Michael Bach, KPMG: 2009 IS Award Winner: Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award

They say change comes best from within, and at one of Canada’s leading professional services firms, it originated with Michael Bach. Several years ago, he approached KPMG‘s head of human resources with an idea to bring positive diversity practices together under one umbrella and make it a company priority.

“Michael told me that if we were serious about diversity, we needed to put full time resources in place to focus on the work – and he wanted the job. He wrote a business case, and it was unanimously approved by our management committee,” recalls Mario Paron, Chief HR Officer at KPMG.

Now the firm’s National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with a team of two and a half , Bach has introduced a broad spectrum of initiatives and programs that are designed to find, attract and develop diverse talent, including that of skilled immigrants.

“KPMG has traditionally welcomed diverse groups, but hadn’t really formalized policies to entrench those beliefs and create a truly inclusive workplace. I saw an opportunity for us to become a leader in workforce diversification and employer of choice,” recounts Bach.

Under Michael’s leadership, KPMG has been named one of the Best Employers of New Canadians in 2008 and 2009, and one of the Best Diversity Employers in 2008, 2009 and 2010. It’s the only professional services firm to receive recognition in both categories, in consecutive years.

Initiatives include reaching out to immigrant communities to identify professional candidates through career fairs, and participation in the Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) conference. Bach has worked closely with recruiters and hiring managers to ensure KPMG has a truly open recruiting process.

He also developed diversity training that touches on cultural differences and is now mandatory of all new hires. All performance managers receive training in cross cultural communication.

KPMG is one of the leading partners in TRIEC’s Mentoring Partnership, with Bach himself among the mentors. Today, almost 15 per cent of KPMG’s GTA workforce received post secondary education outside Canada, and nearly 40 per cent were born outside of Canada.

“Nothing fills my heart with more joy than when someone tells me that I made a difference in their worklife at KPMG,” says Bach.