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KPMG: Workforce Diversity for Competitiveness


GOLD COAST, Australia--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Susan Ferrier, a speaker at the marcus evans HR Summit 2011 on diversity and employee engagement. a style='font-siz

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									KPMG: Workforce Diversity for Competitiveness
Susan Ferrier, a speaker at the marcus evans HR Summit 2011 on diversity and employee engagement.

HR Summit 2011
February 15, 2011 03:03 PM Eastern Time 

GOLD COAST, Australia--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--

HR Summit 2011
Gold Coast, Australia, 6 - 8 March

Interview with: Susan Ferrier, Head of People, Performance & Culture, KPMG

In today’s globalised world there is a competitive advantage in being able to put different perspectives on the table,
says Susan Ferrier, Head of People, Performance & Culture, at KPMG. A speaker at the marcus evans HR
Summit 2011 at the Gold Coast in Australia, 6 - 8 March, Ferrier shares her thoughts on diversity, employee
engagement and how Human Resources (HR) directors can capitalise on what motivates their people.

How important is diversity in the workforce and how can organisations capitalise on it?

Susan Ferrier: “In today’s workplace, having a diverse population is incredibly important. The benefits of a diverse
workforce include innovation, increased engagement and economic growth. Organisations are often operating in an
international or multi-faceted national context, and to service customers well, they need to attract and retain people
from the full range of demographic segments. Having a diverse workforce brings a range of useful perspectives to the
table and there is a significant competitive advantage if organisations are able to optimise these differences in their

What is the best way of managing differences in a diverse workforce? What has worked well for you?

Susan Ferrier: “Having a diverse workforce does not just happen; the organisation needs to have a specific strategy
and stated goals and metrics. There needs to be strong sponsorship and accountability from senior leadership who
are actively engaged in the diversity agenda.

For managing differences, a top-down and bottoms up approach works well. A firm needs to establish diversity
goals, strategies and practises at every level and ensure they are well embedded. In our firm, diversity is driven by
our CEO and senior leadership. We ensure that our leaders and managers have a well developed awareness and
understanding of the commercial and ethical case for diversity and we actively work with teams across the firm to
appreciate and value differences.” 

How do you engage talent?

Susan Ferrier: “What engages individuals differs in each organisation. One tool we use is a survey that allows us to
measure and analyse what engages our people. We look at our results by gender, job category, geography and
division, and we drill down to understand what engages and motivates our people. We have found that our values
and being a values-driven organisation is an important element in engagement. Clarity and access to a varied and
interesting career path is crucial. People also appreciate honest and constructive conversations about how to
improve and develop their skills and capabilities. Reward and recognition are also motivating, but it is not just about
paying people well. It is also about recognising and appreciating effort and good work: and this is effective when it is
public recognition and when it is one-to-one.” 

What is in store for HR professionals?

Susan Ferrier: “HR is coming of age as a discipline and a profession. In the next decade we will see many more
people with HR experience and expertise making an outstanding contribution at the senior management level. I
suspect that some will move into senior leadership roles in executive teams in major Australian and international

The skills and capability that HR professionals build, uniquely position them as future senior leaders of businesses.
Companies that will succeed in the coming years are those currently investing in building diversity and leadership
capability in a sustainable context. A deep understanding of what motivates and engages people how to unlock and
capitalise on people’s potential will be critical for the ongoing success of organisations in the future.” 

marcus evans
Summits Division
Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager
Tel: + 357 22 849 313
Summit Website:
marcus evans group – hr sector portal


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