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How to cultivate an inclusive, diverse and equitable workplace

MelNewton.jpgAhead of our upcoming Diversity Summit, Mel Newton of our event partner KPMG, has outlined how KPMG have worked to ensure their workforce in the UK is as diverse and inclusive as possible, and outlines how key policies and approaches have proven successful for their firm. The Diversity Summit: Urgent Action will explore how the insurance and long-term savings sector can work together to share best practise and shift the dial in creating meaningful and lasting change.

We all know that taking action to increase socio-economic diversity is the right thing to do and makes good business sense. Firms that are more inclusive, diverse and equitable have access to a much wider talent pool, they better represent the customers that they serve, and their employees have higher levels of wellbeing and engagement. They’re also able to retain staff for longer and through increased diversity of thought they are more innovative and creative.

In line with our commitment to this principle, KPMG in the UK has become one of the first organisations to publish its socio-economic background pay gaps and set out targets to increase the number of senior employees from working-class backgrounds.

The new data measures pay gaps between colleagues from different socio-economic backgrounds by looking at their parental occupation - a method of measurement recommended by social mobility experts, such as the Bridge Group, as the most robust and reliable indicator of socio-economic background.

Publication of this new data builds on our work to improve transparency around pay gap reporting, which we have published voluntarily for a number of years – earlier this year revealing Black heritage, sexual orientation, and disability pay gaps for the first time.

What does the data tell us?

Detailed analysis of the data reveals that while KPMG’s senior and junior colleagues are its most socio-economically diverse cohorts, working-class representation in middle management grades is comparatively lower and this is contributing to the pay gaps.

To drive progress to equity, KPMG has introduced the firm’s first ever socio-economic background representation target, which will aim to see 29 percent of its partners and directors come from a working class background by 2030, currently sitting at 23 percent of the firm’s partners and 20 percent of its directors.

It’s all very well setting targets and / or sanctions, but how do you go about ‘turning the dial’? Whilst the importance of Inclusion Diversity and Equity (IDE) programmes are widely recognised, the impact of such initiatives to generate meaningful change is limited.

To address this, KPMG has committed to focus on colleagues’ pathway into and through the organisation, from recruitment to progression - removing any potential barriers facing those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This work will include:

  • new recruitment programmes dedicated to bringing in talent from lower socio-economic backgrounds at middle management and senior levels;
  • the introduction of mandatory training to all colleagues on socio-economic background;
  • a talent development programme aimed at colleagues from lower socio-economic backgrounds; and
  • using parental occupation as a key measure within HR processes.

In order to deliver greater change across the IDE spectrum, we need all encompassing IDE programmes to cultivate an inclusive, diverse and equitable workplace through transforming culture, operations, processes and policies in a positive way:

  • You need to listen to your people and understand your existing unique culture.
  • Use research-based initiatives that are focused on engagement, social accountability, psychological safety and contact.
  • Experiment, iterate and improve your solutions.
  • Focus on forming sustainable habits.
  • Monitor change constantly.

We have worked with a number of organisations to demonstrate that this approach can result in a more inclusive, diverse and equitable organisation evidenced through positive tracking in core IDE metrics such as attrition, promotion, representation, voluntary data disclosure and levels of engagement at all levels across the organisation.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please visit the KPMG IDSE webpage.

Last updated 11/10/2021