North Highland continues to impress year after year. For the second straight year, the Atlanta-based strategy firm is No. 3 on Consulting
’s annual Best Firms to Work For list. In fact, the firm has been ranked either third of fourth all five years it’s appeared on the list.
Plenty has happened at North Highland since it debuted on our Best Firms to Work For list at No. 4 in 2007. For starters, back then it only had 630 consultants (it did, however, have an additional 500 or so from partner firms overseas). Today, that number has risen to 2,200 and will continue to do so, according to North Highland CEO Dan Reardon. And why not? The firm continues to grow about 30 percent a year.
Reardon says the firm is eyeing new services, new U.S. offices (it currently has 21), and international expansion through new geographies (it’s currently in 28 offices abroad in Europe and Asia Pacific) and the addition of new global accounts.
“One of our biggest success stories is the international growth we’re building. In China alone our business has doubled,” Reardon says. “The list of clients we are serving as global and national accounts is impressive. We’re doing some very innovative work with our healthcare and financial services clients, as well as with our government clients,” he says.
“And as our clients have begun to focus more on top-line growth, we’re doing some exciting work with them in the strategy and customer experience/
engagement space. Given our growth and future plans, growing and hiring leaders is my personal focus.”
After adding three new domestic markets and expanding the firm’s capabilities in London, Shanghai, Tokyo and Dubai, Reardon says identifying and hiring the best talent is essential to the firm’s continued long-term success. In addition, the firm has undertaken several key initiatives and added resources to build infrastructure in HR, performance management, information services and knowledge management.
Meanwhile, Reardon says being a Best Firm to Work For has had a definitive impact on the firm both internally and externally. Externally, he says, the recognition allows North Highland to apply a metric to the firm’s culture, and helps with the all-important goal of attracting and retaining the very best industry talent.
Internally, Reardon says the award has formalized what he’s always known to be true. “Our culture, this ‘secret sauce’ we refer to around here, really works, even in the face of tremendous growth.
“There is great satisfaction about that for our employees, as some of those who came here in the early days have wondered whether the specialness of North Highland could last as the company expanded,” he says. “After five years of this top-tier recognition, during both great and difficult times, we see proof that it can.”
Q&AOn the Best Firms to Work For survey, North Highland scored highest in the areas of Work/Life Balance, Client Engagement and Culture. Consulting asked Dan Reardon, CEO of North Highland, why he thought the firm excelled in these areas. His response is below.Work/Life Balance
“A lot of companies talk about work/life balance. Here, we mean it. Consulting is hard work so we want you to enjoy your down time. We want you to have dinner with your family. We want you to have time to give back to your community. We want you to take your vacation. And if you have a family issue that needs your time, there’s nowhere else we think you should be.”Client Engagement
We are passionate about client service. Therefore, we hire experience and passion. That means we have the skills and perspective to work more quickly to help clients achieve exceptional results that become true game-changers. Our structure allows us to quick-start projects and adapt to changes faster.Culture
Because we are employee-owned, we can obsess over satisfying clients instead of shareholders. We collaborate for the benefit of the client, and we guarantee the quality of
our work. All of our work drives value.—J.K.