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- On Tuesday, KPMG will officially open the doors to its new $450 million employee training facility in Orlando, Florida, called KPMG Lakehouse. Business Insider took an exclusive tour ahead of the opening.
- It’s part of the professional-services giant’s effort to keep its employees up to date on the hottest tech while also reinforcing important cultural values and giving workers a chance to interact with one another.
- The 800,000-square-foot building includes a fitness studio, a wine bar, eight kitchens, and access to 44 miles of bike paths.
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KPMG employees now have a very good reason to visit Orlando, Florida — apart from going to Disney World.
On Tuesday, the professional-services giant will officially open a new $450 million training facility called KPMG Lakehouse. The 800,000-square-foot facility — which is part educational center, part cultural hub — can house 800 employees overnight, has eight kitchens, multiple classrooms, a wine room, a fitness studio, and access to 44 miles of bike paths, among other perks. KPMG employees can stay at the facility at no charge.
KPMG isn’t the only company to take such an approach to their training. Across the industry, rivals like Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers are also investing heavily in efforts to teach their workforces additional skills in technology such as artificial intelligence and automation. But what sets KPMG’s facility apart from competitors is the focus on culture, according to CEO Lynne Doughtie.
“Lakehouse creates an environment to ensure that our people are constantly learning and growing,” she told Business Insider. But it is “way more than a building. It fosters new ways of thinking and learning and collaborating.”
We took an exclusive tour of the Lakehouse ahead of its opening on Tuesday to figure out why the investment is so critical to KPMG, which has nearly $30 billion in global annual revenue.
Videos on KPMG’s history are shown during the 15-minute ride, and employees can treat themselves to water and a cold towel.
The entrance to the facility has the feel of an upscale hotel — and that vibe continues into the lobby and throughout the Lakehouse.
The lobby feels like the entrance to any upscale hotel, with ample seating and breakout areas. But unlike a hotel, employees don’t have to check in anywhere. Everything is done on mobile.
There are unique features throughout the Lakehouse. Employees can sign a message on this interactive glass table, for example, and it will appear on screens around the facility.
Floor-to-ceiling windows in the cafeteria give employees a beautiful view of the back of the facility while they enjoy free food from one of the eight kitchens.
The dishes available on the day Business Insider toured the premises included roasted-cauliflower orecchiette, pan-seared swordfish, vegan kofta, and croque monsieur — the head chef’s specialty.
There is also a bakery where employees can pick from a spread of pastries and other goodies for a morning snack or to complement their main course.
I opted for a custom-made salad, chicken-salad sandwich, and kombucha. (Disclaimer: I did not pay for the food — but it was quite good.)
The building wraps around both sides of the cafeteria. On one side is the main conference area and the housing. On the other side are classrooms, a wine bar, a fitness room, and other perks — several that weren’t complete when I visited but are now finished ahead of Tuesday’s opening.
Each of the six floors of the on-site “hotel” has its own common area with access to snacks like ice cream for late-night (or whenever) munchies.
The floors also come with more tranquil meeting spaces that overlook the protected land surrounding the Lakehouse.
The rooms feel very much like a quality hotel and come with tons of special features based on feedback from KPMG’s “road warriors,” or the accountants, consultants, and other employees that spend a ton of time each year traversing the globe to meet with clients.
There’s a place to store luggage, so employees don’t have to mess with one of the standard carts that hotels provide. It may seem like a small feature, but KPMG workers apparently complained that many of the places they have stayed at don’t have the appropriate amount of storage to hold carry-on or checked bags.
KPMG employees can also join a daily morning yoga session on a balcony that wraps around much of the building.
At the end of the tour, I was truly impressed by the attention to detail put into designing and building the facility. I would not be surprised to see other firms make similar investments — particularly as reskilling becomes ever more important in the tight labor market, and companies rush to make their cultural values more prominent to workers. Such offerings can also help retain existing employees and serve as one way to attract the best talent.