What It’s Like to Work at McKinsey & Company

One of the many elements of creating a great talent management strategy is looking at how the best are doing things.

According to Entrepreneur.com, McKinsey & Company is one of those leaders, as they made the list of the Top 10 Companies to Work for in 2015.

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Here’s what Entrepreneur says about McKinsey & Company:

McKinsey & Company, a multinational management consulting firm, was praised by employees for championing professional development. The company’s management team was singled out – “leadership inspires its employees to work hard and drive impact for clients,” wrote a senior associate – particularly CEO Dominic Barton, who enjoys an approval rating of 98 percent. As a whole, employees also appreciated their co-workers. “Really amazing set of people – caring, challenging and whip smart,” wrote one reviewer. 

An Overview of McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company dubs itself a “global management consulting firm,” providing services to a variety of industries and within several sectors including business, government, and non-profit industries.

The firm provides consulting in a range of formats, including hands-on coaching for top employees to help them in ways like the development of workforce skills, operational improvements and the implementation of new methodologies.

This global firm includes more than 9,000 consultants, as well as a team of almost 2,000 research and information employees. There are offices in more than 60 countries, employees speak more than 120 languages combined, and there are more than 100 nationalities that make up this diverse and unique workforce.

40% of McKinsey’s clients are Europe-based, 35% are in the Americas, 15% are in Asia/the Pacific, and 10% come from the Middle East and Africa.

The company says it doesn’t have a headquarters in the traditional sense, although their managing director does have a home office in London.

As part of the “Who We Are” statement created by McKinsey, they say they take a “consistent approach to recruiting and developing” their people, regardless of where in the world they may be located.

Work-Life Flexibility

When it specifically comes to the company’s talent management strategy, a main tenant of their approach is fostering work-life flexibility.

There are three factors consistently reinforced. The first is that how each person approaches their own work-life balance is personal and constantly changing. The second is that no one approaches their career in the same way as another person. The third is that no one approaches their life outside of work, including their family and hobbies, in the same way as any other person.

One of the ways McKinsey addresses the above pillars of their talent management strategy is through the Take Time program, which allows consultants to take time off when they’re between projects. They can use the time in any way they want, ranging from traveling to spending time with friends and family.

Another option is The Pace program, which takes into consideration that everyone wants to have career advancement at a different speed. The program offers a sense of control over the course of one’s career, including the option for consultants to remain in their current position longer, which McKinsey hopes reduces a sense of stress that comes from the pressure to move quickly on to the next role.

One of the unique features of the McKinsey talent management strategy is the Flexibility Intranet, which gives employees guidance on various flexibility work models, and which are most likely to work for them at any given time in their career with the company. Formal policies are clearly outlined, as are case studies and videos from existing employees.

Along with outlined formality, there are a variety of tips and resources to help employees see how to take the best and most positive advantage of the flexibility offered by McKinsey. One of the reasons this is so fantastic goes back to a post we featured a few weeks ago, where the problem of flexibility and work-life balance was discussed. The issue, as highlighted by many U.S. companies, isn’t that employers aren’t offering flexible options, but rather employees are intimidated or don’t know how to take best advantage of these options. The McKinsey Intranet solves many of these issues cited in that post.

McKinsey has also been named as one of the world’s best companies to work for, as a working mother or father. They feature not only extensive leave benefits for mothers, fathers and adoptive parents but also coaching and support, delivered via a mothers’ network manager. The phase-back option is designed to help consultants make the transition back into their work role after they take maternity leave.

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Training and Development

Here’s what McKinsey says about employee training, and we think it boasts a great takeaway:

“Training programs generate greater value for organizations when the curricula reflect key business performance metrics. Testing real-world outcomes is crucial.”

As part of an article in the McKinsey Quarterly, writers Jenny Cermak and Monica McGurk write that most organizations spend significant amounts of money training their employees, without even knowing if they’re achieving business value as a result.

McKinsey reportedly spends more than $100 million annually to train employees, and they say their mission isn’t just to develop employee skills, but also relationships, confidence, and their futures.

Embark is the basic consultant readiness training program, teaching employees how team members serve clients, and it also shows new employees how to build their own client networks. Specialized learning is also offered in areas including technology, industry and functionality.

Training combines elements of both virtual and in-person programs.

Along with the basic consulting training program, McKinsey offers specialized training for employees dependent on their background and experience level, including business analyst training or mini-MBA programs for employees who come from non-business advanced degree programs.

As employees move from associate to engagement manager, they’ll participate in workshops about leadership and influencing skills while consultants moving to team leading roles participate in comprehensive leadership and management training.

Talent management strategy can be particularly important for a company like McKinsey, where consultants travel extensively and are scattered throughout the globe.  It’s this robust focus on talent management that allows McKinsey to continue to excel, and what ensures employees are connected to something strong even when they’re working remotely.

December 7, 2015   Updated :November 16, 2016      

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