BDO, KPMG are ‘top employers’

The first-place winners in this year’s 2012 Top Employer Awards are the Cayman Islands offices of BDO and KPMG. The competition is hosted by the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals.

BDO, a financial services firm with a staff of 32, placed first among a field of four designated ‘top employers’ in the small-to-medium company division. Consulting firm KPMG, with a staff of 195, placed first ahead of seven others in the large company division, including last year’s first place winner Scotiabank, which placed second this year.

Now in its third year, Cayman’s competition is based on Canada’s Top 100 Employers contest. University of Toronto professor Daniel Ondrack sits on the advisory board of the Canadian competition and is one of the judges for the Cayman awards.

Mr. Ondrack, academic director of executive development programmes at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, delivered the keynote address at Saturday night’s awards ceremony at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort. In his speech, Mr. Ondrack talked about the trend of business’ emphasising flexible work scheduling and workplace diversity in order to attract top talent and increase employee performance. In many businesses, success hinges upon the quality of human employees rather than the amount of money invested in mechanical or technical equipment.

“More and more companies are becoming human-capital businesses,” he said.

Being seen as a top company to work for becomes more important as the physical place of business becomes less important, especially in industries involving data, data transfer and data processing.

“The geographic location doesn’t really matter anymore. What matters is whether it’s a good place to work,” said Mr. Ondrack, who also lectures at the University College at the Cayman Islands.

When a company offers “flex-work”, that means an employee can choose to work out of the office or at home, and/or at hours of their choosing rather than the traditional Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. That can be particularly attractive for young workers with families, or older experienced workers who don’t want to retire completely, but don’t want to work 40 hours a week.

Diversity, meanwhile, means more than having a good mixture of races and sexes at the lowest levels of a company, he said. A high level of diversity means having diversity in employees from the bottom to the top, with representation from genders, ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds.

Mr. Ondrack said top employers in diversity tend to get better talent and also obtain better performance from their employees. Some reasons for that include a larger talent pool from which to draw; that immigrants tend to work harder when they are given jobs that suit their qualifications; and organisations and societies that are more diverse and tolerant tend to be stronger in terms of innovation, development and creativity.

In the Cayman top employer awards selection process, companies are awarded points in nine different ‘dimensions’, including compensation/benefits, diversity, employee communications, learning/development and physical environment. The company submits an application and its employees are also surveyed.

A primary driver of a company’s total composite score was how well the employees’ survey responses back up the company’s claims.

Top employers in the small-to-medium division (fewer than 50 employees) were BDO, CML Offshore Recruitment, SteppingStones and Caribbean Publishing Company. Top employers in the large division were KPMG, Scotiabank, dms Management, Caribbean Utilities Company, Aon, Marriott Grand Cayman, HSBC and RBC Wealth Management.