KPMG - Improving work-life
|No. of employees
|% ethnic minorities
|% women returning after maternity leave in 2004
Our people expect greater freedom, flexibility and co-operation from
their employer than ever before. Therefore, t he challenge for KPMG
was to develop a flexible working strategy that helped meet the needs
of its people whilst improving its competitiveness. The launch of enhanced
flexible working options also provided a great opportunity to challenge
dated perceptions of working patterns, particularly the notion that
the number of hours worked by an individual or team is, itself, a fair
reflection of their effectiveness.
network of member firms is committed to delivering a high quality
service to its clients. KPMG in the UK recognised the importance
of balance in the relationship between work and non-work life, and
the potentially significant impact that this can have on team performance.
Therefore the UK firm has made it easier for KPMG people to agree
flexible working arrangements in the context of wider business issues.
KPMG’s policy has been formulated to take account of
barriers to change and to address issues raised within the business.
It seeks to recognise the need to balance the need for excellent client
delivery whilst adopting industry preferred practice people management.
This aims to provide not only measurable business benefits, but also
a strategy driven by work-life balance.
- In order for flexible working to be embedded in KPMG, all employees
are eligible to apply for flexible working and have the right to
appeal if their request is declined.
- The firm’s intranet hosts a single
policy document has been developed for flexible working offerings,
supported by comprehensive toolkits, checklists, guidelines,
a flexible working calculator and real-life case studies. This
is designed to help ensure that applicants achieve the right
flexible working pattern for them and for the business.
- Line managers in the business work together with HR to evaluate
- Requests to work flexibly are e-enabled, so that we can easily
monitor applications received, accepted and declined and to help
identify industry preferred practice.
- Take up rates are reported
in monthly Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to the Board.
flexible working arrangements are available to KPMG employees in the
- Glide Time – working
core hours (10.00 am to 4.00 pm) but starting work between 8.00
and 10.00 am and finishing between 4.00 and 6.00 pm with a normal
lunch break taken during core hours
- Part-time working
- Job sharing
- Additional Holiday Purchase – up
to 35 days holiday per year may be bought in addition to existing
- Unpaid Leave – up
to three months unpaid leave may be taken once all outstanding
holiday entitlement has been used
- Career break – an
opportunity to take an unpaid break from work of between three
months and three years to pursue other activities outside of
work (for employees with at least 2 years’ service)
- Home working – which includes installation
of broadband internet access (where available)
KPMG also supports the right of employees to take
time off work to deal with child care and family duties and has various
policies and procedures in place to deal with such instances, e.g.,
parental leave, personal leave, paternity leave, maternity and adoption
In the last 12 months 390 requests for flexible working were approved
by the firm with only nine requests declined. This represents a 98
percent approval rate for flexible working requests.
By embedding flexibility into its organisational mindset,
KPMG aims to support some of its strategic business objectives and
aid retention, a key business priority. Flexible working at KPMG can
impact the business as follows:
- Makes staff more loyal, motivated and productive
- Reduces recruitment costs and improves staff retention
a suite of flexible working options is one of the important factors
in determining whether an organisation is an 'employer of choice'
for future and current employees. Flexibility in working patterns
can benefit a wide range of our staff at some point in their working
lives at KPMG. Whether it be for changes in family patterns, long
distance commuting, caring for a dependent/relative or pursuing
community activities outside of work; the ability to cater for these
requests can help improve employer and employee affinity, boosts
morale, job satisfaction, performance and ultimately improves retention
In particular, the flexible working options we offer can,
we believe, make us more attractive to the best and brightest new
- Supports the firm in matching workforce
deployment with fluctuating business demand and thereby
improves overall performance and efficiency –
Large parts of KPMG are subject to seasonal, predictable peaks
in demand, and by using demand analysis and flexible working arrangements,
staff supply can be synchronised with anticipated market requirements
to help increase output, reduce response times and ensure a clear
cost benefit during periods of lowered business activity.
- Supports our aim of having a diverse
KPMG recognises the benefits of having a diverse workforce
and sees this as a strategic business issue. At KPMG diversity is
not just about physical differences it is also about a person’s
background, experience and diversity of thought. This difference
is what makes our people work and think innovatively when providing
strategies for clients’ business problems.
people are different. Empowering staff with choices in their working
patterns helps enable individuals to balance their work with their
personal lifestyle and allows KPMG to recognise and promote such
- To reinforce the firm’s values and the ‘KPMG
of KPMG’s core values is “We respect the individual”.
By this we mean “We respect each individual for who they are
and what they bring to, and add to the diversity of, our teams”.
This value is supported by example behaviours that make clear what
the firm means by this:
- Encouraging each other to continuously maintain and develop
our individual strengths
- Developing each other’s skills and
experience through coaching and mentoring
- Recognising each other’s need to
balance our personal and professional aspirations.
These values are embedded in the
firm’s performance management
process and form the framework for the way that things are done in
the firm. Additionally, our Code of Conduct contains a clear statement
of commitment to our people saying, “KPMG encourages a
healthy balance between work and private life and will facilitate
a flexible approach to working wherever possible.”
- To reinforce our brand in the recruitment
market place –
was recognised as one of the Top 10 large employers to work for
in this year’s Sunday Times “Best Companies to Work
For” listing. In particular, the reviewing panel praised our
record on flexible working. With the aspirations of candidates in
the market place increasingly including the desire for a good balance
between work and life, the recognition of our offering clearly helps
us attract the high calibre staff our clients expect.
The firm is about to embark upon an evaluation of existing flexible
working practices and process. All our flexible workers and their
line managers will be invited to complete a short questionnaire.
The feedback will be used to make recommendations for the development
of our flexible working offering.
In the future, KPMG expects to see more people requesting flexible
working arrangements, in order to reflect the wider cultural shift
in attitudes towards work and to embed these into the fabric of the
Real-life case studies
Baljit is a Director who has two children under the age
of five. She has recently had to organise childcare for her children
as her husband used to work predominantly from home but has just
accepted a position in a City based firm. She and her husband agree
that one of them will be responsible for taking their children
to the nursery and that the other will collect them.
- Baljit needs the arrangement to be agreed on a fixed basis so
that she can commit to dropping the children off at nursery on
her way into work each day.
- She discusses the proposed working hours informally with her
line manager, Michael and formally applies for the flexible working
- Michael explores Baljit's client commitments and typical working
pattern and they establish that, as she has few UK based clients,
she tends to spend the mornings drafting proposals, responding
to e-mails etc and the afternoons dealing with client queries.
- Given the nature of her work and the fact that her team could
work around her proposed schedule and are willing to cover in her
absence, Michael agrees that Baljit should change her hours to
work 10:00am to 6:00pm.
Ben, a Manager in Audit has worked
for KPMG for seven years and has currently requested a two-year
career break to look after his newborn baby.
- When Ben’s partner had a baby, both parents decided that
one of them should stay at home with the baby during the first
few years of its life. Financially, it was more sensible for Ben’s
partner to return to work, with Ben staying at home with the baby
- Ben thought that he might need to leave KPMG for good, but,
after checking the flexible working policy, thought that a career
break might be an option and decided to formally apply
- His line manager was keen to retain Ben’s
experience in the longer term and so authorised his request
- Ben says: “I’m really pleased
to be given this opportunity knowing that there is ability to
return to work at the end of the career break”
Alistair, an Executive Consultant in the Business Advisory Services
(BAS) team in Leeds has been with the firm for four years and has
requested to take 30 days additional holiday to pursue charity work.
- Having considered the flexible working options
on the firm’s
intranet site Alistair requested to take an extra 30 days holiday
(in addition to the five days available through KPMG’s flexible
benefit scheme) to help enable him to take approximately one day
off every two weeks to pursue voluntary charity work for his community.
Alistair says: “I’ve always supported
charities and gone out of my way to do voluntary work for them
and now KPMG are helping me to do this.”
Mark is finding the four hour commute every day from his
home in Portsmouth to the London office where he is based really
draining. However, he enjoys the work and his professional skills
mean that there is a need for him to retain his London client base.
Since Mark's job is predominately advisory and, as such, is often
conducted over the telephone or via e-mail, he believes that there
is scope to work from home one day a week and to schedule his client
meetings for the four days he is in the office.
- Mark approaches his line manager, Sarah, and they establish that
there are few cost implications involved as Mark already has the
correct IT equipment and has a home office he can work comfortably
from with few adjustments (if any) required.
- Sarah is happy that there would be little impact on members of
team workloads if Mark does work from home one day a week. She
has involved them in planning for work coverage and they are all
supportive of Mark working remotely every Monday which tends to
be the least busy day of the week.
- Mark is willing to be flexible on the per day a week he works
from home so, if there are departmental meetings or client meetings
which are scheduled on a day he would not normally be in the office,
he would be prepared to come into the office for them.
- As Mark is a strong performer who Sarah is keen to retain, she
agrees to Mark working from home one day a week.
© 2005 KPMG LLP, the UK member firm of KPMG
International, a Swiss cooperative. All rights reserved.
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a Swiss cooperative.
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intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual
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