“It helped put a mirror up to our organisation: it has been a really powerful piece of work”
Professional services firm KPMG has long recognised the benefits of socio-economic diversity and inclusion: it has led the way in increasing diversity among school leavers and graduate hires, in particular. So, when leaders wanted to understand whether – and how – gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background affect employees’ progression in the firm, they asked the Bridge Group to investigate.
The resulting report, Diversity Characteristics and Progression at KPMG, drew on extensive interviews with colleagues across the firm, from all levels, as well as interrogating the data in depth. In practical terms, it had considerable impact. Having established an evidence base on the barriers to progression within the organisation, all research recommendations are being implemented.
“The report gave us the evidence base to really warrant us doing a lot of the things we knew we had to do,” says Jenny Baskerville, KPMG Director and Co-head of Inclusion, Diversity and Social Equality. “Because we are a numbers-driven organisation, it landed particularly well with people who were perhaps aware there were potential barriers but weren’t well versed in what the data showed us.”
Actions taken have included increased opportunities for open conversations about diversity; delivering key leadership messages on the impact of bypassing processes; a review of work allocation processes; and harnessing a single narrative about the importance the firm places on inclusion, diversity and social equality. This was crystallised in the firm’s launch of its Fairer Futures campaign.
Jenny points out that senior leadership are still referring to the report and using it. “The report helped put a mirror up to our organisation. It has been a really powerful piece of work,” she says. “KPMG will use this evidence and advice to inform policy reforms, to further ensure that all employees can thrive within the organisation, irrespective of background.”