Culture is the glue that binds a firm together and it’s the hardest thing for competitors to copy. It plays an essential role in the performance of
any business, and as an industry, consulting is highly
dependent on the values and loyalty of individuals. Consulting firms rely on the culture and morale within their
organizations more than most.
Statistics have shown that a company’s culture has
a direct impact on employee turnover and a Columbia
University study indicated that the likelihood of job
turnover at an organization with rich company culture
is a mere 13. 9 percent, whereas the probability of job
turnover in poor company cultures is 48.4 percent.
Culture is what makes up the ethos and ‘feel’ of a
business and inevitably assists a firm to reach their goal.
Everything from vision and ambitions, to beliefs and
structures are contributions to culture. Company culture
has great influence in both attracting and retaining
the best talent, in addition to directing the innovation,
people development, and client focus within a firm.
WHAT DOES GREAT COMPANY CULTURE LOOK LIKE IN
THE CONSULTING INDUSTRY?
The benefits of a positive firm culture cannot be
understated, particularly in an industry where there
is so much emphasis on a consultant's ability to leave
positive impressions on peers and clients. Some of
the most prevalent aspects of company culture within
consulting firms are as follows:
n Work/Life Balance
In a fast-paced industry, it is easy for individuals to
become consumed by their work and neglect their life
outside of their career. Ensuring that any employee
has the time they need with friends and family is of
paramount importance, because it can impact their
mood, ability to work and general well-being. Consulting
firms are becoming more aware and considerate in this
regard although there is still more to be done. There is
now greater respect for an individual’s personal time.
Flexible and creative work arrangements can be agreed
to accommodate work-life balance.
As an example; McKinsey & Company have a “Take
Time” policy, which allows consultants to take additional
unpaid leave of 5 to 10 weeks between projects, used to
pursue personal interests and spend time with family.
In a similar approach, A.T. Kearney runs a
‘Success with Flex’ program which offers a range of
How Culture Impacts Professional Development
BY FIONA MCKENZIE-WILDE