KPMG: Towards a European reward strategy

A European merger at professional services firm KPMG prompted an examination of reward practices across the businesses coming together in a new partnership, KPMG ELLP. The process has taken four years to date, and is described as a “journey beginning somewhere between Blackfriars, London and Frankfurt” by Ingrid Waterfield, UK head of performance and reward for the partnership.

The journey involved new opportunities and challenges, changes in senior leadership and approach, and plenty of lessons learned along the way.

This report by e-reward describes the highs that came with setting off on the journey, the lows of tackling difficult issues, how Waterfield and her fellow reward professionals had to change direction mid-course and arriving at the destination, all the better for the experience but with some lost luggage en route.

The process of moving towards a European approach to reward can be split into two broad phases:

  • January 2007 to October 2008: the newly formed partnership (ELLP) between the UK and German businesses of KPMG introduced consistent grading across the two operations, and a single-year, performance-driven bonus plan.

  • October 2008 to November 2010: the reward professionals across the now expanded operations of KPMG ELLP took a step back, examined the previous approach and developed a reward strategy in a more organic way. 


Organisation profile

Setting off at a pace
Some harmonisation
Consistent grading
European bonus plan
The “lows”
Changing direction
New reward strategy
Philosophy and principles
Reward guidelines
Buy-in crucial
Growth challenge
Evaluating understanding

Document 1: Overview of KPMG European reward strategy project