North Highland Reviews | Glassdoor

North Highland Reviews

Updated July 18, 2018
485 reviews

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2.6
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North Highland President and CEO Dan Reardon
Dan Reardon
305 Ratings

485 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • "Coasting on old reputation of great work life balance, but reality doesn't match anymore" (in 17 reviews)

  • "Your title is Consultant, but in actuality you are just staff augmentation" (in 27 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (6)

    "Lots of Change, and Lots of Opportunity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Manager in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at North Highland full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The firm is very employee-centric and is very deliberate about maintaining it's culture - even through times of transformation. The work is challenging and there are an abundance of opportunities to shape your own development and work on the types of things that interest you. The firm is also growing and there is excellent upward mobility for performers.

    Cons

    The firm regularly executes change initiatives which can be disruptive at times, and will also sometimes implement well-meaning initiatives without fully thinking through all the implications.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the focus on deliberate growth and do whatever it takes to keep the tight-knit, entrepreneurial culture that built this company.


  2. "Business Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at North Highland full-time

    Pros

    Friendly and enthusiastic staff and leadership group

    Cons

    Nothing for now. Just joined so hopefully don't unearth a lot of them.

  3. Helpful (10)

    "Currently coasting on a brand and reputation created years ago."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at North Highland full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Centrally located office in Atlanta.

    Cons

    No longer has deep ties into the local Atlanta market. Lots of resources unassigned.


  4. Helpful (9)

    "The constant change is too much to follow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at North Highland full-time

    Pros

    I loved the people that I worked with, for the most part. The individuals were hard working and would do the best they could to serve their clients, their employees, and the firm. It's a difficult balance to strike so I admire that!

    The projects I worked on were great and 90% of the time had great colleagues who put in as much work as I did. I was able to learn from them while they were still here.

    You can grow in different directions and lots of opportunities for leadership development. You'll need to put in the time and effort outside of your project hours, but if that's what you're after, you can do it.

    Cons

    The constant re-organization of the firm is too much to keep up with. The employees are more and more confused and no one can explain it well. The latest was a realignment on how people's skills are categorized and how we sell work. You basically can only grow in your area of strength, and if you happen to want to cross over into another area, you have to put in extra time to show you're worth and can be sold as an expert. When you're already spending 50 hours a week on projects, coaching, selling, volunteering, community building in the firm, and growing the expertise area, adding yet another 3-4 hours a week to grow in another direction is just too much. I came to consulting to keep learning both within and outside of my field. I understand the need to grow deep in a field and be able to sell us as "experts", but it also pigeon-holes us and we can't be sold on different types of projects when they become available. If I wanted to do only one thing, I can do that in the industry with a better work-life balance and without the constant need to do business development. And with better benefits.

    If you have a family, work-life balance is tougher than it used to be even 2-3 years ago. Expect to put in another 1-3 hours nightly after your client work.

    Policies get rolled out with no inputs from actual consultants. I've never met a single consultant who had input into any of the big changes that affect us directly. I think they only pick top people for feebdack, those who haven't worked as consultants in a while and who don't want to speak up because they need the job.

    Many of the top experts I knew have left the company. This left less experienced consultants with fewer and fewer people to teach them, especially when those folks are being pushed to sell more and more. They have less time and energy to take on another coachee/mentee.

    Somehow, mediocre people are allowed to stay much longer than they should and really suck up resources and effort. This leaves the remaining team members to pick up the slack and be responsible for more than they should. The project ends up doing ok and the guilty party coasts on to the next project with not-so-bad reviews (at worst).

    Advice to Management

    Please, please, get buy-in from consultants before rolling out new policies and restructuring events. It will help when people truly believe change is coming from within instead of being done to them.

    Incorporate feedback from ALL levels, not just account managers and above. You can stabilize the company!!


  5. Helpful (9)

    "Lost in Translation"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Charlotte, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at North Highland full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Rose and Mary helping people in the office when you first walk in (Charlotte)
    Toaster oven in the office
    Paid for your parking

    Cons

    The Never-Ending Mindset to Just Make Money - Profit, Profit, Profit
    You get taxed on equity you will never actually make
    They couldn't afford to pay out equity to the heavy hitters (very top heavy)
    Shift in turnover/attrition
    Total lack of diversity in race and backgrounds (it's bright in there) - pretty awful basketball team
    Lazy people can make a lot of money and skate by if they make the right connections
    People "creating" metrics to appear as if they are doing work, and they actually get away with it
    Lack of respect for each other's "territory"

    Advice to Management

    Get to know more about what your people and teams are doing, their frustrations and what they enjoy, and then build your structure in a way that puts them in a position to succeed. Too much of the approach was reactionary, and it often was misguided and carried out poorly. Dan Reardon would make up stories on the spot to apply to "hypothetical situations" he thought applied, and usually he had that typical salesman persona. NH seemed to lose sight of the concept of adding value and lost some fantastic glue members of the company. It became more of a recruiting firm that couldn't make up its minds on which direction it wanted to go as opposed to a dependable, transparent company that sees the big picture. Definitely a dark time in my life working there, despite the power never going out.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "so many people have left - what does everyone else know that you don't?"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Management Consultant in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Management Consultant in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at North Highland full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work/Life Balance - most consultants won't be expected to work excruciating hours outside of the normal 40/50 hour work week. There's also a fairly liberal sense of autonomy - as long as you get your work done, and make sure you're in contact with your client and your NH manager, there isn't much micromanagement.

    People - it's hard to equate a company with its people, but it seems that NH attracts the type of employee that is generally a pleasure to work with, and one that contributes to a familial vibe in the office. The downside, of course, is that most of the best people have left (and are leaving). When a few people leave it's understandable, but when waves of the best talent depart - some to competing consulting firms - you have to wonder if everyone knows something that you don't. Perhaps it's that better pay for the same type of work can be had at other firms, you'd rather dedicate the majority of your waking hours to working at a place that values its employees through transparency and the awarding of right behaviors, and/or that you found another imperfect company that offers all that NH lacks (market-rate compensation, above-average benefits, honest and responsive leadership).

    Solid Foundation - every project varies, and the work that you'll be involved in will be determined by your client, but in general most of the work is heavy on Project Management. This serves as a great base to hone your core consulting skills, and if you're willing to put in the time and ask good questions, you'll learn fast to apply your fundamental skills to truly any industry.

    Cons

    Compensation - pay is lower than market rate at competing firms, BUT the trade-off is that projects are local and non-travel. However, this all changed with the latest version of NH that leadership tried to roll out - so now there is an expectation that consultants travel, but pay hasn't been adjusted. So you may travel like Big 4 consultants, do similar work, but get paid less - what's the incentive to stay?

    Leadership - as mentioned in past posts, there is a severe disconnect between leadership in Atlanta and leadership in local offices. In the case of the NYC office, leadership has been decimated by VPs leaving, mostly by their own choice, and not being replaced. So the local office has no leadership representation at the VP level, and VPs from other offices are "patched in" every so often for "support," but they have no idea what is going on at the local office level. What is employee morale? How are questions routed to the top? The last time questions were promised to be answered, employees all gathered in the Philly office and were told that questions would not be addressed. Even worse, no adequate explanation was given as to why this was the case - experiences like these really make one lose confidence and respect in their firm.

    Stability - the frequency of change at NH would make you think they were operating on a Agile, start-up schedule of innovation; employees are expected to travel, bonus model and expectations evolve to unattainable standards (ex. minimum billable hours + lofty sales goals), etc. Unfortunately, the changes are not implemented well, nor are they communicated is a sufficient manner to employees that alleviates the disrupt that comes with new policies. It'd be one benefit if such changes had a tangible, palpable value-prop to the employee, but instead they just come off as a company that has failed in their previous iteration (v2, v2.5, v3) and is now trying to give it another shot with a different spin.

    Extra Curriculars - there is a strong push to "build your brand" within your office, which comes through participation in various events (ex. community service, office social events, client engagement planning, thought leadership, etc.). This is held against you in your evaluations if you don't have this well-rounded aspect to your work persona, but it contributes very little to cases for promotion and upward advancement. This gives the impression that such activities are, in fact, second-tier to the ultimate goal of selling work. Let's be honest, running community service events doesn't bring in $ the way signing a new SOW does, but if it's really not as important, then don't make it an expectation in evaluating the overall performance of an employee.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on your employees - get an honest gauge as to how each office is doing overall, and host open Q&A with leadership to show that all employees are in this ship together.

    Address, head on, the complaints raised in this review and others that dominate the NH Glassdoor page. This is the public page that prospective candidates undoubtedly read before considering whether or not they want to join your firm - would you want to hire someone who isn't fully emotionally invested in your mission and values? The constant departure of employees is a function of lost confidence and pride in NH, and you could stem this if you put your best, transparent self to the public. If these complaints are inaccurate, say so and create a dialogue - otherwise you are facing an uphill battle to attract competent talent to an otherwise downward trending firm.


  7. Helpful (19)

    "Mediocre at best"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at North Highland full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    When I joined the firm back in 2005, it was a fairly easy decision. The company had a clear vision of the type of work they wanted to pursue and the arena in which they wanted to compete. The ambition was to vie with the Big 4 and, occasionally, with McKinsey. The firm aspired to be a trusted advisor to each of its clients and to do meaningful work. Back then, the pay at NH was still not as competitive as other consulting firms but the promise of the ESOP making us all millionaires and healthy green line bonuses salved the sting of lower salaries. Additionally, the offices were still relatively small so there was still a familial vibe. Also, as owners of the company, we felt as if our opinions were considered in decisions made about our collective destinies. In sum, it was a company that I felt would be a great long term home especially compared to the rather cold and unfriendly mega-consulting firms that were fixated only on the billable hour.

    Cons

    Erase everything that was mentioned in the Pros section from your short term memory. The NH of 2005, or even of 2015, should not be mentioned in the same breath as the NH of today. The Dan Reardon sycophants that occupy their places at the table now are managing the firm for one of two reasons: they are good salesman or they appealed to Dan’s ego and became valuable to him in that they would support any/all decisions made by him no matter how questionable. In its current iteration the firm has abandoned its ambition to do true consulting work for the ease and promise of a quick buck. The firm is clearly focused on being a staff augmentation firm whose desire is to provide its clients with inexpensive and,often times,inexperienced resources that can perform non value-add tasks. The desire to compete with the Big 4 is also a thing of the past. While firms like Accenture continue to command rates commensurate with real consulting, NH has continued to see its rates and quality of resources deteriorate. The collegial environment has also vanished. The desire to develop its resources and provide them with a variety of engaging opportunities has been replaced with the need to accept a role, no matter one desires or qualifications, or be terminated. The green line bonuses are nearly non existent and the ESOP is an albatross rather than an incentive to new hires. Rather than a destination for consultants that want to work in a more boutique consulting house, NH has become a way station for contracted resources that will leave the company for $2 more per hour. It’s become exactly what the firm historically has fought to avoid- a body shop.

    Advice to Management

    There is no point in reiterating what has been said many times in prior reviews. Dan won’t step down despite the continued damage his vision, or lack thereof, have reaped on a once vibrant company. The only way the firm can be brought back from the brink is an infusion of new blood and the desire to once again distinguish it as a thought leader rather than a also ran

  8. Helpful (11)

    "Worst Leader Tina Ehrig"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Manager in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at North Highland full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Lots of time available as employees remain on bench

    Cons

    Tina Ehrig has destroyed the credibility of the company, worst leader and poor strategy

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of all the useless management


  9. Helpful (7)

    "Mediocre at best"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Having started with the firm in 2005, the decision to work for North Highland was an easy one - the incentives far outweighed the negatives . The company was still small enough to make its owners feel like they had a voice in the direction of the company. Offices were smaller, opportunities more diverse, and it truly felt more familial. The green line bonuses still existed and the ESOP was going to make us all millionaires. more importantly, North Highland was a “consulting” firm and was respected as a firm that could occasionally compete with McKinsey, and at least be mentioned in the same breath with Accenture, KPMG, and E&Y

    Cons

    Fast forward to present day. Erase all of my previous comments from your short term memory. The company has morphed, or degenerated, depending on your point of view, into a mediocre staff augmentation firm. The green line bonuses are essentially non existent and the ESOP may as well be. Long term tenure with NH will no longer offer the dream of leaving the company with any sort of nest egg that the company provided. Also gone are the days where the firm is mentioned as a consulting firm that can be a trusted partner of its clients. In its current version, NH can offer plug and play resources to perform a client’s busy work. The company is no longer seen as a competitor to any of the Big 4. Also gone is the collegial atmosphere. Based on direction provided by Dan, and this is nothing new, the emphasis remains focused on squeezing every nickel out of a client that can be made. It creates a very one dimensional focus - money is more important than development of its people and more important than the sense of belonging to something bigger than one’s self. Lastly, in terms of the opportunities and feeling as if you have a voice in the direction of the company, forget it. If you are working for NH now you will take whatever opportunity is presented to you or risk being on the bench (i.e. being fired). There is no job security with the firm and your opinion definitely does not matter.

    Advice to Management

    It’s all been said before and still no one has taken any appreciable action. The firm will continue to spiral further into mediocrity and cement its reputation as a way station in the search for a real career.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Senior Consultant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Consultant in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Consultant in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at North Highland full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Some very bright and caring individuals who are doing their best.

    Delivery teams deeply care about the client.

    If you are in your 20s or 30s there is great collegiality in the NY office.

    Cons

    The entire operating model (and flux in strategy) brings out the worst in people. The set up of competing P&Ls, focus on billable hours (no matter what they tell you - helping on internal initiatives or external branding does not count towards enhancing our reputation or your bonus), and mis-match between what NH wants to do vs. what it can do, has hurt the company.

    Many good people were unceremoniously "dumped" and many top performers have recently left on their own accord. Smart rats and sinking ship?

    Perhaps if you are a new graduate, close to the white man center of control in Atlanta it could work. Otherwise, I would stay away from this company.

    Advice to Management

    Re-think your "go to" staff aug strategy of placing senior consultants full time on projects. It prices these consultants out of good opportunities (when you replace them with more junior consultants), does not serve the client (why pay for a lawyer when sometimes you only need a Legal Assistant), does not allow for leverage of senior talent, and decreases ability to mentor more junior consultants. You need to work with the VPs on this one.

    Set up institutional incentives to be kinder to your employees. It actually matters. I'm not talking bean bag chairs, free snacks and picnics. That's the easy stuff.

    Take a good look at your firing processes. Too many people were surprised by being let go. No reason for this!

    Good luck!


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