After reviewing the results of our exclusive Best Firms to Work For survey, it appears to be all good news as 2013 category numbers are all trending in the right direction—particularly when it comes to significant jumps for work/life balance, career development and leadership.
One of the best aspects of our Best Firms to Work For survey is the comprehensive snapshot it provides of the profession. This year, that’s a pretty rosy snapshot as overall scores improved across the board in all six categories the survey measures. Check out the chart at the bottom of page 12 for the full story and to make year-over-year comparisons from 2010 to 2013.
From an individual firm perspective, what else can we say about Bain & Company? The firm simply amazes each year and it’s now 11 consecutive years as the No. 1 firm. And not to be outdone, Stroud Consulting is putting an impressive run of its own together—four years in a row and five out of six—as the top firm in the Best Small Firms to Work For survey.
Meanwhile, six firms—Solstice, Intertech Consulting, CitiSoft, Collaborative Solutions, Insight Sourcing Group and Intellinet—are making their Best Small Firms to Work For debut.
What Makes a Best Firm to Work For?
To be named a Best Firm to Work For, firms were ranked in six categories. Each measures a different aspect of employee satisfaction, and each poses its own challenges in today’s market environment. The following describes the issues at play within each category.
This category reflects the quality of work consultants perceive their firm is doing. It is not a measure of the actual work being done, but the more valuable a firm’s consultants perceives their work to be, the more engaged they tend to be in their client’s—and firm’s—success.
Firm culture reflects the shared values, standards, ethics, and goals of a firm. Gone are the days when firms would hire a generation of future partners from a leading campus and hone their skills and ethos over the course of a career. Today’s firms are comprised of talent that has spent years at other firms, and in other industries. Building and sustaining a strong culture, despite the lack of homogony in background and life experiences, becomes all the more difficult.
Economic uncertainty tests leadership in big ways. The economic uncertainty of the last few years tested their decision-making and internal communication skills. In 2013, leadership had to chart a new course and generate confidence in the firm’s direction. The more confidence the rank and file consultants have in their leaders, the more apt they are to be happy at their firm. But the opposite is also true.
The campus pipeline is just starting to be refilled this year, which will force some promotions up through the higher staffing levels. However, setting and communicating those goals is a challenge. Handling it well can make consultants want to stay with your firm longer; doing it poorly can encourage defections.
This category reflects how well consultants perceive their firm as enabling them to balance their life outside of their day job. Given the heavy work and travel regimen required, this is a difficult task. But understanding which firms handle this challenge can go a long way to identifying true employers of choice.
Compensation & Benefits
This category reflects consultants’ satisfaction with their compensation and non-cash benefits and does not necessarily reflect which firms pay the most. The happier consultants are with their job, the more they’re willing to settle for making less money. Such is the case with consultants from smaller firms who continue to report higher satisfaction rates despite smaller overall compensation & benefits packages.
Who Took the Survey?
The Best Firms to Work For rankings are based on an online survey conducted in the summer of 2013. More than 12,000 consultants participated, representing more than 400 firms. The consultants operate in every service line, across at least 35 different project/practice areas, and serve clients across all major industries. About three-quarters of the respondents came from the United States. Consultants at every staff level participated. Here is a breakdown of participants, by staff level.
The 2013 Best Firms to Work For
1. Bain & Company
2. The Boston Consulting Group
3. North Highland
4. Point B
5. Slalom Consulting
6. Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group
8. Deloitte Consulting
9. Kurt Salmon
10. West Monroe Partners
11. Alvarez & Marsal
13. Huron Consulting
14. A.T. Kearney
The 2013 Best Small Firms to Work For
1. Stroud Consulting
2. Fitzgerald Analytics
3. Systems Evolution, Inc.
7. Caiman Consulting
10. Collaborative Solutions
11. Plus Consulting
12. Cumberland Consulting
13. Insight Sourcing Group