The 2015 Best Firms to Work For: West Monroe Partners

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3. West Monroe Partners

Headquarters: Chicago
Billable Consultants: 500
Client Industries Served: Banking, Capital Markets, Energy & Utilities, Healthcare, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Distribution, Retail
Consulting Service Lines: Operations Management, IT, Strategy

It must’ve been a pretty good year at Chicago-based West Monroe Partners. The firm’s been on a roll in the past few years, steadily climbing up our Best Firms to Work For rankings, moving from 15th to 10th to 7th the last three years. But in 2015, the employee-owned firm takes a giant leap into the rarified air of the Top 3.

Not surprisingly, President Kevin McCarty says West Monroe’s morale is very strong—engaged, optimistic, and highly collegial and credits a lot of that to the firm’s 100-percent ownership model, which promotes a high level of engagement and accountability. “When you have a true culture of empowerment, it translates to high engagement,” he says. “Everyone here feels it’s his or her job to nurture and preserve our culture—and that manifests itself in everything from our workplace to the quality of the work we deliver.”

McCarty says one of the most unique things about the firm is its blend of business and technology expertise—and, in particular, the way in which West Monroe combines those disciplines to transform operations and achieve strategic goals. “One of the fundamental elements of our employee value proposition is opportunity, and the best way to deliver opportunity is through strong and sustained growth,” he says.

To that end, McCarty says the firm’s top priority is continuing to pursue its multi-year strategic growth agenda: building scale on both coasts by maintaining productive and healthy organic growth, while at the same time selectively pursuing acquisitions that make sense for the business. That strategy is working. “We’ve grown by more than a third in 2014, and our growth rate is above 20 percent so far in 2015,” he says. “Key areas of opportunity for the next year or two include the sizzling merger and acquisition market, which is generating a significant percentage of our work today, as well as the rapidly evolving healthcare and energy and utilities sectors.”

On the survey, the firm excelled in the areas of Work/Life Balance and Compensation & Benefits, where the firm ranked second only behind BCG. “This is the first time we’ve ever scored highly in the area of compensation in one of these surveys—and we’re very pleased about that. It reflects years of strategically building a very compelling total reward package,” he says.

As far as the recognition, he says it’s always an honor and “validates the culture and 100-percent employee ownership model that we have worked so hard to nurture. And it enables us to continue attracting the best of the best talent.”

Q&A: Were there any specific programs of initiatives that you’d say contributed to you being a Best Firm?

Kevin McCarty, President of West Monroe, says: “The ‘Best Firm’ recognition is the result of many things coming together well, but three ‘programs’ had a particular impact on our workplace and morale this year. Our Career Equity model is engaging our people in meaningful dialogue with career advisers and boards of advisers about how they can achieve both personal and professional goals while working at West Monroe Partners. Our employee stock ownership plan is now in its third year, and the rewards of this model are now becoming quite tangible for our people. And, over the past year, we also stepped up our focus on emphasizing the value—or total reward—of working at West Monroe Partners.”

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