KPMG attracts, retains employees with generous paid vacation time

When global accounting firm KPMG hires a new employee, that recruit gets five weeks of paid vacation time—on Day One.

“The war for talent is constant and very real, and we need to put in place programs and policies and benefits that really attract, motivate and retain talented employees,” says Barbara Wankoff, KPMG’s national director for workplace solutions.

Yet some dedicated employees can’t seem to tear themselves away from work. So KPMG prods them to use their vacation days. Last year, for instance, the organization sponsored a travel photo contest to encourage employees to go on trips and snap pictures. Employees voted on seven area winners and one national winner, who won a $5,000 travel voucher. Area winners got smaller prizes.

The company also takes advantage of midweek national holidays to give employees extra time off. Last summer, when July Fourth fell on a Wednesday, KPMG gave employees Thursday and Friday off as well.

To help employees celebrate the holiday, the firm sent each one home with a cooler full of steak, chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs. “We said to people, take the time, have a nice barbecue with family and friends,” Wankoff says.

Contact: Barbara Wankoff at