer brand’ – this has been primarily through media and other public appearances. We want to raise our profile among jobseekers, many of whom perhaps would not previously have considered a career at a company like KPMG. At the same time, we’ve done more to support our current employees. Over the past year, we’ve organised social activities, designed a program for quarterly ‘morale boosters’, funded new office equipment for those working for home – and, of course, increased profit-sharing. We believe it’s important that, especially during the pandemic, employees continue to feel engaged and ‘connected’. In 2021, KPMG was named LinkedIn Nr.1 top company for career development in the Netherlands.
Post-Covid-19, we are adapting to new ways of working – we’re spending less time in the office, and we’re using digital more to stay in touch with each other and our clients. We are moving towards more ‘hybrid’ working, with employees splitting their time between home, office and client visits. This has implications for our offices. At Zwolle, for instance, we have already pioneered a new ‘clubhouse’ concept, which rethinks the way we work, learn, connect and interact in the office. We’re extending the same concept at our main office in Amstelveen.
At the same time, we are investing in health and well-being, particularly mental health in the wake of the pandemic. We are also putting more emphasis on digital skills, ESG expertise and leadership capabilities – and targeted skills development programmes, such as the Connect, Collab and Inspire festival. We’re also expanding e-learning – as part of a ‘blended’ approach that combines online with traditional in-person learning & development. These development programmes support innovation, and help us ensure we have the skills we need, especially in fast-growing areas like data management and analytics.
Increasingly, we see KPMG as a ‘knowledge campus’ through the training, personal development, mentoring and on-the-job coaching we offer our professionals throughout their careers with us. Over the past year, we continued to invest in training and development in spite of the Covid-19 crisis, reflected in the average training hours per employee.
Over the past year, we organised regular ‘leadership labs’ to support managers during the Covid-19 crisis. We realise that, with the pandemic, management styles must change. With remote working, managers need to be more proactive, more engaged; they need to show ‘empathetic leadership’. Our leadership labs helped managers think through these issues – how to innovate, for example, or how to stay close to their teams when working remotely.
Across KPMG, we organise an annual Global People Survey (GPS). This survey measures employee engagement, as well as our performance in eighteen different areas – everything from trust, career growth, inclusion & diversity, and collaboration to reward & recognition, innovation and leadership. Our annual survey is supported by regular ‘pulse’ surveys, which have proved indispensable during the pandemic in taking meaningful action in response to the needs of our people.
Our last annual GPS took place in October 2020. For the Netherlands, the survey showed an increase in employee engagement to 83%, up from 80% the year before. This makes us the third highest ranking KPMG member firm in the international KPMG network. There were, however, lower scores for both learning and inclusion & diversity – the former possibly related to a lack of in-person training during recent lockdowns. Using these results, we identified both strengths to build on and ‘opportunities’ – areas we prioritised over the past year. Among these opportunities are: doing more to champion Inclusion & Diversity, extending learning and development programmes and supporting innovation. Our next survey went live in October 2021 and we expect the results by the end of the calendar year 2021.
Over the past year, we continued to take measures to protect our people against Covid-19. Through our Vitality programme, we promoted good health and mental well-being. All our employees and equity partners were offered a medical check-up, including a Covid-19 antibody test. In our audit practice we rolled out a programme designed to make the workload more predictable and planning more flexible to accommodate individual needs. We also extended reimbursement for childcare, recognising that recent lockdowns were particularly tough for employees with young children.
The 'Best development experience' finds its way into internal promotions. Part of that is making sure we have clear succession planning. We’ve put in place a detailed process. In 2020/2021, we ran a full cycle of this process; this involves identifying ‘successors’ for all key positions, and the development support they may need. Meanwhile, we have further strengthened what we call our ‘spike leadership’ approach. We believe that, by making the most of our talent, we also benefit our clients and society as a whole. To support succession planning, we have an extensive development programme, with training, regular reviews and goal-setting. We also have a rigorous partner admission process.