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KPMG highlights how inclusive tech supports neurodivergent staff, and offers 5 tips for DE&I.

KPMG values diversity and inclusion in everything that they do.

With a workforce of 236,000 people, they have many strategies in place to support their diverse employees. One of their strategies includes inclusive software, Read&Write for Work.

Below discover how inclusive technology benefits a neurodiverse workforce, and discover what other Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) strategies KPMG have in place.

Outcomes

  • On average, it takes 3 years for a person to disclose that they have a neurodiverse condition
  • Read&Write allows KPMG to offer inclusive technology to every single colleague, anytime and anywhere, with no need to self-disclose

DE&I at KPMG

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. Their purpose is to “to make a difference today while making the world a better place for future generations.” 

When it comes to their people, KPMG place being inclusive at the heart of everything they do.

Speaking on this, Neil Eustice, Accessibility manager (Enterprise Wide Technology Group), says;

We empower our people to be themselves and respect others – its core to our values and what we believe in. That's why we are focused on creating an inclusive environment where our people can flourish, both as professionals and as individuals. By valuing diversity, we can see the world through many different perspectives, and collaborate together to bring creative solutions to complex issues.

KPMG firms operate in 145 countries and territories. Collectively, they employ more than 236,000 people. 

When it comes to supporting a large and diverse workforce, Neil says;

“We have diversity targets, which encapsulate our ambition to become a more representative workforce. Each year, we publish our progress. This helps us to keep focused on achieving our commitments. We know that we have a long road ahead. There's always more to do in order to attract, retain and enable progress for people. But we're committed to always doing our best to create a place where all employees can reach their full potential.”

As part of DE&I at KPMG, inclusive technology plays an important role.

Inclusive technology

Inclusive technology can offer a simple yet effective solution to help employers become more neuroinclusive.

1 in 5 people have a neurodifference, such as Dyslexia, Autism, and ADHD. Each neurodivergent employee is unique, and will view the world differently than their colleagues. With this comes innovative thinking, and out-of-the box problem-solving. It’s important that working environments welcome different ways of thinking, doing and achieving.

Read&Write is an inclusive software that allows employees to understand and be understood in their own way. Employees can choose to hear written text read out loud, dictate information rather than type, and much more. Intuitive writing features and concentration tools particularly benefit staff with neurodifferences, English as a Second Language or low literacy.

With Read&Write, employees feel supported anytime and anywhere, without the need to ask for support. 

Neil explains the benefits of this;

“We know we have many neurodivergent colleagues. We also know that it takes on average 3 years for a person to disclose that they have a neurodiverse condition. So really the number of neurodivergent colleagues we have is higher than we think. What we know is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

“We have a UK site licence for Texthelp’s Read&Write for Work software. It’s available to every single colleague. Anyone can download it to their computer at any time, without having to jump through any hoops. No explanations or budget discussions. Just download, automatically install and start using.”

Neurodiversity is still largely misunderstood. When it comes to neurodiverse conditions, negative attitudes and stigma remain a problem. Neurodivergent employees may be hesitant to disclose their neurodifference because of this. This may mean that many are being left without the support they need to achieve in their own way.

In fact, 43% of employees with disabilities (and neurodifferences) do not feel comfortable to approach their employer to ask for change

Neil highlights;

“If people are going to disclose any adverse conditions in the workplace, they need to feel comfortable that doing so will only help, not hinder their career."

Read&Write offers organisations a tool to support all staff, without them having to speak up and ask for change. It offers a great starting point for many organisations who are kick starting their journey to becoming neuroinclusive. Or are searching for new ways to improve.

Alongside inclusive technology, it’s also important to work on creating a place where all employees feel confident to be themselves. KPMG understand the importance of this. Below, Neil shares some key tips.

5 tips for DE&I

As Accessibility Manager at KPMG, Neil shares 5 extra tips to help support your DE&I efforts:

  1. Educate others. Challenge stigma.
    “Unfortunately, there’s still misconceptions about neurodivergence. To challenge stigma, we showcase the diversity of talent among our neurodivergent employees. Using videos and documents, we enable our neurodivergent colleagues to tell their own story. They talk about their neurodifferences, and share what they do at KPMG. With this, we’re able to showcase the benefits of having that diversity of thought across teams. We also educate our teams on being able to understand and recognize neurodivergent traits. For example, we provide one pager documents about different neurodiverse conditions. This helps our employees to understand what they can start or stop doing to help, and not hinder, a neurodivergent colleague. From this, they can produce more accessible information and be more empathetic toward those they work with.”
  2. Be transparent.
    “In KPMG, we try to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. So, we publish what we're doing to keep us honest in our endeavours. This is really important in DE&I. Being transparent with employees and external stakeholders builds trust. It also helps to keep us focused on our goals, and keeps us accountable. That helps to keep our DE&I commitments a priority for everyone across the organisation.”
  3. Make it easy for staff to ask for change. But don’t make it necessary.
    “We make it easy for staff to find and receive adjustments. And if needed, we can supply workplace assessments to ensure our people know what adjustments would be best for them. We also supply diagnostic assessments, through third party suppliers. This is particularly useful for those taking professional exams. With a diagnosis they can gain extra support, such as extra time. But it’s important to remember that not everyone wants to disclose, or ask for change. So the more we can offer as standard, the better. For example, offering inclusive software as part of our office suite of tools.”
  4. Create a buddy system.
    “A buddy system is where colleagues with a particular condition or disability can volunteer to be a buddy to another in the same situation. It gives neurodivergent colleagues a person dedicated to support them. Someone they can rely on, with the same lived experience as them, to answer questions and offer advice.”
  5. Working with partners.
    “We use third parties to help improve what we do and how we do it. For example, we are partners with the Business Disability Forum. As part of our partnership, we have access to complete tool kits to help line managers and people leaders manage employees in neuroinclusion in mind.” 

    Speaking of another valuable partnership is Chris Haslem, part of KPMG’s Engineering business. Chris, alongside KPMGs software engineers and cloud engineers, work with Auticon to gain insights from Autistic Developers;

    “First of all, the people we've worked with from Auticon have been simply outstanding developers. Their ability to write code and solve problems is outstanding. The really interesting thing for me though is the broader impact they've had on our organisation. Working with Autistic people means we’ve been able to gain so much knowledge around supporting Autistic employees. We  know how to help the people that are working with us to flourish. And it’s actually helped us to increase productivity for the rest of the team too.

    “For example, being very specific and direct with task briefing is helpful for Autistic employees. But actually being direct has really helped everyone to be much more productive. It’s been an unexpected knock on effect, but it's been fantastic.

    “By bringing in people who have a neurodifferce has really helped us to understand how to work well with neurodivergent  people. That’s important. We need to make sure that people who are neurodivergent have the ability to be themselves at KPMG, and really deliver the value that we all know they're capable of.”

Discover more about Read&Write