A cohesive corporate culture, an environment of continuous learning, committed and engaged employees—these talent triumphs are hard to come by. And they’re even tougher to manage in the consulting industry, where far-flung offices and cut-throat internal competition are the norm. Yet, $850 million global consultancy Protiviti manages to achieve all three, regularly appearing on lists like Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work and Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For as a result. CEO Joe Tarantino, who has a 93 percent approval rating among employees on Glassdoor, recently outlined five practices that factor heavily in his company’s talent success story:
A Learning Culture. From new intern to newly appointed managing director, each employee receives level-based training after a promotion to help ease into his or her new role. “We have a very progressive career continuum with training programs aligned to each level taught by practitioners from the field,” says Tarantino, who says that he tries to personally attend every school session, typically giving a presentation and participating in a question-and-answer session. “One of the fabrics of our culture is that we give all of our people access to the senior team.”
It’s a pricey endeavor, both in terms of the development effort and the opportunity cost of taking consultants out of the field to facilitate sessions—but the payoff is worth the investment, he says. “It’s a big number, but we think it’s worth it because we’re trying to develop their careers and have them stay with us for a long period.”
Effective Onboarding. Since 50 percent of new recruits are experienced hires as opposed to recent college grads, the company developed Passport to Protiviti, a gamification onboarding program that takes the new employee’s experience level into account in the orientation process. “They actually learn about the organization by playing a game with a number of other new hires around the world,” explains Tarantino.
Feedback Focus. To ensure that employee concerns don’t snowball before they percolate up the ranks, Protiviti regularly solicits internal feedback, participates in external surveys by Fortune, Consulting Magazine and Glassdoor and monitors a range of social media sites. The company then acts on that feedback and communicates back to employees about the actions it takes, building trust between employees and leadership. Feedback has led to initiatives like a paid sabbatical program and a mobility program that enables employees interested in working outside of their home offices, even outside of their home countries.
Community Commitment. Recognizing that the millennial employees who comprise 80 percent of the company’s workforce have a strong desire to contribute to their communities, Protiviti launched a program aimed at providing meals to the hungry. “i on Hunger” events where meals are packed up for distribution are held in the hotel ballrooms where the Challenge schools are conducted or at their non-profit partners’ locations.
The effort has been a “big igniter” for Protiviti’s culture, reports Tarantino, who says the company has delivered more than six million meals since the program launched three years ago. “We’re now collaborating with our clients on these events, which has really solidified our relationships with them.”
CEO Involvement. Tarantino, who was named a Glassdoor Top CEO for the third time in 2018, credits his participation in Protiviti’s schools and campus recruiting efforts for that recognition. “It’s about being hands-on and also being honest and transparent with people when they have tough questions about what’s working and what’s maybe not working and where we can improve,” he says. “That resonates when people evaluate you.”