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Accounting company KPMG has advised staff not to talk about their former private schools or luxury ski holidays in an effort to be more inclusive.
The firm has been accused of “mad wokery” as it has introduced mandatory unconscious bias training for its 5,300 UK staff. Those who refuse to take part in the sessions risk having their bonuses taken away.
Starting in June, the sessions will help to highlight biases against people from minority communities such as ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ+ community and those with disabilities.
The sessions are also thought to educate staff on how discussions about expensive skiing holidays, gap years and private schooling can isolate other members of staff.
KPMG’s mandatory sessions have been criticised by Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen who said: “It is mad wokery. Surely they should be advising their clients ‘if you go woke you go broke’, not doing it themselves.
“Surely ‘inclusivity’, if it means anything, means employing people from all backgrounds and all life experiences. It’s interesting that the ‘bean counters to the ultra rich’ would take these measures.
“They will no doubt still be taking their exotic holidays, but just not talking about them. It seems hypocritical and counterproductive.”
The company’s decision to make the training mandatory comes one year after UK chairman Bill Michael quit after he was filmed saying he thinks unconscious bias is “crap”.
He said: “I think unconscious bias is complete crap, complete and utter crap for years, it really is. There is no such thing as unconscious bias, I don’t buy it.
“Because after every single unconscious bias training that has ever been done, nothing’s ever improved.”
UK chief people officer for KPMG Kevin Hogarth believes the training will make sure diversity and inclusion “gets the attention it deserves”.
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