Kristine Remedios, Chief Inclusion and Social Impact Officer, KPMG Canada

One of the things I’ve come to learn through my work is that inclusion is a very broad term. A lot of people understand the concept, but what does inclusion actually look like in terms of behaviour on the ground? More importantly, what does it look like in the workplace?

A competency framework can help with this. A lot of organizations have competencies, and likely integrate these into their HR practices. But beyond things like promotions and hiring, there are other ways you can use diversity and inclusion competencies to provide those examples of inclusion in practice that will help drive meaningful organizational change.

Here are some of the ways we have done this at KPMG.

Improving training

In 2015 we formally launched a new inclusion and diversity strategy, and one of our big focus areas was bias and cultural competence training. In the span of a year, we had trained 80% of the 700 partners in the firm. We also trained HR professionals, including recruiting departments and HR leadership. We called it inclusive leadership training 1.0.

We were so successful that people then came knocking on my door to say, “that was really good, but what can I do to be inclusive? What does that look like in my day-to-day work?”

We have a global competency model at KPMG,  and within that, one of our competencies is “Champions Inclusion”.  So we drilled down into this competency to find out what inclusion actually meant to us as an organization. We developed this definition into an “Inclusion 2.0” training session, and provided formal training around what it looks like to be inclusive. As we go into the future, we are now looking for ways to scale this and roll it out more broadly to our people at all levels across the firm.

Embedding Inclusion in Talent Processes

Over the last few years we have focused on integrating our inclusive leadership competencies into our recruitment, goal setting and performance management processes. To achieve this, we identified actionable strategies our People Managers can leverage to spot and interrupt their personal biases and exercise more inclusive behaviours as they go through these processes.

This is something that could easily be done with TRIEC’s model as well. What I really like about this tool is that you can use it to learn what inclusive behaviour looks like. For example, what does it mean to assess performance capabilities in an inclusive way? It means taking a strengths-based approach to capability assessment, recognizing that individuals can gain and demonstrate knowledge in a variety of ways. Assessing performance capabilities in an inclusive way also means recognizes your own personal biases and seeking evidence and feedback for assessment from a variety of sources to combat those limitations. It means challenging underlying assumptions about what leadership potential means. This is one of the ways TRIEC’s model could work well for an organization that has been engaged in diversity and inclusion work for quite some time.

Creating an Inclusion Toolkit

In the last few years at KPMG, we’ve also been creating what we call an inclusive toolkit. We’ve put together all the resources that will help drive inclusion within the firm, whether that is education around bias, or videos, or other materials, and we housed them in one place so people can access them easily. The toolkit is regularly accessed by HR professionals, leaders on the ground, and our inclusion and diversity council.

At KPMG, we’re always looking to leverage different pieces of material that would work in our organization and add these materials to the toolkit. We could easily add TRIEC’s Inclusive Workplace Competencies to the toolkit, as almost a self-service model for people to go in and individually pick and choose where they think they need to enhance their skills.

Many people are familiar with competency frameworks, but sometimes they can be really high level, and not set out the actual behaviours or cues that signal to somebody that they have that competency. We need to think about competencies differently and not apply them the same way we’ve always been applying them. TRIEC’s model provides practical examples of what inclusive behaviour looks like. Through leveraging frameworks like this, organizations can use competencies in a more meaningful way and drive real behaviour change.

This article was adapted from the webinar “Building Better Organizations with the Inclusive Workplace Competencies”, which was first broadcast in November 2017. You can view the full webinar here.

Find out more about TRIEC’s Inclusive Workplace Competencies framework.