At KPMG we are guided by Our Values and doing great work that matters. We’re building a culture that is open, safe and inclusive, and operates to the highest ethical and quality standards. A culture and environment that is continually listening, learning and evolving.Jon Holt / Chief Executive, KPMG in the UK
The steps we’ve taken to build our culture
We’re committed to creating a culture that enables our people and firm to thrive. We listen to feedback and continually monitor our progress against key areas to identify what’s working and where we need to take further steps to improve. There are four important elements to building our culture:
Gill works as an Assistant Manager in the Family Office & Private Client team, responsible for reviewing tax returns for the KPMG Partners.
In her previous role, Gill had an annualised contract meaning she worked her contractual hours over 36 weeks of the year and had the remaining 16 weeks off. “I feel very proud to work here and frequently tell people it’s the best job ever". Although Gill has now changed roles with her children being older, she says “the level of flexibility offered was invaluable at the time.”
Despite working in a virtual team, Gill feels the team really support each other, she says “there’s a very positive, friendly culture at KPMG and you can always call your colleagues if you need any help or have a question.”
David joined KPMG on an apprenticeship programme after finishing his A-Levels. He was looking for an opportunity to gain on-the-job experience at the start of his career while he studied for further qualifications.
Talking about his time so far, he says; “there’s a brilliant culture here – it’s friendly and welcoming. The apprentices really support each other through all the exams, and all the career milestones.”
From early on, David was given responsibility for different areas of his audit project, which allowed him to work closely with and learn from other members of the team. “You have to build up strong relationships with people – but also be prepared to challenge and question everything to make sure your audit is accurate. The programme is brilliant for helping you build up the skills and confidence you need to do this.”
Speaking about the future, he says he’s excited about his career with KPMG; “there’s so much scope for development and progression into different departments at KPMG. With so many opportunities, you never feel like you would end up on a narrow career path.” he says.
Our Values guide everything we do
Our success and reputation depends on our people doing the right thing. Our Code of Conduct helps them understand how we do this and underpins everything we do. Built on the foundation of Our Values, it conveys clearly our commitment to acting responsibly and taking accountability for the way we do business.
Our Values help us make ethical decisions showing our clients, audited entities and stakeholders what we believe in and what matters to us.
- We’ve embedded our refreshed global values across our firm and reinforced this by recognising behaviour that aligns to Our Values, with initiatives such as our firm-wide employee recognition schemes – The People Awards and KPMG Praise.
- We’ve hosted a series of firm-wide broadcast events centred on each of Our Values.
We do what is right
We never stop learning and improving
We think and act boldly
We respect each other and draw strength from our differences
We do what matters
Creating an open, safe and inclusive environment
We are committed to creating an environment where our people feel they can speak up without fear of retaliation. Where our people feel they will be listened to, and their concerns acted on. Where colleagues can thrive and reach their full potential, whatever their identity or background.
An open environment
We have a number of programmes in place where our people have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas, both with our Leadership team and fellow colleagues.
A safe environment for our people to speak up
We encourage our people to speak up where they have issues or concerns about unethical working practices or where someone isn't living Our Values. We have a number of ways in which our people can speak up, including through our network of Ethics Champions and via our Speak Up Hotline.
However, as important as our people having a responsibility to speak up, is our responsibility as a firm to listen. We take this responsibility seriously and provide our people with a number of mechanisms to support our commitment to listening.
Alongside this we’ve invested in our processes and controls to ensure we support our people when they have raised issues, without the fear of retaliation. We have zero-tolerance of retaliation which we have enshrined in policy. We’ve invested in a bespoke tool which allows us to monitor for signs of it and disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who has retaliated in any way against someone who has raised a concern.
We’ve also commissioned independent reviews into our Speak Up processes and how we take action when concerns are raised. This includes a six-monthly report from our independent ombudsman and an independent benchmark of our Speak Up processes by Protect, the leading authority on whistleblowing in the UK, which compared us to industry best-practice in a number of areas.
I am satisfied that investigations are conducted seriously. My questions and comments elicit appropriate responses. I do not consider that there are undue delays in conducting investigations. The information provided appears to me to be sufficient to reach a conclusion.Independent ombudsman report to our UK Board, November 2021
An inclusive environment
We’re committed to creating a culture where all colleagues thrive and reach their full potential, whatever their identity or background. We are upskilling our colleagues to be active allies in building an inclusive culture and sense of belonging across the firm.
- We’ve launched our new Inclusion, Diversity & Equity plan Our KPMG: A fairer future for all, which sets out our bold ambitions and long-term targets to 2030.
- In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, we created a dedicated Black Lives Action Plan which contains specific actions targeted at increasing black representation in our firm and creating equal opportunities for our Black heritage colleagues.
- Inclusive Leadership sessions are an integral part of our promotions to management level and above.
- Our Inclusive Leadership Board includes external representatives who help to challenge our progress against our commitments, ensuring we create an inclusive environment.
Highest ethical and quality standards
At KPMG we are committed to acting responsibly and taking accountability for the way we do business, which includes ensuring that the work we carry out is of the highest ethical and quality standards. We have taken a series of steps to transform the way we govern our business to build trust. We’ve also increased Partner accountability.
- The money that Partners have invested in the business is at risk if they don’t meet our ethical and conduct standards.
- Our Chair and Chief Executive’s performance and remuneration is based on a balance of trust and growth metrics. Their goals are shared with the partnership for transparency.
- Enhanced training on Our Code has been introduced across the firm, and we’ll be rolling out enhanced training on conflicts of interest for Partners and Directors this year.
- We’re investing in our programme to deliver a ‘high challenge, high support’ culture in Audit.
Listening, learning and evolving
Our Executive Committee are accountable for ensuring that our culture continues to evolve and that our culture ambition is being met, however all of our Partners and colleagues have a part to play in building our culture. We listen to all our stakeholders to learn about what we do well and any areas we need to address. To understand our people’s views we hold an annual Global People Survey, regular pulse surveys and Open Forum sessions with Executive Committee members throughout the year. Our leadership also regularly engage with our Employee Business Forum, Employee Networks and Ethics Champions to listen to the lived experiences of our colleagues.
Culture metrics aligned to our culture ambition are discussed at our Culture Steering Group, comprised of Board and Executive Committee Members on a quarterly basis. Our Chair and Chief Executive’s performance and remuneration is based on a balance of trust and growth metrics. Their goals are shared with the partnership for transparency.
As well as our Board measuring our progress against our culture plan, we’ve been working with the Institute of Business Ethics to look at different aspects of our overall ethical health framework, including the accountability of our leaders, to ensure that an appropriate ethical culture prevails across the firm.
* Data based on 6,310 colleague responses. Note that prior year surveys used a mix of response scale options for each question – some used a five-point scale from Agree to Disagree, and others used a five-point scale from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree. To promote consistency, and to align with external benchmarks, the response scales for all questions were moved this year to the five-point scale from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree. Analysis by our survey vendor shows that scores are, on average, 5% lower for the questions whose scale has been amended this year. Therefore, declines in scores of 5% or less may be the result of the scale change rather than an actual change in employee opinion.