Cristina Gutu

KPMG Romania is developing a range of sophisticated methods and tools to attract, retain and motivate its skilled, professional Millennials.

For professional firms technical skills will always remain important for those in, or aspiring to, leadership roles. Clients expect the highest technical knowledge of leaders but this needs to be backed up by more consistent, better softer skills such as people management, emotional intelligence, creativity and growth mindset. 

Finding those leaders of tomorrow starts with good recruitment practices: KPMG Romania is looking beyond its traditional recruitment pools. As well as talking to graduates in accountancy and economics it is now targeting students from places further afield such as engineering and law school. It wants to find creative thinkers and efficient problem solvers.

The firm wants to encourage critical thinking and analysis – for areas such as audit where displaying behaviours such as challenge and scepticism is important. With so much change in business and in society in general, emotional intelligence and change management skills will be required of the partners of tomorrow.

To source those leaders of tomorrow KPMG is taking active steps visiting universities to demonstrate their business expertise and sharing inspiring stories.  Because every organisation is in a fight for talent. 

KPMG has recently completed studies that show Romania is the fastest-growing market for IT outsourced services in the European Union . KPMG Romania is competing with locally located outsourcing businesses and is having to counter criticism of the Big Four offering a poor work/life balance which could make the sector less desirable for younger generations. 

To build on its brand as an employer of choice, the firm is focussing on the health of employees, for instance discouraging excessive overtime, and trying to deploy more technology to allow agile working – such as working from home –  and smarter working using artificial intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA) to decrease low level tasks and increase career satisfaction. 

To retain sufficient high performers this has also extended to hearing how Millennials want to work and how they would like the workplace to be. Views are regularly tracked through engagement surveys and initiatives introduced as a result include flexible working arrangements - working from home is allowed two days a month and overtime can be accrued to take time off during less busy seasons – and switching from a formal dress code to one driven by common sense, a move Cristina notes has been particularly well received. 

More traditional incentives such as financial bonuses for good performance are still deployed. The firm is keenly aware that the time when people are likely to leave is at the senior/manager grade, with retention significantly improving at manager level. 

For that reason a human element will remain important. KPMG Romania has put great emphasis on mentoring and coaching with some members of the team gaining coaching qualifications. 

The firm is keen to identify its top performers and work actively with them to develop, encourage and retain them. Cristina expects that service specialisation will increase so the firm will have to deliver customised learning for its high performers to match. 

The era of classroom training is ending, it is no longer viable or desired by emerging leaders. Learning on the job and e-learning will become the norm using the digital tools which the workforce uses in every aspect of their life. The firm is experimenting with cutting-edge learning techniques such as gamification. Continuing professional development has always had an important role in professional life. This will continue but the future will see a focus on shorter, more accessible learning programmes.

Cristina describes the approach as 'trying to be human'. Tomorrow's leaders are offered coaching (and sessions are organised for them), they are encouraged to meet with and talk to partners learning from their experience and knowledge.

Millennials want their voices to be heard in the workplace. KPMG Romania is working hard to achieve that.