ACCENTURE CASE STUDY
It’s 5:00 in the morning, time to rustle out of bed to catch your flight from Atlanta to San Francisco. You’ll be in the City by the Bay for the next four days, helping a major retailing client implement a new information technology system. Then you’ll fly back to Atlanta on Thursday, working from home on Friday. You’ll need to do it all again next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. That’s the schedule for Keyur Patel, a consultant at Accenture—the New York-based consulting firm that
stands 97th among Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Accenture’s 150 offices can be found in 53 different countries, on six different continents. ...view middle of the document...
It organizes quarterly “community events” where groups of 50–150 employees come together for charity drives, cultural fare, or sports activities. These events are designed to give
the consultants some sense of connection, despite the far-flung nature of their work. The company also instituted a sabbatical program, where consultants can arrange to have a portion of their paychecks set aside for a three-month vacation after three years of service. Accenture also invests a great deal in their employees, with consultants spending an average of 75 hours a year in training sessions. For example, consultants can take a training course on leading teams whose members are geographically
separated. The hope is that these sorts of investments will instill a sense of value in further years of service, keeping consultants at the firm for a longer time period.
You might think that Accenture’s primary concern is losing its people to other top consulting firms. In fact, Accenture actually loses most of its consultants to its very own clients. A consultant at another firm explains the appeal of client firms this way: “The coolest thing about being a consultant is that I know exactly where I would go work if I left, because I already have assessed the workplace of the company.” As consultants work with more and more clients, they develop a broader network of contacts that become potential employers. Those moves typically bring more stability and the sense of moving into a “smaller pond.” Jill Smart, the chief human resources officer at Accenture, understands the unique difficulties in retaining consultants. In reflecting on the company’s commitment efforts, she notes, “We saw that we had people leaving to go do work that they could do here, and when we asked them about it, they said, ‘We didn’t know that we could do that’.”