All businesses have a purpose to grow and be profitable, but consumers are increasingly demanding companies commit to more than their bottom line for the benefit of society.
“A Fireman! I want to be a Fireman!” was a declaration that I made one morning at the breakfast table to my Father at the age of seven. My Father, a chartered accountant, responded supportively saying, “My son, you can be anything you want to be.” I sat back in my chair, ate my Weetbix and smiled. I was going to be a Fireman!
Some 40 years later, I am able to draw upon two observations:
• I never did grow up to be a Fireman - the challenge of matching supply with demand and the intricacies of fiscal and monetary policy was far too intriguing. I graduated as an Economist and become a Management Consultant.
• When seeking out employers, I actively looked for those whose values and culture took an active interest in their communities and promoted the well-being of others.
Every day, across Australia, the men and women of the fire service put themselves at risk to save property, possession, memories and lives of other people. They are selfless in their actions, brave in the face of adversity and humble when recognised for their contribution.
Each day, at KPMG, I work with a team that strives to make a positive difference for our clients and communities. They look at how they can create value for stakeholders, safeguard shareholder investments, and operate in ways that are innovative and inclusive.
When I first heard the KPMG phrase about working “shoulder-to-shoulder”, it immediately brought about images of collaboration and teamwork; a willingness to “work with” as opposed to “do to”; and a desire to commit to the long-term. In essence, it reflects the firm’s overall purpose “to inspire confidence and empower change” – for the benefit of our clients, people and communities.
When I ask people why they joined KPMG, I am constantly told that it is because of a culture and set of demonstrative actions associated with supporting the community, the environment and its employees. I am told that programs like our Jawun secondments, where various organisations come together with Indigenous people to affect lasting change, is seen as a real differentiator. That we provide an environment which enables everyone to succeed. Where it is a safe space for our people to bring their whole selves to work and contribute.
What is next?
As an organisation, competing for the best and brightest talent and wanting to maintain high levels of staff engagement, we need to respond to their demand for purpose.
In 2016, a number of Australian organisations like KPMG, committed to supporting the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These ambitious goals aim to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality, and protect the planet over a 15 year period. While the SDG’s are now central to our firm’s corporate citizen strategy, nothing is more demonstrative than putting the full force of KPMG behind a purpose.
On 25 September, KPMG Australia will hold its inaugural firm-wide volunteering day to #Act4SDGs. 7000+ KPMG employees will be heading out into local communities, volunteering their time, skills and expertise in various projects aligned to the goals of the SDG.
While I may not have grown up to be a Fireman, I too look forward to volunteering
my time, engaging with our staff and the community, and helping to make the world a better place for my children.