Getting flexibility to all parts of an organisation

KPMG’s #WorksForMe campaign aims to change the working culture in Deal Advisory.

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KPMG has been advertising flexible positions for a while and has flexible policies across the business, but, like many employers,  there were pockets of the business where flexibility was more complex.

One of those areas was Deal Advisory, due to the project-based, service-oriented nature of the work and the need to jump on flights at short notice and get to meetings.

Last year, senior recruiter Abi Vann and her team began looking for case studies of flexible working in Deal Advisory to highlight how it might work there. She found that quite a lot of individuals were quietly working flexibly. She felt it was important to shine a light on these as a recruitment tool and also because it was something many of KPMG’s competitors in Deal Advisory were not doing.

KPMG set up a ‘#WorksForMe’ campaign to open up a conversation across Deal Advisory on flexible working. Initially they were going to focus on just one area of Deal Advisory, but they have since won senior backing to take a more comprehensive approach.

In the last few months Abi and her team have managed to gather so many examples of flexible working that they have not been able to include them all. There are people working flexibly because they are studying, people who are travelling, doing sports and many other reasons. Having caring responsibilities is one of the most common ones.

Normalising flexible working

The campaign focuses on what flexible working means to the individuals who do it and how it can be made to fit both business and individual needs. The flexibility people need will depend on the deals they are working on at any given time as well as individual circumstances, says Abi. “Everyone’s situation is different,” she states.

The only pattern they can’t do is compressed hours because of the project-based nature of the work. The campaign targets all levels from assistant manager up to director. Abi cites a senior manager who works four days a week who has just been promoted to partner, for instance.

Work on the campaign began in the summer and it has been promoted internally by senior leaders in Deal Advisory and supported by line managers. Abi’s team have put together an eight-minute film of interviews from flexible workers and there have been posts on Deal Advisory’s LinkedIn page. Individuals who want to work flexibly can talk informally about their needs before they approach HR.

“Support from senior leadership has been huge,” says Abi. “Diversity is one of the biggest issues in Deal Advisory and this campaign is part of that. My job is about recruitment, but this also relates to retention. It’s about changing the culture so it has to be both an internal and external campaign.”

While some of the people she has interviewed have been working flexibly for some years, Abi says the campaign marks a cultural shift which shows that it is supported from the top.

Abi’s team are now hoping to promote the campaign externally through their careers and Deal Advisory pages. She is working with recruitment agencies to get the message out and thinks it will open up big talent pools for Deal Advisory. Many people come to Deal Advisory from investment banking where they work long hours and may be looking for greater flexibility. Abi says she is keen to talk to anyone with transferable skills who has experience of working on deals.

“We think it is something that is worth shouting about,” says Andy Hendon, Employer Brand and Attraction Manager at KPMG. “We really want to raise the profile of colleagues who are working flexibly and to change the culture in Deal Advisory.”



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