I can only speak for the project based work at Slalom since I have not been staff aug.
- Very interesting work. The clients are top tier companies who put their trust in Slalom because of the intelligence that bubbles out of every consultant at Slalom.
- Learning from the best. There is so much to learn here. The employees at Slalom are on top of and mastering new technologies as they come out. Plus there is the thought that the best technology is the technology we are going to use on a project, not just what we're used to.
- Good pay
- Flat structure allows for input from everyone. Sometimes the new guys have the best ideas.
- For people who complain about a lack of career development... Managers are always receptive when it comes to a career or training talk. I see the lack of structure here as a benefit Slalom has. If you're a truely good technologist, you'll be recognized and you'll be rewarded.
- Eh, PTO? But I think they're doing something about that.
- The soda, food, and beer in the office is great, but how about a single cup coffee maker?
Advice to Management
Keep up the good work. Please don't strive to make this more like the 'big guys'.. The intelligent people are here because we don't want to deal with the bureaucratic bull of said firms. Grow smart... And give us more PTO.
+Small company that provides opportunities for you to make a name for yourself and grow your skills in consulting. If you are entrepreneurial, then Slalom allows you to grow a client base and build out new roles at places that have not yet been breached. This is pretty cool compared to other consulting companies that require you to really go through the larger hierarchy.
+The culture is friendly and they try to listen to your needs and find you roles based on those (see below for the flipside of this)
+Salary is competitive to other consulting firms, but nothing amazing.
-Lack of brand name recognition causes clients to not really know who Slalom is and what they do. It makes it more difficult to sell work.
-Roles are pretty basic staff aug. You wont find many meaty roles that often, but when you do they are good.
-Clients are mostly retail in the SF Bay Area. This is slowly changing, but not fast enough.
-Slalom's small size limits the types of projects that they can take.
-Pay is relatively weak compared to the market. Lots of people are itching to leave and look for other opportunities outside of consulting due to the potential for better salary for doing the same work.
-The culture is very much like a fraternity. You either feel like an insider or you don't. That's not to say there aren't good people. There's plenty of great people that are easy to get along with, but sometimes it just feels like it's a boy's club that you need to be in on.
-If you are unstaffed you only receive 50% of your salary.
-If you are unstaffed or coming available, they will try to shoehorn you into any role that is available. Sure, they claim they'll work with you and give you a choice, but despite that they will setup interviews for you with clients and promise you to roles without consulting you about it first. As such, if you decide to turn down the role, management will pressure you and take it the wrong way if you dont accept.
-Unless you plan on selling work (read: entrepreneurial consultant spirit), you aren't going to grow your career very much at Slalom and you'll likely end up doing the same roles over and over again.
Advice to Management
-Instead of saying you listen to people and try to meet their needs, actually do this and dont force people into roles they don't want.
-Revisit your benefits and compensation. People aren't too thrilled about it and the market offers far better.
-Expand your client base to include more strategic and interesting roles and less focus on the staff aug at retail clients.
-Build out a methodology and train the team about them.
-Provide a better training system beyond the one that is being worked on.
High quality co-workers, very smart team. Great benefits. Many assignments are within a Slalom team. Less staff aug than at other shops but still has a lot.
Hard to be recognized as valuable when you are new, even if you come in with lots of experience. Be prepared to 'pay your dues'.
Advice to Management
Look beyond certifications and consulting-specific experience.
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Great people, Great Opportunities, Great Benefits, A genuine interest and care in employees and culture, honesty when dealing with employees or clients, and great clients.
Some growing pains, Management heirachy is confusing, needs more consistent processes, needs more collaboration with other offices in the organization.
Advice to Management
Keep up the awesome work. Your dedication to people and culture is refreshing and appreciated. We'll all work together to make this the best place to work.
Incredible Team that works and wins together
Engaged Leadership that cares
Awesome Clients who value our work
Projects focuses on our client's most strategic initiatives
Focused go to market strategy - EPIC
Efforts to gauge and increase Employee Engagement
Well communicated growth strategy
Awesome knowledge sharing
Autonomy to pursue your interests can be challenging
Self directed career development requires extra focus
variety of assignments
friendly peers and management
lack of clarity of processes for staffing, promotions
requires a lot of networking, but not unusual
Although I have only been at Slalom a short time, I have found the strongest pros for working there to be the following:
1. THE PEOPLE - Our culture is unlike any other consulting firm. Though most individuals come from other consulting firms, we are the best of the best and our personalities and culture are defined by this! We strive to constantly improve ourselves and our firm.
2. LOCAL MARKET - Our ability to provide value locally is key, especially for individuals who like a balanced life and want to still continue to do great work!
3. FLAT ORG STRUCTURE - Our organization structure is fairly flat so ability to have an impact internally is easily accessible.
4. GREAT PAY! - always a bonus to be rewarded for great work!
As it is still a growing organization, more framework around career development is currently in progress to help consultants have a model for career development. This is one area which Slalom currently is struggling with - as many organizations have more framework developed, I can see Slalom getting there in the near term.
The benefits could also be a bit better.
Advice to Management
Redefine our career development framework to be more structured and review our benefits. Though are pay is great, the 401k matching and medical plans can be better.
Slalom offers a "career path" though it is very immature at this time. Will be interesting to see how well it is rolled out and utilized over the next two years.
Slalom is growing fast, achieving a steady CAGR and is striking a good balance investment in growth and maintenance of the bottom-line.
Slalom is starting to push for more team-based work opportunities and is focusing on being more of a strategic partner to their clients instead of just filling staffing needs. Though the direction seems proper, the company is still selling WAY TOO MUCH staff augmentation (and calling it strategic project work) and this will hurt them in the long-run if it continues.
All local-based work, and even travel-based work (only if you want, they won't typically force you to travel). A lot of local travel, though if your background is that of a traveling consultant, this might be the change you are looking for. Don't leave your current job just because of this though.
There always seems to be something going on. This is one of the benefits. There seems to be a good sense of team, community and being part of the Chicago community. From special events to your typical happy hour, Slalom is an active company.
Much like Accenture, Deloitte, etc. having the Slalom name on your resume will likely afford you some future respect if the companies continues to maintain growth and marketing efforts... as well as making clients happy!
Small company, so finding the right niche and place in the company should be easier, though this is not promised. I know people trying to make career adjustments who are not being taken serious at all. Some, over ttime, have had to leave just to find the adjustments they had been asking for
Benefit situation is no way on par with other consulting firms. 30+ days PTO down to 12 days. Make sure to include this in your compensation discussions.
Though work is local, it can be difficult to actually find work near your home. A lot of in-town travel can be required at times. (Still nice to sleep at home at night though)
Staffing needs often trump personal interest as well as experience - consultants are asked to do work outside their "tenured" experience. For hiring seasoned employees, doesn't provide clients the best value for their buck at times. This happens at all firms, but because Slalom is smaller, it can become more predominant problem here.
Be weary of recruiting salary / benefit information and do your math. If you are looking at Slalom coming from a bigger firm, your PTO and benefits are worth A LOT and you MUST factor that into your pay at Slalom, or they will LOW BALL you.
Take all opinions and comments about Slalom "with a grain of salt" so to say. Just like people who warned you of a certain professor, all experiences and situations are different. Really weigh your options and needs before you make a decision. Slalom is a great company, but like all growing companies, they need to balance many forces coming at them simultaneously. The Cons listed here represent a certain point of view, that overtime, could be subject to change.
Advice to Management
Be more open... and not in a "strategy review" session type of way. Seems to be certain ways of doing things, that, if rippled in the slightest, cause major issues that take too much time/effort to babysit. With a growing company, certain processes need to be set, of course, but transparency along with an open attitude need to come strong as well.
•Strong financial records and growth in 2010
•They throw a big quarterly party. You get get some shrimp. Quite exciting.
• Largely your satisfaction will be decided by where you spend most your time, which is probably on the client's site. Slalom is all about selling selling selling. They have some good and some very poor clients. I did not see them end relationships with poor clients, merely cycle in new consultants at the time of renewal, despite knowing the were not healthy clientele.
• The leadership shares in the profits and has been there quite a while. Good luck making it into that echelon. Would take you 3 years to join in the profit sharing. Very cliquish and not open to discussing industry best practices and other forward thinking initiatives unless they originated the discussions. Some territorial and poor performers who should be cleaned out but never will because they bought into the company. Relatively frat house and male dominated in this way.
• Few high ranking women in positions other than sales and HR.
• Behind creative solutions offered by more robust consultancies.
• People leading teams who have never worked on the ground in the fields they manage over. This leads them to selling things they didn't understand and making promises they can't support.
• Benefits are truly mediocre at best. Vacation is less than competitors and people have left for this reason alone when they have families.
• 2011 has seen a lot of attrition as many of us left for better pay, companies where our voices would be heard, or places where managers functioned as more than just sales people and staffers.
• Company divisions are very territorial and none of the leaders to my knowledge are interested in taking on cross departmental initiatives.
• There was really no sense of team in our department. Everyone was out for themselves, and that tone comes from higher up.
• Their exit interviews are really engineered so they don't have to hear any constructive criticism. Was pretty funny.
Advice to Management
• Think about the company as a whole not just the silo that reports to you and your bonus off direct reports.
• Understand what you are selling and when you don't, learn it or ask for help in creating your bids.
• Focus on other sources of revenue besides your top 5.
• When you give awards at the quarterly, attach some money or prizes to it. Not just a certificate. The company makes enough money to do so, and it seems odd not to do so.
• Offer better support to people who are staffed at very difficult clients.
• Create a system where bright new people can advance beyond mediocre people with tenure. Figure it out, or we leave to go work for place that offer us opportunities! And that is how your company loses market share and reputation, Slalom.
- Fantastic, experienced, smart people to work with (no junior consultants!)
- Lots of opportunities to help grow the business - both internally and externally (sales)
- Super friendly culture with lots of social events
- Low key, laid-back attitude balanced with high standards of delivery
- Great facilities for such a small company
- Highly flexible work environment - you can really live the consulting lifestyle here!
- No travel unless you want to
- Great salary and vacation
- Very hands-off management, because they only hire senior consultants they trust you to do your job, manage your client, and work with your team
- Small market limits type of work and clients, which means sometimes you just have to do what you have to do!
- No junior consultants means you have to do all the dirty work too :)
- Benefits package is mediocre at best, I'm paying a lot more out of pocket
- Flexibility comes with risk - if you're on the bench you only get paid 50% of your salary
- Because it is a growing, small company - bad infrastructure (slow network, no knowledge management, very little process in place)
- Just starting to define career paths - very little career management in place so you really have to find your own way
Advice to Management
- A more robust process around the biz dev pipeline that leverages people who want to help could result in a more stable pipeline and improved account management
- Need some more focus on building expert communities and intellectual capital that can be shared across the nation
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