Why inclusion, diversity matter

Why inclusion, diversity matter

Today 28 nationalities make up 20 per cent of KPMG’s workforce.

Today 28 nationalities make up 20 per cent of KPMG’s workforce.

Diversity and inclusion are business and people issues connected to the sustainability and profitability of our firm, the quality of our relationships with clients and the solutions we provide.

They influence our relationships with people, clients and the community. Our marketplace and our people are demanding change and we are determined to exceed their expectations in our mission to becoming the clear choice on the market.

Not only do our clients and our people expect a diverse and inclusive workplace but we also wish to reflect the communities where we live and work and attract and retain talented people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Inclusion and diversity are personal and one needs to find their own story. At KPMG we encourage our people to continually share their stories, even at the beginning of their journey with the firm. In our induction we hold a workshop during which we share and listen to what inspires our new joiners. This also happens in our daily conversations with our people, in our learning programmes, management development, and within networks throughout the firm people are always encouraged to share their stories, background and life experiences.

When I consider inclusion and diversity and think of my own story, having had the opportunity to work and live in five continents and interact and work with many wonderful and different people, I began to think about the notions of inclusion and diversity at a very early stage in my career. They have been primary motivating factors for the work I perform throughout my professional and personal life.

Throughout my travels, I have had the opportunity to experience first hand the emotional impact and behaviours that stem from feeling included (and sometimes excluded), the importance of feeling connected to the people you work with and to the purpose of the firm.

I think back to the beginning of my career at KPMG three years ago, where we had 18 nationalities making up eight per cent of our workforce and seeing the rapid growth in these figures. Today 28 nationalities make up 20 per cent of our workforce.

One of the things I am proud of is the way in which we have embraced the transformational change required to adjust and maximise the benefits of having a widely diverse workforce. Initially, diversity was seen as a challenge for the firm, having to manage the varying expectations of very diverse groups of people, such as the increased number of talented foreign people who had joined us, the increasing number of millennials at our workplace and the increasing number of female participation.

Inclusion and diversity are about culture not about a series of HR initiatives

Having learned to embrace these changing dynamics – which has now become a reality for most firms operating in the Maltese market – this outlook has become our key positive differentiator in helping us to deliver innovative, robust decision-making to our clients and communities. Our key differentiators are embedded in the in-depth, globally influenced insights we provide to our clients and the community, and the constructive challenge and broad perspectives we bring to their work.

Inclusion and diversity are about culture not about a series of HR initiatives. It’s about how we do things. It is about respect with an eye on deliberately changing the way things are clearly linked to the business objectives of our firm. It has required personal leadership across the firm. Our leaders have stepped forward with courage and have committed to change, having to make brave decisions along the way to embrace inclusion and diversity in our workplace.

Role-modelling inclusion is something Pierre Zammit, operations director at KPMG Crimsonwing, thinks about on a daily basis as he promotes flexible working options within his teams.

He says: “Being part of the IT industry and the rapid rate at which technology advances have required us to seek out skilled employees from beyond the local labour market. At KCw, we have experienced diversification in our workplace environment first hand over the years. Motivated by the necessity to remain efficient and competitive in the market despite a skills shortage in Malta, we were driven to broaden our horizons. From being essential to our business growth all those years ago, nowadays the presence of over 31 nationalities working together in the office – making up 30 per cent of our workforce – provides a richness in perspectives that continues to facilitate our development.”

KPMG is a place where people feel empowered and supported to do extraordinary work no matter what background, gender, generation or nationality. Our strategy is to maximise our diversity of thought through valuing difference, such as gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and different age groups. These differences are the basis of our strategy. An inclusive culture is one where our behaviours show that we don’t just respect difference, we go out of our way to seek out and value different perspectives.

Adrienne McCarthy is head of Human Resources, KPMG in Malta.

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