It’s often difficult for larger firms to crack—and then stay—on Consulting
’s Best Firms to Work For list, but that’s just what Accenture has been able to do the last three years.
The feat is even more impressive when you consider Accenture’s sheer size—more than 223,000 people in offices in 53 countries doing work for clients in more than 120 countries. And that number will continue to grow as the firm is set to hire more professionals this fiscal year, according to Sander van’t Noordende, Group Chief Executive—Management Consulting for Accenture.
“In tough economic times the most talented graduates and experienced professionals have options when it comes to choosing a place to build their career, so being recognized as a Best Firm to Work For is great kudos for us,” he says. “It’s also important for current employees and our clients, since it reinforces for them the respect Accenture enjoys.”
As the firm continues to grow is size and scope, it strengthens its value proposition to clients, van’t Noordende says. “Accenture’s truly global network is a differentiator for our people and our clients,” he says. “We create a team of the best people with the most relevant experience, no matter where they are based.”
Another differentiator, van‘t Noordende says, is that while Accenture is a large company, it puts a premium on its people connecting and creating communities. “I would describe the environment at Accenture as vibrant, multi-cultural, encouraging and positive,” he says. “Our people do interesting work, build successful careers, team with smart people and constantly learn. We attract and retain high performers and are busy helping clients become—and stay—high performers.
One initiative that inspires at Accenture is Skills to Succeed, a global corporate citizenship focus. “Through this initiative, we will equip 250,000 people by 2015 with the skills they need to get a job or build a business,” van’t Noordende says. “Our people are bringing technology and consulting skills to their communities.”
Accenture has committed more than $100 million dollars to support Skills to Succeed. People want to feel connected to their communities and know their company is a good corporate citizen, van’t Noordende says.
In addition, pipeline and business development is another bright spot for Accenture. Van’t Noordende points to digital marketing, cloud computing, sustainability, mobility and analytics as areas that play to Accenture’s strength at the intersection of business and technology. “With the right strategy as well as targeted investments to increase differentiation, Accenture can continue to achieve sustainable growth, while creating diverse career opportunities for our people.” Q&AOn the Best Firms to Work For survey, Accenture scored highest in the areas of Career Development, Client Engagement and Work/Life Balance.
Consulting asked Sander van’t Noordende, Group CEO—Management Consulting, why the firm excelled in these areas. His response follows.Career Development
“We are recruiting 66,000 people and want these people to grow their careers at Accenture. One way of ensuring this is through our training commitment—we spend $600 million on training each year. Additionally, our leaders need to be as diverse and as experienced as possible, so we have created a robust leadership development program to grow high potential people into world-class leaders. Some of our customized training includes the programs: Leading a Diverse Workforce, Developing High Performing Women, and the Minority Leadership Development Program,’ which is a three-part program enabling minority executives to meet as a community of professionals to discuss, understand and influence what it takes to excel as leaders at Accenture.” Client Engagement
“Client engagement is the heart of our business and crucial to our success. Delivering tangible results is part of client success, but truly understanding a client’s business and being a partner with them is key to Accenture’s history of long-term client relationships.”Work/Life Balance
“In terms of work/life balance we’ve found flexibility is crucial. You do not find just one profile of person—the traditional consultant—at our company. There are many profiles, many work styles, many career paths, which means you can change careers within Accenture without changing companies. In addition, we are increasingly using technologies such as Tele-presence to collaborate with clients without the cost and carbon of flights.” —J.K.