FEATURE30 November 2020

Role reversal

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Olu Odubajo, customer and digital consultant at KPMG, co-led the organisation’s pilot reverse-mentoring scheme. He talks about the programme, accountability, and the importance of listening to employees.


What is the background to the reverse-mentoring programme and what are its aims?

The black heritage reverse-mentoring programme involves more senior employees gaining insights and understanding from more junior employees about their experiences and day-to-day life at KPMG.

A pilot kicked off in 2017 with a smaller subset group, based on feedback from our Afro-Caribbean network and our employees about their experiences, and how we could better engage the partner community to help us build a more inclusive culture. We got lots of really positive feedback, so we started the formal version of the programme in March 2018.

I was the first mentor on the pilot programme, mentoring the firm’s then managing partner – and, now, global chief operating officer – Philip Davidson, on what it was like being a black colleague at KPMG. I was responsible for co-leading the pilot programme, along with the Afro-Caribbean employee network.

As the feedback was really positive, we required more resource to roll it out more broadly ...