KPMG putting people first

23:00 | 25/04/2016
Over the past 20 years, KPMG in Vietnam has expanded from a small auditing and accounting firm to become one of the largest professional services providers in the country. A large part of the firm’s success can be attributed to its partners and the 1,000 professionals working for them. VIR’s Hoang Anh talked to Paul Huynh, KPMG Vietnam and Cambodia’s director of People, to understand more about KPMG’s unique “People First” culture.

Why does KPMG place so much emphasis on people engagement and people development?

You will often hear a lot of executives say their “people are their greatest asset”, but when it comes down to applying that mantra through visible actions and programmes, they come up rather short. At KPMG, we see a direct correlation between the investment in our people programmes and client satisfaction. When our people are happy and take pride in their work, that translates directly into higher productivity and exceptional client service, which in turn helps us to be more profitable. We see it as a huge competitive advantage, making putting our people first essential.

Can you shed light on some of the leading people programmes you have introduced at KPMG?

My job at KPMG is to help cultivate a culture where our employees feel “happy, healthy, and safe”. With this mantra, we have introduced a wide range of initiatives from Koffee Club chats between our partners and staff to our very own KPMG Care Hotline, a dedicated hotline for our staff to call if they need advice or support. We have also introduced a Feel Good Flexible Friday initiative where, at various months of the year, our staff can come to work in casual attire  and can work flexibly from home, a coffee shop, or any location they desire after lunchtime. Trust and respect is a huge part of our culture, so flexible working arrangements are now part of our human resources policy and something which we will continue to encourage.

It is also important for us to build a culture where everyone at KPMG has a voice. Whether it is through the global staff engagement survey or live chat platforms where staff have the opportunity to talk in real time with our chairman and CEO, we want our people to be part of the decision making process, and indeed the solution, on what programs they would like us to introduce to help them become more successful at their jobs and in their private lives.

Why is KPMG’s stance on diversity and inclusion core to the firm?

We firmly believe that diversity and inclusion helps strengthen our business, enriches our culture, and allows every single employee to be completely themselves at work. When employees feel like they can bring “their whole self” to work, that is when you unlock their potential and new ideas and innovations flourish, and that is when you can deliver real value to your clients. Therefore, embedding diversity and inclusion in our culture through supportive initiatives, like the Pride@KPMG network for our LGBT employees, and our Mums&Dads@KPMG for our KPMG parents, is a key part of our people strategy, and at KPMG we will continue to lead the conversation around these topics, because it really is at the heart of everything we do.

KPMG has been voted as ‘the best place to work’, particularly for fresh graduates. What is your advice about landing a job at KPMG?

We are right in the middle of our 2016 Graduate Recruitment campaign at the moment, and as I have been going around visiting various universities, applicants’ calibre has been extremely high. My advice for graduates and anyone wanting to work at our firm is to prepare and really do your research on the job you are applying for, as well as the company itself. Being able to articulate what you want to do and why you want to work for us is important. Also, ensure that you spend time to fine tune your online application and CV before clicking the “submit” button. We receive hundreds and thousands of applications, so you need to ensure that your application stands out from all the rest. Finally, my last piece of advice is really just to be yourself through the entire process. We are looking for someone who will fit in with our values and culture, and when you are true to who you are and that fit is right, it is a win-win for both you and KPMG.

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