• Senda Kavindele, Director |
  • Amara Sharif, Manager |
5 min read

GroceryAid’s ‘D&I in Grocery LIVE!’ brought together more than 1,600 senior practitioners in inclusion, diversity and equity (IDE) in October 2023. This annual cross-grocery-industry event serves as a platform to connect, exchange ideas and inspire in order to make measurable impact.

D&I in Grocery LIVE! is part of the D&I in Grocery Programme, made by the industry, for the industry. KPMG was a partner in 2022 and 2023 and is excited to continue our partnership into 2024, led by Linda Ellett, KPMG Partner and UK Head of Consumer Markets, Leisure and Retail.

The senseless murder of George Floyd in May 2020, and the global reckoning with racial injustice, epitomised in the Black Lives Matter movement, were pivotal topics for discussion for KPMG. Senda Kavindele, director in Environmental, Social and Governance and Amara Sharif, Cross Company Allyship Programme Lead presented a session on our Black Lives Action Plan – three years on from its implementation – and our trailblazing Cross Company Allyship Programme that this year will include over 900 mentors and mentees.

KPMG’s Black Lives Action Plan, launched just one month after the murder of George Floyd, is our commitment to reshape the dialogue around inclusivity. It has meant listening to our Black Heritage colleagues, re-evaluating our existing initiatives, developing new strategic interventions and ensuring that our actions are relevant and can build a fairer future for all.

We’re building a culture that is open, safe, and inclusive and that operates to the highest ethical and quality standards. A culture and environment that is continually listening, evolving, and learning, reflected in five key values of ‘For better’, ‘Excellence’, ‘Integrity’, ‘Courage’ and ‘Together’.

Headway on Black Lives Action Plan – We do what matters – For Better

Senda Kavindele shared some of the firm’s successes with our Black Lives Action Plan at D&I in Grocery LIVE!

  • We made a commitment to double our representation of Black Heritage partners and directors by 2022 and to do more to engage and retain our Black colleagues. Not only did we surpass this goal, but we have set ambitious new targets to grow the representation of Black partner and directors from 0.6% and 1.4% in 2021 to 5% and 6% by 2030.
  • Our Black Heritage Talent Programme equips junior and mid-level managers with the tools and frameworks to accelerate their careers. The programme includes coaching, mentoring and sponsorship. Additionally, a dedicated programme for aspiring partners, mentored by some of our most senior leaders, is helping them to achieve their career ambitions.
  • Our Black Heritage Talent Insight Programme offers students the opportunity to gain insights into the work KPMG does, build networks, develop professional skills and be considered for graduate positions.

Education – We never stop learning and improving – Excellence

  • Our Black Heritage Allyship Programme offers opportunities for colleagues to expand their networks, learn from shared experiences and heighten awareness of barriers to progression. In 2023, 280 colleagues (140 pairings) brought the total registrations to more than 1,000 since the programme began in 2020. It is paying off, with 35% of Black Heritage colleagues in the first two cohorts promoted within 12 months of joining the programme.
  • To accelerate our inclusion efforts, we made IDE learning mandatory for all KPMG people in June 2022.
  • Our Black Lives Matter Learning module, which has already been accessed by more than 800 people across our firm, plays a significant role in enhancing understanding of racial equity.

Leadership and accountability – We do what is right – Integrity

  • Our executive committee and business leaders are committed to driving tangible and meaningful change on racial equity and hold themselves accountable for success.

As Senda puts it: “KPMG is on a journey, and we’ve made some significant and positive strides towards achieving our ambitions.” Meanwhile, external validation comes from organisations such as Business in the Community, which ranks our Black Lives Action Plan ahead of market equivalents for its maturity and ambition, and Investing in Ethnicity, which places our firm in the top organisations for leadership and commitment to improving racial diversity.

Extending Cross Company Allyship – We think and act boldly – Courage

The success of KPMG’s internal Black Heritage Allyship Programme is too big to keep to ourselves.

So, in September 2021 KPMG launched the Cross Company Allyship Programme. The Cross-Company Allyship Programme pairs mentors and mentees, from both KPMG and our client businesses, to gain experiences and access networks outside their own organisations.

In our pilot year, we enrolled 132 participants (66 mentors and 66 mentees) from seven valued corporate clients and KPMG. These pairs met virtually every month and participated in quarterly learning programmes on a range of topics, from navigating a “squiggly” career path to tackling imposter syndrome. By the end of the programme, 45% of all mentees had either earned promotion or moved laterally within their organisations.

In 2022, the cohort grew five-fold. KPMG and 22 client companies, spanning sectors such as big tech, education, media and charity, enrolled 650 participants (325 pairs) across the UK and the Netherlands.

In November 2023, we launched our third programme, with the ambition to grow numbers to 1,000 participants. We've exceeded the target and now have 1012 people involved.

In pursuit of this goal, Amara Sharif, extended an invitation to attendees at GroceryAid’s D&I in Grocery LIVE! Her request was simple: match the number of mentors with the number of mentees you bring to the programme.

Amara knows from experience how valuable this programme is. Not only has she experienced her own “squiggly” career, leaving behind 14 years in strategic IT transformations to delve into IDE, but she’s on the programme herself. She is mentored by an ally in the energy sector, who she describes as “phenomenal”. She adds: “I get to bounce off her and talk to her about my imposter syndrome, my ambitions… knowing it’s a safe space.”

The programme aims to develop a pipeline of future talent by increasing representation of people of Black and Ethnic Minority heritage in the workplace. It not only benefits individuals but the organisations for which they work.

How IDE data drives impactful actions – We draw strength from our differences – Together

Our IDE response isn’t based on guesswork or assumptions. Instead, KPMG collects data from employees on IDE characteristics, including ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability and neurodivergence, to inform our understanding of the diversity of our business. This data equips us with insights to make targeted and positive changes to the way in which we operate and how our employees feel.

Insights help us to identify and address blind spots in our IDE pathway that may stand in the way of meaningful action. They provide a framework for holding our leaders to account when IDE targets are integrated into business and personal performance criteria.

Ultimately, data provides a measure and a baseline. It is hard evidence of where the business sits on IDE, where it is making progress and what remains to be done.