A closer look at companies executing leadership excellence
This advice, delivered by one of KPMG’s founders William Barclay Peat, remains as relevant for the firm today as it was a century ago. You might think that getting hired at an accounting giant of over 30,000 global employees requires attention to detail and a knack for numbers. At KPMG, it also requires heart.
In 2014, the company launched an initiative aimed at inspiring its workforce to reframe and elevate the meaning and purpose of their work. It started with a simple question, “What do you do at KPMG?” and a video that answered: “We Shape History!” The video was shared with employees along with an app that enabled all team members to create and share digital posters for a 10,000 Stories Challenge.
The challenge, launched in June of 2014, was for the firm’s then 27,000 member workforce to develop posters as individuals or teams to answer the “What do you do at KPMG?” question that went beyond the what and how of their work, and connected with the why. The firm offered an incentive of two extra paid days off at the end of the year if they met the 10,000 stories goal by Thanksgiving.
The goal was surpassed before the 4th of July. Soon, it became clear that the incentive wasn’t the primary motivator. Even after it was announced that the extra days off were assured, thousands more stories poured in. By Thanksgiving, 42,000 stories had been submitted.
The 10,000 Stories Challenge tapped into employees’ need to express meaning behind their work beyond a paycheck. In 2016, KPMG rose 20 places to rank No. 43 on Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For List.
The 2019 Best Place to Work results remain impressive:
93% of employees say KPMG is a great place to work
93% of employees say KPMG people here are given a lot of responsibility
93% of employees say that management is honest and ethical in its business practices
93% report feeling good about the ways the firm contributes to the community
92% agreed that they were offered professional training or development
These results would make any leader proud. Kudos to KPMG for its continued efforts to get culture right!