I worked at Hitachi Consulting full-time (More than 3 years)
Projects at Hitachi Consulting (HCC) are generally a good way to gain lots more experience than you would working at an 'industry' job. You will interact with lots more people (even high level people, like controllers, C-levels, directors, etc.) than you would in a day-to-day operation. This, along with tight project deadlines (remember, consulting is expensive - time is always of the essence) will make you learn how to work efficiently, be detail-oriented, and deliver good results. With a good project manager (which are unfortunately hard to find), you will be given coaching in how to handle yourself professionally, which is extremely valuable no matter where you end up. A company shutdown went into effect from Christmas to New Years, which was free PTO - that was nice. There are rumors this might be going away due to recent financial performance of the company. I was also taken to lots of team dinners on the project's dime, which was also nice.
The biggest problem Hitachi suffers from is inconsistency. Meaning: inconsistency in how projects are managed, inconsistency in how employee performance is evaluated (forced distribution), and inconsistency in how different types of workers are treated. I'll expand on each of these.
1) Inconsistent Project Management. Hitachi employs a very large amount of project managers, as they are core to the business. Their job is about keeping the project running smoothly, doing status updates, making sure deadlines are met, and shielding workers from out-of-scope project requests from the client. The problem is that HCC has no consistency in how projects get done. My personal experience showed me both sides of the coin: one project had me working with the best manager I've ever had - they handled status meetings, managed client expectations and assigned deliverables, guided us into meeting deadlines, and gave professional coaching at every turn. Then, I worked on another project with the worst manager I've ever had. He badmouthed his own workers, created fire drills for every single issue the client brought up (even though many of these could've been handled by managing expectations correctly), and didn't follow any sort of project plan. His workers were left to pick up the pieces. Unfortunately, you are more likely to work under a bad project manager than a good one, as stories like mine are common. If you do work with a good manager, keep them close and hope you can work with them often. This piece of advice is extremely important, because your social network will determine how you rank against your peers. Which leads me into:
2) Inconsistent Employee Performance Evaluation. I've waited a year since I left HCC to review the company as I wanted to gain experience at another consulting firm to compare and contrast how HCC does performance reviews. I remain very unimpressed with how Hitachi handles employee evaluations. The primary reason being politics. If you decide to work here, make sure your personality is very extroverted and that you can make friends easily, because your job depends on it. The reason this happens is due to the company's performance review process (called the GARM) which assembles your career advisor (your representative) and company leadership (managers and above) to review every person. It is structured like this: the employee writes project and annual reviews, which are then reviewed with your career advisor. Your career advisor then represents you in the GARM meeting (much like a lawyer represents a client) by defending a good rating because of your accomplishments over the past year. Then, a discussion period happens in which anyone can comment on your performance. Here are my issues with this process: A) Your project manager(s) may not be present when you are being evaluated - so, your career advisor (who already has their own job to do on top of representing you) must present your accomplishments and defend you. The people who know your work may not even be present when being officially evaluated. B) As anyone can chime in when a person is being evaluated, a single comment can be the difference between you getting a promotion or not for an entire year (no matter your work accomplishments or work ethic). This is why it's extremely important to play politics and make friends with leadership and people who will be in your GARM session. You want nothing but good things said about you, otherwise your peer that has made the right connections may walk away with that raise, not you. C) Forced ranking - after the GARM meeting is over, senior leadership will then receive a list from HR of how many people can be ranked in each category (1 for worst, 5 for best). This means that if most of your office got 3's (normal; good performance), leadership must knock others down to 2's or 1's. Remember my advice on making friends? This is where those negative comments can also hurt you, even after the meeting is over. It just takes one thought or comment to knock you down from being a good worker to being given a performance improvement plan from HR. In short: your actual job performance is only 50% of what matters in official evaluations. You can work endless overtime by making sure the client gets what they need, but if you managed to make someone upset with you during the course of the year for the smallest thing, it is the difference between being promoted or not. Play politics or perish.
3) Differences in how types of employees were treated. I often found that there is a social hierarchy in how types of employees were treated at the company. Management is looked upon as most favorable, while IT workers are generally looked at as a necessary ingredient to get a project done. This might be because of the political culture HCC has; IT employees are generally not as good at politics as the management employees. Indian employees were hit the worst - as many of them were relying on the job with HCC to get green cards they were treated extremely poorly, as if dangling that option in front of them and letting them know if they didn't sacrifice everything for the company that option would never happen. It was hard to watch. Women were also not treated as well as their male counterparts - there was a 10 to 1 ratio of upper management of men vs. women. Rumor has is that salaries were also lower women than men.
To sum it up - if you play politics well and can manage your project workload along with 'extracurricular' activities to increase your standing in management's eyes, you will probably do well here. If you care about being evaluated based on your work, I'd advice looking for employment elsewhere.
Advice to Management
The current culture is toxic and does not reward hard work employees do on projects. Forced ranking will drive good employees away (especially those without the political skillset of others).
I have been working at Hitachi Consulting full-time (More than 3 years)
Some really decent, hardworking people, especially at mid-lower levels
Sr Management with little to no long-term vision or concern about retention
Failure after failure at acquisition goals
Unrealistic revenue goals given resources and plan
Poor communication between Sr Management and the rest of company
Been slowly offshoring much of critical functions to India after purchase of Sierra Atlantic--but positioned resulting job eliminatiosn as "job redundancy"
Laying off 6-10% of workforce in 2012
Advice to Management
Your drastic and almost reckless strategy for reducing operating income is obviously impacting both your growth and reputation. Word spreads fast, to market analysts and to potential customers.
Great health insurance
A lot of PTO time
Management doesn't listen to you about your career development wishes
Not much training, especially with technology
They make non management people do a lot of administrative work such as creating proposals billing clients, and sales work.
Advice to Management
There needs to be more opportunities for training. For people that have functional consulting experience, it can be a challenge to get good technical experience and knowledge at Hitachi Consulting. Also Hitachi says that they listen to employees regarding career development. However, I've found that they usually just try to staff me on any project they can find. Plus, some of the project managers lack leadership ability and shouldn't be in charge of other people.
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good place to start if you're coming out fo college but not for Sr Consultant. They have a nice benefits package, which is good for those that need it. Great Health benefits.
poor managment, poor communication, impossible to get people to do their jobs correctly. The management and recruiting team is not technical even close to enough to understand their own consultants and clients' needs. They don't review their consultants skill sets to better place them for growth of the company or growth of the consultant. Efforts should be taken from the top down to reduce turnover and keep consultants on staff that actually know their skill sets not fake them.
Advice to Management
communicate better and base reviews and promotions on skill set and performance not time spent in a position.
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