The consulting industry has long been driven by a hierarchical and patriarchal management style where decisions were made at the top of the pyramid, barely involving team members. Junior professionals joining the industry today have different expectations from their management. They want to work in a flexible, less hierarchical environment where they are assessed based on their creativity, collaboration and teamwork rather than on their ability to meet tight deadlines and “deliver” assignments.
They also have a different approach to managing their own career, focusing on fulfillment through a healthy work-life balance rather than climbing the corporate ladder at all costs. To meet these new aspirations, companies need to create a flexible work environment, encourage true collaboration between team members, give purpose to work and listen to their employees. Successful and attractive management should be based on mutual trust, flexibility, collaboration and accountability.
The consulting industry has long been driven by a hierarchical and patriarchal management style.
Decisions were made at the top of the pyramid, without involving team members. This style of management was a continuation of higher education, where people progressed in a very structured way, within a tight grading system fed by constant assessment
The motto was an “up or out” policy, governing employee progress : either you move up or you get out of the game.
New aspirations for management have arisen, alongside with other effects of the pandemic on the working world, and are driven by the younger generation of consultants.
New professionals joining the consulting industry have different, saner aspirations. They want to work in a non-hierarchical environment where they are assessed based on their creativity, collaboration and teamwork rather than on the ability to meet tight deadlines and “deliver” assignments.
They also have a different approach to managing their own career, focusing on fulfillment through a healthy work-life balance rather than climbing the corporate ladder at all costs.
Recruiting consultants requires a new deal, focusing more on their fulfillment within the company.
1. Foster a flexible work environment
Companies are now offering more flexible work schedules, promoting coworking and remote work practices that have become commonplace. These new practices have disrupted the traditional use of offices, although consultants were traditionally used to working in various places, either at their firm’s or at their clients’.
Today, offices have become collaborative nodes where colleagues meet effectively, attend key meetings and exchange ideas and insights. Especially for consultants, the physical office can be a “feel-good” place and remains a place of social gathering that reinforces their sense of belonging to their company.
2- Encourage real collaboration between team members
Online communication tools such as Slack make it easier for consultants to collaborate and work efficiently by enabling remote work.
More and more training programs are being offered to foster employees’ creativity and enhance remote or in-person teamwork. However, to go even further, it is key to structure the entire management practices around collective strength and collaboration, beyond hierarchical stereotypes.
3- Giving meaning to work
The relationships you make, the networks you get into, and the promise of sky-high compensation are no longer enough to attract young graduates to the consulting industry.
Employees are increasingly looking to combine economic rationale with their personal development needs, seeking meaning in their work beyond mere career progression, an extensive network and a strong company culture
4- Being a true listener
Some of our clients favor regular interactions with their employees by conducting surveys after each project, focusing on the role of each person. Mentoring is also a useful and meaningful way to complement active listening.
Finally, working for clients who share the values of the company and its employees has become even more important.
5- An agile and people-oriented organization: the inspiring example of Julhiet Sterwen
This consulting firm’s model is based on trust, common sense and responsibility. Its goal is to unleash the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of its consultants by breaking down silos and getting rid of organizational charts.
Teams are organized into communities of expertise, and decisions are taken collegially. Partners are more like coaches than bosses.
Thanks to a true and constant solidarity mindset, employees can invest in the development of the firm while addressing the transformation challenges of their clients.
By doing this, Julhiet Sterwen embodies its commitment to “Consulting for Good” aiming at “working for good, and doing it well“. This singular vision guides and gives purpose to the employees in their daily work, while resulting in long-term structural choices for the firm.
As a result, they enjoy a low turnover as well as a high rate of referral.
My conviction for successful and attractive management practices ?
Leveraging on mutual trust to promote a flexible, collaborative and empowering management style.
Hicham Boumnade, MP Recruiting Consulting expert
=> Discover our consulting expertise