KPMG UK’s RaiseYou programme was launched in 2018 with the aim to fundamentally advance the firm in its journey to achieving gender parity. The programme focuses on a series of practical interventions, delivered in conjunction with Unida Consulting, a specialist D&I consulting firm. This includes bespoke mentoring and career support, a calendar of developmental-focused events and an extensive programme of work to address specific career blockers identified by female colleagues. Through these measures, RaiseYou has supported more than 180 colleagues to achieve their career ambitions, with 100% of shortlisted candidates in the 2021 cohort achieving promotion.
KPMG wanted to create an inclusive and diverse environment with inspiring leaders and an empowered pipeline of high potential diverse talent. An outcome-driven programme, RaiseYou provides tangible benefits supporting women in their careers, personal goals and well being. Global recognition across KPMG (acknowledged at its global Financial Services Women’s SteerCo) has meant the programme has become a leading case study for others across network firms to support their diversity agendas. The pace at which the programme has grown and developed over the last four years and how it has created a domino effect where individuals on the programme (past and present) have supported, mentored, and coached a broader cohort of colleagues is having a profound impact empowering its future leaders, spreading awareness – and spreading it authentically through personal stories.
The publication of material on the programme, which included content beyond that typically published by communications teams, highlighted to WIBF judges how seriously the project had been taken by KPMG. The focus on mid to senior-level career women also stood out as did the proper investment in support from external consultants and in terms of training materials.
RaiseYou differs from previous programmes and networks based on its bespoke, tailored approach to every participant on the programme for a full year, plus creating an ongoing community through its alumni, which enables ongoing developmental support. It gives hands-on support to create new career habits; partnership with Unida Consulting offers a safe environment for participants to have honest career conversations during their 1:1 bespoke external coaching; client cross-collaboration as RaiseYou has been a topic of interest for KPMG’s clients and the firm has also gone out to lead round-table events to discuss gender equality in financial services. Above all, this programme creates a palpable ripple effect. A significant number of women, who were previously part of the programme, are now mentoring junior female colleagues, paving the way for these women to move into senior positions. At the end of the year, where women felt they had not yet fully achieved their potential and would benefit from further support, they had the opportunity to stay on the programme.
It was quickly realised that it was the same senior individuals driving the gender diversity agenda and that this had to change – it was the RaiseYou programme that shifted the dial in broader senior management taking accountability and ownership. Across financial services, RaiseYou has played a fundamental part in educating leadership teams and getting them to really understand – and strive to play an active role in – supporting and developing diverse talent.
The impact of RaiseYou is clearly evidenced not just by the increase in numbers of women who are progressing through to more senior and leadership roles. It demonstrates to the firm’s many talented women that a career in consulting is both possible, achievable, and rewarding. The programme has also built a strong community to openly discuss the challenges within the firm and build in support structures, including the design of a new flexible working framework (including policies and processes) to embed flexible working into the firm’s culture; support colleagues from ethnic heritages to ensure they feel supported through mentorship and coaching within their cohorts; and use real stories from workstream leads, sponsors and Unida Consulting to create internal videos and open up discussions about what the new working models mean for culture and inclusion.
“The RaiseYou programme has been instrumental in shifting the dial on gender equality at KPMG. I have heard first-hand from many women in the organisation how the programme has supported their development and confidence, enabling them to thrive.”
Bina Mehta, Chair, KPMG