How to address the ‘quiet quitter phenomenon’? Managing people out of a company through performance improvement programs can be one avenue. Ford wants to streamline its process—giving employees the option to simply leave if they do not want to endure the stress of a highly monitored 4-6-week improvement program. It’s tricky because high performers may be the ones most tempted to take the money and leave, while less desirable workers may prefer collecting their monthly paycheck rather than risk the time and effort to find a more fulfilling job. There’s no question that the quiet quitter trend can affect workforce morale and productivity. We have experience in this area, so if you’d like to discuss options for your company, please reach out to me.
This article and associated video explore the progress principle: Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important in making progress is meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress—even a small win—can make all the difference in how they feel and perform. At P&C, we both practice and preach this philosophy. Taking on the massive, transformative work that we deliver for our clients—often with very compressed timelines—would not be possible without our thoughtful and intentional focus on nurturing project teams, designing for small wins, and ensuring all involved track the wins and incorporate the lessons from any setbacks encountered along the way. Please reach out to me to learn how we incorporate the progress principal within our firm and our client engagements.
Social science has shown that international experiences can enhance creativity, reduce intergroup bias, and promote career success—and we couldn’t agree more. At P&C, 73% of our workforce lives outside the countries in which they were born, and 56% have lived in multiple countries for 2+ years throughout their tenure. These employees tend to have a clearer sense of self, be more resourceful, and are open to new ideas. In a tight labor market still reeling from the aftermath of the Great Resignation, employees who have a clearer sense of self, also tend to have a longer tenure. All of these factors are not only good for P&C, but they also add value to our clients and the outcomes we deliver. Furthermore, while organizations struggle to reconcile their remote work policies, we believe that allowing employees to work outside of their current countries—where economically feasible—could be a net positive for the employer.
With the Great Resignation, more workplace options than ever, and a hesitancy to experiment, many agree that organizations need a structural overhaul. Successful leaders have done so by moving through four crucial steps: understanding people, networks, and jobs; reimagining how work gets done; modeling and testing redesign ideas against core principles; and ensuring the overhaul sticks. First, leaders need to understand precisely what matters: for example, where and how productive work takes place, what people want, and how knowledge flows. Next, try to reimagine new ways of operating that keep employees engaged, motivated, and balanced. One size does not fit all, here. Next, test new ways of working that align with a company’s core principles. Where are you on your journey to redesigning work? Finally, create a sense of belonging for employees. This is essential to keeping them engaged with the organization and their teams. Please reach out to me to discuss what actions you can take while staying true to your organization’s priorities.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that older, higher-paid workers are increasingly quitting their jobs, as the Great Resignation enters its second year. There are a myriad of causes behind this phenomenon. Among those more financially stable, the quit rate is being driven by everything from a desire to continue working remotely, to a greater search for meaning, to simply having the means to do so. The global pandemic has made people reflect on their own mortality and what really matters, hence re-evaluating their professional lives. Other knowledge workers are hesitant to come back to the office, with its related high stress levels, which already were on the rise back in 2020. Others are quitting because of the large number of high paying, premium jobs to choose from. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of business and professional services job openings is at a record high. At P&C, we see this in our own recruiting efforts, as we have been able to attract many highly experienced, expert-level knowledge workers to our firm because of our award-winning remote work policy. If you would like to strategize about how the Great Resignation is affecting your business or organization, please reach out to me.
Companies risk losing the ability to deliver quality to their customers if they don’t fundamentally rethink how to evolve their business model to incorporate higher labor costs. This article not only schools us on the economic gears that have been in play for decades, but also gives insight to the failures of traditional compensation benchmarking. Working conditions, pay, and benefits need to fundamentally change in order to ensure a long-run labor supply and stable business models. Many people are content to work in front-line roles for years and even their entire working lives. Think about call center representatives, retail store professionals, airline cabin crew, and in-store professionals at many of the world’s largest financial institutions, for example—those who represent a large majority of the workers in some of the industries that P&C serves. The real challenge—and opportunity—is to make front-line roles attractive day to day, month to month, and for years on end, which is why much of our work incorporates continual learning & development, improving the physical work environment, nurturing constructive organizational culture, and communications. Please reach out to me to learn more about what we’re accomplishing for our clients and what we can do together for your organization.
While the Great Resignation is placing a much overdue spotlight on employees, we at P&C feel that the following questions should be part of your everyday employee engagement strategy—not just when managers feel desperate to retain them. 1) How would you like to grow within the organization? 2) Do you feel a sense of purpose in your job? 3) What do you need from me to do your best work? 4) What are we currently not doing as a company that you feel we should do? 5) Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? When you help individuals feel seen and valued, they are most likely to become advocates for the organization, regardless of how long they stay. Please connect with me to share what strategies are currently working for your organization.
Do you know who the innovators are in your organization? These aren’t just the creative product designers or the strategists devising new business models. They are also the people who make an end run around established processes, lobby to do things differently, or proactively make connections across silos and build informal networks to get things done. By the way, most of these innovators are NOT in the C-suite. You can increase the likelihood that great ideas won’t get away by bringing many more voices and perspectives into the process. Furthermore, the “Great Resignation” highlights an enormous opportunity for leaders to create new ways of working toward meeting employees’ needs for purpose, balance, and good wages. Reach out to me to start a dialog about how not to let your innovators get away.
While many of us have taken educated guesses at the various causes and remedies for the large number of employees leaving their workplaces, MIT Sloan Management has taken a more pragmatic approach. They have analyzed 34 million online profiles of those who left their employer—for any reason—between April and September 2021. As expected, apparel retail tops the list, but not far behind are management consulting, internet, and enterprise software which all align with our business here at P&C. Are we concerned? Not really. Should you be? Perhaps. Here’s why. Expectedly, toxic corporate culture is 10.4 times more powerful than compensation in predicting a company’s attrition rate. However, surprisingly, employees are more likely to exit from innovative companies. (The attrition rates of Nvidia, Tesla, and SpaceX are three standard deviations higher than those in their respective industries!) Surprising or not, these predictors are not easy to change. On the positive side, there are some viable remedies. Providing employees with lateral career opportunities, for example, is 2.5 times more powerful than compensation. At P&C, we have intuitively known that for a long time and take advantage of being part of a large multi-national to enable our employees to vary their career experiences, while remaining loyal to our corporate family. The Great Resignation could be an opportunity for you to sweep up highly desirable employees from your competitors. Want to discuss your retention strategy? Please reach out to me.
Do we all need stretch goals? A given situation may actually demand persevering with incremental improvements, especially if the organization does not have much stretch left in it.
Performance targets may not be enough. You need a wide range of measure to understand what is actually going on and what matters.
Regarding the war for talent—the true war for talent—includes domain competence as well as leadership. After all, it’s the performance of the average many, not the talented few, that is the true mark of a great organization.
On the issue of leadership vs. management, all executives have to both manage resources and lead their people—not one at the expense of the other.
No Rules, Rules. The real choice is between having good rules and bad ones. Good ones create internal predictability and simplicity that enables the group to deal with external uncertainty and complexity. As the author notes, it is just like music. Without the rules of harmony, rhythm, and tempo, music is just noise.
I invite you to engage with us on these myths and how they affect your organization.
Why matters. To go from data to insights, you need context. Science is data plus theory, and that’s just as true when we’re assessing people as when we’re assessing ideas. As an example, algorithms rather than humans determine whether your credit score is high or low, but you should be able to find out why—and you can, because credit agencies provide a list of reasons so you can both understand and improve your score. This transparency benefits borrowers and lenders alike. By the same token, in the world of recruitment and HR, ethical employers owe job candidates and employees a similar right to explanation. To the degree that AI can reveal specific reasons for not selecting candidates, this information should be shared and may actually make the news easier to process. While AI tools aren’t free of bias, they can help mitigate it, and employers can improve decision accuracy and fairness by raising the ethical standards for designing algorithms and for sharing results.
Plaintiffs’ Law Firm Accelerates Its Performance For the Next Generation of Client Advocacy
Opaque, antiquated business processes combined with legacy technology and significant investments in under-performing practices were causing financial results to stagnate at this leading plaintiffs’ bar law firm.
P&C helped develop and implement an aggressive transformation program to increase revenues, reduce costs, manage risks, and ensure sustainable growth.
A Strong Reputation Is Not Enough When Performance Lags
Our client had a strong reputation for legal excellence and zealous representation of their clients in pursuit of equitable outcomes. Despite professional success, the firm lacked visibility into which business segments created value and was hampered by outdated processes and systems that eroded revenue, increased cost, elevated risk, and distracted attorneys from client service.
At the recommendation of their bankers, they turned to P&C to help pivot the firm, accelerate its performance, and thereby ensure its legacy of outstanding legal advocacy.
P&C Calls for a Rigorous Transformation Program to Address Multiple Issues
P&C designed and implemented a comprehensive transformation program with these goals in mind:
Optimize Business Mix: Shifting resources to the most profitable and highest future growth segments of the firm
Increase Revenues: Growing both legal fees and effective, appropriate expense recovery
Reduce Costs: Optimizing outlays related to technology, procured goods and services, and effective tax planning
Manage Risk: Revamping the insurance portfolio including professional liability, property and casualty, employee health and wellness, addressing cybersecurity, and responding to pandemic impacts
Build Capabilities: Developing processes, systems, and human capital
P&C Recommends and Implements Key Programs for Each Improvement Lever
P&C drove each of these workstreams on an agile basis, using mechanisms such as daily stand-up calls and remote collaboration tools to coordinate work and ensure progress across multiple organizations and functions. To ensure sustainable impact and continuous improvement, we upgraded the capabilities of the client’s leadership team by developing the skills non-attorneys who had potential but lacked requisite training, and identifying and replacing other staff members where required.
Optimize Business Mix
Increase the ratio of junior to senior attorneys given their higher margins
Shift legal staff towards practices with consistent track records and outlook for profitability
Drive growth in focus practices through targeted marketing, business development, and potential openings in new strategic markets
Use proven, effective technologies to streamline and maximize the recovery of client-related expenses including legal research, eDiscovery, and printing
Consolidate and streamline eDiscovery solutions and processes to reduce hosting expenses while improving the effectiveness of case teams
Redesign employee benefits plan and negotiate with carriers based on analysis of multi-year health claims and other actuarial data to develop a better plan at significantly less cost
Reduce technology and other procurement spend categories by focusing on the total cost of ownership across the lifespan of agreements, identify and retire costly legacy systems, and consolidate spend across vendors to obtain better services at less cost
Identify retroactive tax credits missed by legacy accountants and work with them to file amended tax returns to claim retroactive tax credits rightfully due to the client
Streamline travel and expense management through a new integrated system including a new corporate credit card and IT solution to enable straight-through transaction processing to their financial system
Perform comprehensive review of the insurance portfolio including Professional Liability, Property & Casualty, and Cyber Security policies, consolidating and replacing brokers and carriers as necessary to address coverage gaps while simultaneously reducing costs
Harden IT infrastructure to mitigate the threat of network intrusion and data breach by locking down devices, replacing firewalls, cleansing account access permissions, updating password protocols, implementing multi-factor authentication, developing mobile device policies, purging obsolete data, and responding to incidents
Develop and deploy standard compliance policies and procedures including Grants of Authority, Procurement, and Conflict Check workflows to reduce waste, duplicative spend, and missed expense recovery opportunities
Respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by deploying a comprehensive suite of technologies to modernize document management and workforce collaboration systems while funding the program via available pandemic-related grants
Develop a bespoke business analytics solution to enable equity partners to gain real time visibility into firm performance, as well as drill down into specific practices, cases, and timekeepers
Implement modern Document Management System (DMS) to consolidate firm information onto a single, secure, accessible platform
Create and deploy a revenue forecasting process to provide a systematic view of expected cash inflows by practice and case
Restructure General Ledger and recompile historical results to provide a clear view of financial performance and trends by segment
Deploy IT helpdesk case management system to maximize responsiveness and improve support to legal teams and staff
Develop human capital by recruiting for critical staff positions and establishing customized learning and development agendas for select current employees
Transformation Program Results in $25M Annual Profit Increase
Taken together, these programs yielded an enormous benefit to the firm, generating $25 million in annual profitability improvements. The impacts were balanced, with roughly three-quarters stemming from revenue increases and the remainder from cost savings.
The improvements ensured that the transformation remained cash flow positive across our entire 18-month engagement. From the standpoint of our client’s leadership team, these benefits represent a near doubling of typical annual profits per equity partner.
Beyond these tangible impacts, the firm is now positioned for strong growth with a focused strategy, solid infrastructure of business processes and systems, optimized risk profile, and robust pool of talent. Their legacy of client service can continue to flourish.
*We take our clients’ confidentiality seriously. While we’ve changed their names, the results are real.
We believe that this article pertains to all industries, not just tech, but it is most apparent with technology companies in the U.S. and the incorrect assumption that talent only exists where the venture capital originates—NY, CA, and MA. To truly make the industry more inclusive, tech companies need to let go of their geographic biases and change the way they recruit, organize teams and allow employees to work. As companies have moved to remote work during the pandemic — and possibly forever — tech companies should re-envision a recruitment and retention strategy targeted at talent from places far from the usual clusters. (If they’re already doing so, they should double down on this strategy.) Even if the work-from-home trend does not take off across the board, the current enthusiasm for it creates a window of opportunity to narrow the diversity gap by recruiting under-represented groups and retaining them.
Companies should not expect to win over investors just by issuing sustainability reports and engaging in ESG standard practices. To build long-term profitability, boards of directors must pay more attention to ESG concerns—and a compelling corporate purpose should underpin their efforts. The authors of this article offer a research-based framework called SCORE to guide boards’ actions that is worth reading. Even going back two decades, Michael Porter draws a distinction between operational effectiveness and strategy. The former meaning, “performing similar activities better than rivals”; the latter “is about being different.” Following Porter’s distinction, an ESG program may deliver efficiencies and other operational improvements, but it will only boost long-term financial performance if it provides strategic differentiation from competitors. At P&C Global, an ESG approach has been an integral part of our corporate fabric for generations. Our unwavering commitment to supporting the environment, the arts, and in particular, diversity and inclusion are highly visible throughout our organization. In fact, you’d have to look hard to miss it. To that end, we’ll be making a concerted effort to make our own practices and actions more visible in the coming year.
Given the stringent demands for recruiting a global diversified guest services workforce, we partnered with this client to position them as a preferred employer for pursuing meaningful and rewarding careers.
Particularly for professional services organizations such as Goldman Sachs, human capital is of the utmost concern. Here, we engaged with them to maximize their ability to attract top tier talent across a broad array of candidate segments.
Success in legal services hinges upon talent. Here, we present a compelling value proposition to a client’s legal staff candidates, as well as recruits for extended lines of business comprising business services and expert hubs.
We recognize that advanced capabilities such as Data Science require much more than assets such as technology, algorithms, and data. With many of our clients, we recruit and develop their internal talent to drive success over the long term.
We work with clients to maximize employee engagement and promote diversity and inclusion. This client special interest group exemplifies how diversity and inclusion efforts can dovetail with other human capital goals such as fostering employee development, boosting engagement, and reinforcing a supportive culture.
Preeminent LLP*, a leading U.S. class action law firm ranking nationally, in nine practice areas, sought P&C’s guidance to streamline their operations and prepare for the next phase of expansion. Building upon decades of landmark legal victories and unrelenting advocacy for their clients, they asked P&C to refine their practice mix, improve the usefulness and clarity of financial reporting, and assess key leaders of core business functions across the Firm.
At a Glance
The Firm’s Executive Committee sought P&C’s insights and recommendations on the following topics:
Is the Firm optimally allocating resources across its current practices and offices?
Could the Firm optimize its costs to become more profitable?
Are there attractive opportunities in new practice areas yet untapped by the Firm?
Is the Firm consistently and effectively projecting its brand image to key target audiences?
How can we improve current financial processes to streamline effort, reduce manual labor, and provide timely and transparent visibility and controls across both revenues and expenses?
How do our compensation and benefit programs compare to local and national peer groups; specifically, are our compensation and benefit programs competitive to attract and retain the best talent in the nation?
What tangible near-term opportunities are available to reduce costs and maximize revenues?
P&C proposed an integrated approach to address the Firm’s questions and goals:
Responding to Preeminent LLP’s ambition to rapidly transform their business and prepare for the next phase of growth, P&C designed and executed a series of three initiatives spanning the full spectrum from strategy through implementation:
Strategic repositioning. Assessed each practice and office based upon their historical financial performance and strategic fit – in terms of reinforcing or conflicting brand perceptions and relationships with key decision-makers – developed corresponding staffing plans to grow or triage the practice, launched new offices, and prepared for future mergers and acquisitions.
Capability development. Dramatically strengthened core functions, establishing the infrastructure to drive and support subsequent expansion:
Marketing and Public Relations: articulated the organization’s brand, refined key target business development and other stakeholder audiences, selected a best-in-class public relations firm, and developed critical platforms to generate prospects and to develop successful, enduring client relationships.
Finance: streamlined the incumbent accounting system to inform key decisions by transforming the general ledger structure, implemented revenue and expense forecasting processes and controls, automated low-value transaction processing by digitally transforming the accounts payable processes, and implemented an aggressive procurement program to optimize non-labor expenses.
Technology: overhauled the practice and financial management systems, implemented an enterprise document management solution – shifting from a legacy platform to an industry leading enterprise software platform – and implementing a best-in-class digital workflow which integrated firm-wide business processes to eliminate duplicative, manual work. Integrated all enterprise systems together for seamless straight-through transaction processing and reporting. Identified and addressed an array of IT infrastructure needs including optimizing networks, improving cyber protection, deploying state-of-the-art communications and content archival solution, and desktop virtualization to reduce costs and improve availability and fault-tolerance of critical new infrastructure.
Illuminated financial insights by developing comprehensive analytics dashboards providing real-time access to key financial and operational results, supported by a robust data quality remediation program.
Developed the organization by benchmarking professional staff compensation against local and national peer groups, designed a performance management system that formalized roles and responsibilities of key positions, assessed functional leadership against available candidate pools, and conducted targeted executive recruiting to address key gaps in expertise.
Value capture. Implemented a variety of tactical projects to reduce costs and drive consistency and compliance including maximizing the recovery of client-related expenses, optimizing insurance coverage, consolidating and reducing travel expenses, automating workflows such as expense management, and standardizing processes such as conducting conflict of interest checks.
What appeared as a large undertaking became a very successful rejuvenation that will continue to yield benefits for the Firm and their clients. Preeminent LLP identified clear priorities for investment in practices and offices, and shifted staff and other resources accordingly. A new office was launched to expand the Firm’s reach to all key markets nationwide while also enhancing brand image and industry position. The Firm also embarked upon a public relations campaign to highlight its successes and capabilities with target audiences.
P&C led vendor selection, build-out, implementation, and training for three new platforms that transformed how the firm manages all expenses including vendors, employees, and client cost recovery – savings millions of dollars of annual costs and gaining millions of dollars of additional recoveries. These integrated platforms will reduce manual labor and waste and increase profitability for every practice. It also launched replacement efforts for document management and eDiscovery, and articulated a longer-term roadmap to upgrade the core practice management and financial system.
Additionally, P&C created and implemented a dashboard analytics platform that provides key decision makers with clear, actionable financial insights.
Preeminent LLP’s transformation rapidly accomplished all goals, delivering an impressive 515% return on investment in multiple of P&C fees over 11 months.
*We take our clients’ confidentiality seriously. While we’ve changed their names, the results are real.
Technology often lies at the heart of our engagements with clients. Our Strategy & Innovation, Customer Experience, Data & Cognitive Sciences, and Digital Reinvention teams work with clients to develop and harness those innovations and we often showcase those outcomes to create effective marketing programs to help our clients acquire the best talent.
High profile sponsorships can drive enormous gains in awareness, consideration, and sales. Here, P&C worked with our client to forge an alliance with FC Barcelona as the club’s Training Partner and crafted this Pros Behind the Pros campaign highlighting our client’s role in La Masia, their feeder system for emerging sports talent.
P&C helped Clifford Chance effectively communicate their culture and strength as a global employer of choice to attract the premier talent that will drive the next generation of growth and development.
High profile sponsorships can drive enormous gains in awareness, consideration, and sales. Here, P&C worked with our client to forge an alliance with FC Barcelona as the club’s Training Partner and crafted this Pros Behind the Pros campaign highlighting the team’s uniforms and equipment with prominent references to our client’s brand.
Firm culture, like organizational success, is the summation of many individual inputs and decisions; this global law firm client’s retrospective highlights several crucial aspects including thorough recruiting, merit-based advancement, collaboration, and an enduring focus upon client results.
High profile sponsorships can drive enormous gains in awareness, consideration, and sales. Here, P&C worked with our client to forge an alliance with FC Barcelona as the club’s Training Partner and crafted this Pros Behind the Pros campaign highlighting the importance of reliable and efficient kitchen appliances to support the club’s training regimen.
High profile sponsorships can drive enormous gains in awareness, consideration, and sales. Here, P&C worked with our client to forge an alliance with FC Barcelona as the club’s Training Partner and crafted this Pros Behind the Pros campaign highlighting the importance of reliable and efficient kitchen appliances to support the club’s nutrition.
The lifeblood of all organizations, but especially professional services clients, is the quality and passion of their employees; this client video illustrates their highly effective recruiting and training programs from the applicant’s perspective.
P&C engages with clients to maximize their human capital. With this client campaign targeting employee recruiting and retention, we emphasized not just typical benefits but the organization’s civic mission.