Great Workplace Cultures. A Professional Services Sector Study

This month Fortune Magazine featured two articles on culture trends in the professional services sector.  In the first, '20 Companies with Great Workplace Culture', authors Ed Frauenheim and Kim Peters describe characteristics of a great place to work within the sector.  The second, which lists the 20 Companies, is based on a survey of 255,200 employees, and is titled 'Best Workplaces in Consulting & Professional Services.' by Christopher Tkaczyk.

Since these firms work with clients who are seeking help with building cultures of trust, it follows that the professional services firm would have some applied thinking around how to build a culture of trust within their own organizations.  The very best ones are 'free of favoritism, well-managed, democratic and fair when it comes to profit sharing and pay.'  They also 'enjoy higher levels of cooperation, loyalty and employee willingness to go the extra mile, and tend to grow at a faster clip than peers.'

Kimley-Horn Associates, an engineering firm with 2500 employees based in Raleigh, North Carolina topped the list of the top 20 with Great Workplace Culture.  (Featured picture taken from the Kimley-Horn website).  This company exemplifies what it takes to retain great consulting associates.  Sharing in the profits of the company creates an atmosphere of desirability, where employees are twice as likely to stay for 'a long time', rather than leaving for another firm.  More importantly, creating a sense of purpose at work acts as a deeper motivation, and really fosters commitment.  The employees at Kimley-Horn feels a sense of pride in what they accomplish and are more likely to stay with the firm for longer periods.  They like to see how the projects they are working on connect to the bigger effort of the overall project, and that is a very powerful motivator.

It's nice to see professional services firms building companies with cultures of trust, profit sharing, and connectivity to the greater purpose.  Engineers, accountants, marketers, operations, administrative employees all have a choice as to where they would like to expend their creative energies, and this survey indicates those companies that provide a meaningful environment with profit sharing are the ones that thrive.