Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021), Canada's Top Family-Friendly Employers (2020) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 12, 2020)
Here are some of the reasons why KPMG LLP was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021), Canada's Top Family-Friendly Employers (2020) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2021):
- Along with the firm's "Thanks" recognition program, KPMG launched an additional points-based recognition program, allowing leadership to recognize employees for going above and beyond -- recognitions are featured on a live newsfeed and point values can be redeemed for cash, RRSP, or TFSA contributions
- KPMG continues to prioritize diversity and inclusion, recently providing formal education on anti-Black racism and conducting a review of its current talent processes to better understand and remove any biases and barriers in place for advancement
- KPMG offers new parents-to-be a generous adoption subsidy (to $20,000) and supports new moms with maternity leave top-up payments (to 100 per cent of salary for 17 weeks) -- the firm also maintains a Working Parents Network to bring together parents with young children and recently launched a Special Family & Friends Network to support parents of children with special physical, emotional or behavioural needs
KPMG displays its integrity amid the pandemic
Call Morgan Rathwell the right person at the right time with the right skills. As a senior consultant at KPMG LLP (Canada) in Toronto, Rathwell was already involved in the firm’s healthcare practice. She had a lifelong passion for the field, instilled by parents who both work in healthcare. Then came the COVID-19 crisis. Very quickly, she found herself working on the most pressing health issue facing society.
For Rathwell, just three years out of Western University’s Ivey Business School, a big part of her job was helping to coordinate the global search for personal protective equipment (PPE) – no easy task when some of the biggest manufacturers of masks, gowns, testing equipment and the like were in some of the hardest hit countries in the world. And the whole world was after them.
“Every day there was a new challenge,” says Rathwell. One was watching out for the many scam artists who bedevilled the early PPE search with too-good-to-be-true deals. “We called these ‘unicorn’ offers, just popping out of nowhere,” she says. “It’s been quite the ride.”
The work has continued through the fall as the team turns to other ways of supporting efforts to combat the virus. For Rathwell, the experience has bonded her even more to KPMG in Canada, part of the global network of firms offering advisory, audit and tax services. Headquartered in Toronto, KPMG in Canada has more than 7,500 professionals based in communities across the country.
“KPMG is a firm with a lot of integrity, both in the way we work with our clients and also internally, the way that staff are treated,” she says. “I have a lot of faith in my co-workers and my leaders that we’re going to do the right thing and we’ll do right by our client, and by virtue of that, the people of Ontario.”
When the pandemic hit, she adds, “right off the bat the communication from the leadership was constant and felt very open and transparent. I’ve been really impressed with the support from the firm in terms of staff being empowered to continue working in a relatively normal way and the resources we’ve received. The culture is a big draw at KPMG.”
From the start, KPMG’s leadership was determined to maintain that culture, says Stephanie Terrill, business unit leader, Management Consulting. “We were able to move over 7,500 people to a remote environment very quickly,” she says. “In my own group, we had 650 people across Canada set up in 48 hours in pods from home on Microsoft TEAMS – staying connected and engaged at a time of crisis. And always at the forefront was the welfare of our people physically, mentally and financially.”
Even interns were included. When the firm was unable to offer in-person internship opportunities, a fully virtual program was created for summer students across the country, designed to build their digital skills. Another creative idea was the KPMG Kids Network, a digital platform that enlisted the teen and young adult children of some employees to help teach and entertain the younger children of others.
"I’m really proud,” says Terrill, “that we’ve been able to help each other through the pandemic.”
KPMG draws strength from their diversity
When Tarisai Madambi returned to KPMG LLP (Canada) in Toronto after an absence of eight years, she was impressed with the change in the diversity of people she saw around her. “It was amazing and inspiring,” she says. “There were so many more people who looked like me.”
It almost seems like fate that the Zimbabwean-raised management consultant rejoined the professional services firm as a senior manager in Advisory in 2018, after time in industry. By the next year, she and other Black employees had begun connecting informally, and in early 2020, she launched the Black Professionals Network (BPN) during Black History KPMG draws strength from their diversity Month as a new employee resource group in the GTA office. The timing turned out to be critical.
Only a few months later, a series of horrific events culminated in a global outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Among BPN members, she says, “people had so many emotions, but I think it’s safe to say there was a real, deep sense of sadness and pain. And for many of us, we didn’t know where to put that – we didn’t even know what to call it.
“The Black Professionals Network recognized a need for our people to come together. It provided a safe space to talk about these emotions and the mental health crisis that was essentially happening within a pandemic for our community,” she says.
That led to a unique action by the BPN. “We asked people to do video messages about their feelings – we called the series Our Experiences Matter,” she says. They took it to the senior leadership who then showed the video at a national town hall in June, led online by CEO Elio Luongo.
“Our leaders were forthright in recognizing this as a social justice issue that we couldn’t remain silent on. Respecting each other and drawing strength from our differences is one of our core values,” says Madambi. “And I think that by seeing our own Black professionals share their experiences, our colleagues recognized with a greater sense of awareness how deep and close to home these issues are.”
Open to everyone at KPMG, the BPN now counts some 180 members among Black professionals and allies, out of close to 300 Black professionals at the firm. Madambi points to its creation as a great example of KPMG’s culture. “There was an opportunity, and I was supported in pursuing it,” she says. “The KPMG culture is diverse and collaborative, and we really do have an enterprising spirit. Each of us has full licence to bring ideas to the table and take action on them.”
Sebastian Distefano, regional managing partner, GTA, says he’s proud that the BPN originated in Toronto. “And when the events happened, we were very quick to start formal education programs on anti-Black racism in Canada, we supported programs for Black professionals and youth in the community and we are tailoring some of our mental-health programs for our Black professionals.”
Similarly, he says, throughout the pandemic KPMG has been intent on supporting its people, particularly those who may have suffered anxiety working at home. “We created a Health at Work program, with sessions focused on physical, mental and financial well-being. We also had a four-week health challenge. And more broadly, we developed a Working Parents’ Network and a Home-Alone Network.”
Distefano also stepped up communications with staff, via a weekly newsletter and an open door. “There is always an open line if people want to talk to myself or any of the leaders in the practice here in Toronto,” he says.
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2020):
By Kristina Leung, Stephanie Leung, and Chantel Watkins, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 16, 2020)
Here are some of the reasons why KPMG LLP was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2020):
- The KPMG Innovation and Collaboration Challenge invites students to compete at four of the firm's national offices to solve challenges -- winning teams from each office are flown to Toronto for networking, innovation sessions, and a chance to present their solution to a panel of the firm's leadership -- the winning team then moves on to compete at the international finals, last held in Buenos Aires, Argentina
- KMPG manages "Avenues", a program that helps new graduates navigate the early stages of their career -- participants are employed across audit, tax and advisory practices and consider specialization as they work towards professional designation -- participants are also assigned a dedicated Development Manager to provide coaching and feedback
- The firm's "KPMG Ideation Challenge" invites students from various countries to work alongside KPMG data, analytics and artificial intelligence personnel to solve complex business issues -- ideas are presented to a global judging panel, who then select initiatives for co-development
KPMG prioritizes early development
When Colleen Lobo first got involved with KPMG in her first year of university in Montreal, she had no idea she was embarking on a journey that would alter the course of her career. She was trying to figure out what she wanted to major in when a student challenge caught her eye.
She was excited to be accepted into the two-day competition, now known as the KPMG Ideation Challenge, or “KIC,” where she and two teammates analyzed a business dossier and pitched their recommendations to a panel of partners and leaders.
“I loved the environment there and how everyone was treated,” she says. “From that moment on I just wanted to get involved even more.”
Now in her final year of undergrad, Lobo has embraced all the opportunities KPMG in Canada has to offer. Lobo completed a summer internship doing auditing and consulting work last year, and she’s currently working as a part-time engagement processor while she finishes her studies. She even has a full-time job offer for January 2021, which she plans to pursue while earning her CPA designation.
As Lobo’s experience demonstrates, KPMG is committed to developing the talents of young professionals long before they’re even poised to join the company.
“Mentorship is built into everything that we do,” says Director of Talent Acquisition, Julia Innis. KPMG’s brand of mentorship focuses on providing learning and development opportunities at all levels of the recruitment process, and to more than just the traditional business candidates.
Executive Look, a two-day conference hosted at the firm’s headquarters in Toronto where participants build leadership skills and network with the company’s leaders, showcases this mindset. Originally open only to business students, the conference along with all their student programs have broaden to include STEM students as well. For example, the Ideation Challenge pairs up STEM and business students to use design thinking to create their own unique solutions to real-world business problems.
“We’re giving them these experiences really early on into their career and hopefully will open their minds to the world of possibilities of different careers that are available to them,” says Innis.
For Lobo, who spends her time outside of work and school as a KPMG student ambassador, sharing her experiences at on campus recruitment events, the upshot of this candidate-first approach is clear.
“They want the best for anyone that gets involved in the firm,” she says. “They want you to choose the best for you.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2020):
By Kristina Leung and Stephanie Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 5, 2020)
Here are some of the reasons why KPMG LLP was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2020):
- KPMG recently established a new key performance indicator for the firm's partners, linking compensation to representation of women and visible minorities (with a goal of 30 per cent women and 20 per cent visible minorities in partnership by 2022)
- In 2017, KPMG appointed its first chief mental health officer, who aims to develop an organizational culture that fosters and supports good mental health -- based on employee feedback, the firm recently introduced an annual reimbursement of $2,000 for mental health practitioners, which may include social workers, clinical counsellors and family therapists
- For nearly a decade, KPMG has supported the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative Accounting Mentorship Program to encourage Aboriginal students to pursue post-secondary education and future careers in accounting -- the firm also offers a First Nations and Aboriginal Student Awards scholarship program for students enrolled in business studies and has awarded 32 scholarships to date since its inception
KPMG takes action to further inclusion and reconciliation
As a leading professional services firm with offices in cities and towns across Canada, KPMG LLP is committed to an inclusive workplace and culture where everyone feels comfortable. So when Robyn Budd, a manager in its global infrastructure advisory team in Vancouver, wanted to establish an Indigenous Peoples’ Network at the firm, she got the full support of KPMG’s leadership.
The goal of the network is to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people throughout KPMG in Canada to share and learn from each other. Budd started the network with Tammy Brown, national industry leader of industrial markets at KPMG, at the beginning of 2019. Since its inception, it has already attracted 65 members, and continues to grow.
“It has evolved into an education and capacity-building machine, if you will, as well as supporting colleagues and also supporting the external communities,” says Budd. The network regularly holds awareness events and brings in speakers as well as developing resources such as allyship guides and land acknowledgement messaging.
A key goal is to grow the Indigenous presence at KPMG, and she looks forward to sharing and eventually handing off leadership of the network to an Indigenous person in the near future.
Budd grew up in Woodstock, Ont., not far from the Six Nations of the Grand River. She first took an interest in Indigenous culture in grade school when the territory of Nunavut was formed, and immersed herself in learning Inuktitut. Later, during a school trip to Six Nations, she was deeply moved by a survivor who talked about the residential school experience. She jointly studied Indigenous History and Public Policy at McMaster University, where she focused her thesis on the Métis Nation. Before she joined KPMG in 2017, she often worked in Indigenous relations, including roles with various government organizations.
“A key reason I joined KPMG was the opportunity to continue my involvement in the Indigenous space, helping grow that business and consulting with the First Nations, Métis or Inuit communities,” she says.
“KPMG has been really supportive of the Indigenous network,” she continues. “The most senior leadership of the organization is entirely behind it and makes time for me to focus on the network. And I find that partners across Canada are getting in touch every week to say that an opportunity has come up that involves an Indigenous community or business, and asking how we can tailor our services to be more mindful of that.”
Stephanie Braid, Toronto-based senior manager of inclusion and diversity, says engagement and outreach to Indigenous people is an important element of KPMG’s broad commitment to inclusion.
“There is a growing expectation that Canadian organizations are playing an active role in reconciliation,” she says. “Our people, clients and communities expect us to have a voice. We collaborated with Robyn to build the Indigenous Network as one way to engage the voices and passions of our people to move this critical priority forward.”
In addition to its commitments to inclusion, KPMG is also focused intensely on advancing diverse talent. Its goal is to reach 30 per cent women and 20 per cent visible minorities by 2022. The firm has also made strides in mental health awareness, appointing a chief mental health officer and recently enhancing mental health benefits for employees.
KPMG, Braid notes, puts “inclusion” first in its name for her team, because, “diversity is a fact, it’s all around us. But without inclusion, you will fail to empower people and tap into the innovative power of those diverse perspectives.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2020):
By Richard Yerema and Chantel Watkins, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jun 15, 2020)
Here are some of the reasons why KPMG LLP was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2020):
- As part of KPMG's Global Green Initiative, the firm set an initial greenhouse gas emissions target to reduce emissions by 25 per cent from a 2007 baseline year by 2010 -- the firm surpassed that goal through a 29 per cent reduction by 2010 and has since set revised goals that will lead to greenhouse gas reduction of 50 per cent from the 2007 baseline year by 2020
- In addition to being a pioneer in working to address everything from its own paper usage to carbon emissions, to work styles to its building footprint, KPMG provides dedicated professional sustainability services to help clients understand, manage and improve their own environmental and social impacts -- the services are managed by a core team of 18 sustainability subject matter experts, who are supported by professionals from across the firm
- KPMG employees across the country work to support numerous green community initiatives, including the Grand River Conservation Authority, One Drop Foundation, London's Million Tree Challenge, Sustainable Montréal and Queen's Solar Design Team, to name a few
KPMG is driving impact and behaviour change
Jocelyn’s Li’s title at KPMG LLP is Greater Vancouver Area impact manager. Since her job is all about sustainability, does that mean she’s supposed to boost impact or reduce it? “It’s a little of both actually,” she says. A good example is how she dealt with waste in the professional services firm’s Vancouver offices.
“In a behaviour study and waste audit conducted in collaboration with the University of British Columbia last year, we found that the three leading items being tossed out were paper cups, plastic cutlery and plastic tea bag sachets that couldn’t be recycled,” she recounts. “So we changed all three of those things. We brought in metal cutlery. We had the office try out different ethically sourced or sustainable teas and chose one where the sachet and the packaging could be thrown in the organics bin. And we piloted a tumbler-share program with MugShare, where people could go to the kitchen, pick up a tumbler, walk to the coffee shop, use it, and throw it back in the dishwasher for the next person to use.”
The office has also teamed with a Vancouver company called Drinkfill, where instead of buying a bottle of pop from a vending machine, people bring a reusable bottle and pay to have it filled with drinks such as kombucha at a zero-waste refill station.
“My job is to identify community collaborations and internal initiatives that help our people get involved and increase their impact,” says Li. “It’s just making it easier for them to act on the knowledge that they already have.”
Last year, KPMG’s Sustainability Committee organized a Sustainability Fair in which 12 green vendors demonstrated how they do things differently. “We featured a beeswax wrap business, a consignment store and even a food truck that served food in edible bowls,” says Li. “All these different businesses were able to showcase how they're approaching sustainability.”
Kristine Remedios understands the approach well, since she is chief inclusion and social impact officer. KPMG in Canada, she says, now has a network of impact leads across the country, driving initiatives at grass-roots level that are often picked up by other KPMG offices across Canada.
Nationally, she is focusing heavily on reducing the firm’s carbon emissions and waste. “We now recycle 75 per cent of our waste, but there is more to be done on reducing our building and travel emissions,” she says. “We have a strong handle on our data in terms of the sources and costs of our carbon footprint, and we are taking a very strategic approach to make the biggest difference.”
“Relationships are core to our business, so finding innovative ways to leverage technology, stay connected and work smart both as a firm and individually is important,” says Remedios. “It’s a behaviour change.”