The 2011 Best Firms to Work For: 1) Bain & Company

What’s left to be said about Bain & Company’s utter dominance on Consulting ’s annual Best Firms to Work For survey? For the ninth consecutive year, Bain & Company walked away with the No. 1 ranking. But to fully appreciate the accomplishment, one has to look a little deeper inside the survey numbers.

In 2011, Bain finished tops in five of the six categories the survey measures: Culture, Client Engagement, Firm Leadership, Career Development and Compensation & Benefits. (Last year, Bain finished first in four of the six.) In the only category it didn’t win, Work/Life Balance, Bain finished behind three much smaller firms. In fact, those three firms combined wouldn’t top the total number of consultants at Bain & Company.

To try to get a better understanding of what makes Bain & Company such a special place to work, Consulting sat down with three Bain executives— Steve Ellis, Worldwide Managing Director; Russ Hagey, Chief Talent Officer; and Paul Meehan, Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific —to share their insights into how the firm manages to stay on top year after year.

Steve Ellis on Being The Best Firm to Work For
“Our ranking as the ‘Best Firm to Work For’ is a source of great pride for our global team. The fact that this ranking is based solely on employee feedback across all the firms in our industry makes this recognition all the more relevant and rewarding. In our view this is the most credible benchmark in our industry. Our people and our culture are our primary source of differentiation in a very competitive market. Based on our rigorous client feedback process we know this is what sets us apart from our competition. It’s also the primary message our clients use when recommending Bain to their colleagues and friends. So any external validation reinforces what our team and our clients experience in our day-to-day work together.

“We also use this recognition as motivation. We’ve been able to sustain this track record by never resting on our laurels or being complacent. As with our clients’ businesses, we are not satisfied with the status quo, instead challenging ourselves and empowering our teams around the globe to constantly refine and adapt the way we work to meet the evolving needs of our clients and people. We’re compelled to constantly raise the bar, and we dig a little deeper into the ‘Best Firm to Work For’ results to understand where we scored well and where we could have scored higher and how. This commitment to continuous improvement is an essential part of our formula for success.”

Russ Hagey Russ Hagey on Culture and Career Development
“It is hard to put a singular label on the Bain culture so we tend to use three—an incredible combination of people, passion and results. Our staff are the engine that drives our culture and all of its innovations. You can see and feel our culture whether working on a client growth strategy, helping a colleague five time zones away, mentoring local school children, transforming a non profit organization’s local impact, competing in Bain’s World Cup or simply playing (or singing!) in the Bain Band. These all make up threads of Bain’s culture and display our spark for fun and impact that continues to make this place special.

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