Booz Allen Hamilton
Booz Allen – Arlington, VA
Key Role: Serve as a network engineer interfacing with senior-level government clients, helping to shape their IT, networking, communication, and… Booz Allen
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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 5 years)Pros
The firm has a lot of very smart people, and is very friendly to scientists and veterans. They have a large footprint across the federal government, so there are a good number of opportunities. The firm seems to do a better job of weathering events like the government shutdown than their peers (SAIC, BAE, etc...). There is a decent level of stability given the industry.
There are high ethical standards, a focus on quality work, and opportunities to advance.Cons
Since the Carlyle buyout and the IPO, there has been a series of cost cutting efforts that seem to focus on improving the P&L in time for each quarterly earnings announcement. Over the last few years, we've had:
* a (poorly executed) move to hoteling that killed any sense of team cohesion.
* reduction in the 401(k) (Actually, the previous program was a 10% profit share, now it is a 6% match that only pays out if you are still employed at the firm at the end of the year)
* Reduction in health insurance (a switch to high-deductible plans)
* Watering down the 360 degree assessment process to one that amounts to little more than a checklist.
*(They even got rid of all plants in the offices as a way to save money)
Every couple of years, management tries to dramatically shift the organization with the promise that This Time Is Different. There have been switches back and forth between functional and market aligned structures. There was the One Firm push to integrate the commercial and government businesses ("we are one firm, we can work together"), followed by the split of the two halves ("we were really two separate businesses, with different models and cultures"), and the attempt to recreate a commercial business ("This time will be different").
When I started, the firm's culture, reputation as a premium brand, and benefits were the big draws. I don't think any of them are particularly notable anymore.
Over the last year there have been a bunch of efforts that are hard to look at with an unjaded eye -- the "Ed talks" are the firm's take on Ted talks (having a senior vice president give a speech while walking around on a stage really doesn't capture the whole Ted experience); knock-offs of Shark Tank, and superficial talk of innovation fill our email boxes along with videos of our new president's "Connect Tour." Some employees are paid to try and build excitement on Yammer. A lot of effort goes into what one might call "influence operations" to convince employees that management is on their side.Advice to ManagementAdvice
Look back to the basics that made the firm great. It probably isn't possible to undo the cost savings you've already imposed since the IPO, but you can staunch the bleeding.
You've managed to erode the corporate culture through hoteling and a watered down assessment process. The email campaign about the new health care plans was tone deaf.
We've got to rebuild the culture. Give Principals more autonomy. Figure out a way to get teams working in the same place.
Perhaps the only thing you could do to hurt morale and team culture more than you have would be to move to open office plans. You made a mistake with hoteling -- don't amplify it.Doesn't RecommendNeutral OutlookNo opinion of CEO