• Emily Brine, Author |
  • Julia Innis, Author |
4 min read

Why is KPMG recognized as a Canadian top employer, year after year after year? The first reason is simple: we take care of our employees and don't worry about the awards. The second reason is also simple, though it gets more complex in practice: we do everything possible to ensure our employees' voices are a significant part of the equation. This means taking every opportunity both to ask our people about their experience at KPMG and, more importantly, to act on what they tell us and show them they've been heard.

Our approach to these efforts is holistic, pursuing not only a firmwide perspective but also drilling down to both the team and individual levels. In every case, we take the feedback very seriously. This is because KPMG's business is all about people—our own as well as those of our clients, with whom we work shoulder-to-shoulder on their most pressing business challenges. And we're able to do this at an exceptionally high level because of the equally high level of our employees' engagement—not just with our clients but also with our communities and each other.

Engagement, and the productivity that follows from it, is the result of happy and supported employees. In order to nurture and sustain them, we are committed to understanding what really matters to our people, to being courageous with challenging feedback, and to being transparent in the ways we communicate change.

All of this is precisely how we arrived at our current series of employee reward and recognition initiatives—"Summer Shakeup" and "Winter Refresh" in 2021 and the "Summer Splash" set to launch in July of this year. A shared feature of each of these initiatives was paid days off on top of normal vacation time and other means our people have to disconnect. But the details have evolved, thanks to our commitment to listening.

Where the Summer Shakeup featured extra paid days plus a one-time infusion of "spending money," over the months that followed we heard how much our people loved the paid time off especially. So that's what Summer Splash is—more days off over a longer period of time. Specifically, we're making it so that every weekend in July and August this year will be a long weekend. We're already hearing what people are planning to do with that time, and we are happy to report: they are excited!

To be sure, nothing about our employee experience initiatives is random, and it all very much depends on a holistic approach. Here are some of the specifics:

  1. Using the loudspeakers. Every year, our Global People Survey (GPS) establishes a benchmark for year-over-year engagement and sentiment of all our employees globally. In particular, this survey allows us to track progress on core areas such as values, leadership, communication, learning, wellbeing, and more.
  2. Tuning the dial. Throughout the year, we conduct shorter and more frequent "pulse" surveys on specific topics that we know are relevant to our people. In just such a survey from December 2021, we asked what benefits our employees value the most, and additional paid time off came out on top—leading directly to the details of "Summer Splash."
  3. Sounding up. Also annually, our CEO, Elio Luongo, puts together a reverse mentoring group that we call the Leaders of Tomorrow Circle. This group acts as a sounding board, providing input into business issues future initiatives. We had this group involved in the creation of the Summer Splash initiative, including asking them to vote on the options as well as consulting them on branding, communications and other considerations when building out the details.
  4.  Diversifying the signal. We also stay connected with our various People Networks, including a champion group of People Network Advisors, which provide deep insight and tailored input into our talent processes. This helps us ensure we are holding to our inclusion, diversity and equity commitments—which means ensuring no one is left out, or behind.
  5. Cranking the volume. Not only do we do all of this with our existing employees, we also listen out our windows to ensure we're ready for future hires. This means paying continuous attention to market trends around HR and talent generally to ensure that we what we offer is not only competitive but best-in-class.

Ultimately, it's listening at key moments that matter most for our employees—i.e., a few months after onboarding, after a learning program, when someone is departing, etc. Locally run listening circles, focus groups, sounding boards and other comparatively informal but on-demand efforts are also in the mix.

We believe this is central to why we've been named one of Canada's Top 100 employers in each of the past 16 years, and why we've also been consistently named a top employer for diversity, family-friendliness, and young people. These accolades are no accident. Nor are they the goal. We are—rightly, we believe—proud of the achievement and recognition. But we take our applause from our people because they're what count. We therefore couldn't be prouder, as awards come and go, that they can count on us.

  • Emily Brine

    Emily Brine

    Author, Managing Director, Firm Operations, Talent & Culture

    Blog articles
  • Julia Innis

    Julia Innis

    Author, Director, Employee Experience

    Blog articles

Multilingual post

This post is also available in the following languages

Stay up to date with what matters to you

Gain access to personalized content based on your interests by signing up today

Sign up today