Four years ago, right after being hired as a project manager at KPMG LLP, Maureen Gilchrist asked to change her work hours so she could help care for her father, who had been hospitalized. Her manager agreed to let her work 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. rather than 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. "It really built a lot of loyalty that the department leadership was so flexible and treated me like a person," says Gilchrist, now an IT associate director. "I was concerned and worried, and they enabled me to do my job and also attend to my dad."
Many companies pay lip service to recognizing employees as total people, but KPMG really demonstrates it, says IT director Brent Anderson, a 16-year veteran. In particular, he says, the company provides career growth opportunities -- including job rotation, job shadowing and mentoring programs -- at a pace that works for the individual. "This isn't a one-time statement or something they do to match what others are doing," he says. "It's a living effort to help people develop their careers and understand their value to the firm."
Mentoring gets particular emphasis. In IT, 291 employees take part in the program.
Personally, Anderson says, he was allowed to scale back on travel when his daughters were younger but still was able move from being a manager of four people to a director-level position.
KPMG also takes community involvement seriously. Employees are allowed to use 12 hours of paid time per year for volunteer work. In 2008, about 6,000 KPMG workers participated, donating more than 55,000 hours.