When Dean Fischer, co-founder of West Monroe Partners, left Arthur Andersen eight years ago to launch a new firm, he decided to focus on a series of core values. The first concept was “putting our people first,” he says. “Most organizations say they put clients first, but we believed that if our employees were satisfied, it would naturally translate into excellent service for our clients, says Fischer, president of the Chicago-based business advisory services firm. “Being a Best Small Firm To Work For validates for us that we’re truly living this value—creating an environment that engages people in a positive fashion.”
Fischer says he has tried to create a Big 4 mentality and quality to the marketplace in a significantly smaller firm. “For our clients, our ability to bring the skills to the table to paint the biggest vision and implement the smallest details has been a distinguishing characteristic of our offering,” Fischer says. “For our professionals, it has also allowed us to create an environment that challenges each professional to grow and learn each day—one where everyone’s unique contribution can truly be recognized and valued in meaningful work.”
This model has propelled West Monroe to its second straight year on the Best Small Firms to Work For list. “Given this important recognition, as well as what our recruitment and retention experience reflects, it is fair to say morale is quite high,” Fischer says. And West Monroe has seen a nice uptick as a result of a strategic alliance it signed with BearingPoint earlier this year, he says.
“Working hard doesn’t de-motivate our people; the frustration of being underutilized is a much bigger source of stress for the bright, self-initiating, energetic people at West Monroe.”