I worked at Towers Perrin full-time (More than 3 years)
The division/group that I worked in had a very relaxed, business casual environment. My superiors (senior programmers, business analysts, and managers) as well as my peers were a pleasure to work with and contributed a lot to my learning.
Our department did benefits enrollment. Work was somewhat seasonal that normally peaked-out during the last quarter of the year. Long hours and high stress during these periods.
I believe Towers Perrin has done a better job than most competitors of anticipating the marketplace, planning new ventures, and dedicating teams to move the firm in that direction. They seem truly committed to breaking out of being “a” leader in the industry to being “the” leader, offering truly innovative solutions. I’ve found it to be a place that allows you to pursue new ideas and see which ones work and which don’t. Collaboration between groups seems very strong. While I haven’t worked within other firms, over the past few years we’ve attracted Sr. leaders from other organizations in the U.S. who were discontent with their firms’ direction, showing they have more faith in our leadership, which is nice to see.
We seem to be tougher on ourselves than the competition. The firm is filled with successful, smart, Type-A personalities which have high expectations for themselves. This also translates to their expectations of those around them and leadership, etc. So, I think we can be our toughest critics sometimes.
There is a certain amount of reporting, tracking, systems in place, etc. that are necessary to run a larger, complex business. But, I’m not sure this is any different than other organizations of a similar size.
Many (not all) of the roles expect a lot of different attributes to be found in one person. (E.g. the ability to interface with clients, have strong technical depth, manage people/processes, do internal things, etc.) It’s nice to be able to develop several skills at once, but some roles can be challenging.
Advice to Management
The main thing that I think senior management could do better is simply act quicker on their plans. They seem to be going the right direction, but are very deliberate in their decision-making (which is good) but sometimes you wonder if you couldn’t do things faster. For instance, one thing they seem committed to doing is much more integration between services that traditionally have had little to do with one another. Everyone agrees that needs to be done and steps are being taken, but the quicker-the better.
My sense is this message is getting to them and I expect bolder/faster moves in 2009.
Prots include learning opportunities, professional development, culture
Monotonous work, sometimes difficult to get staffed on more dynamic, interesting projects
* High performers get treated well
* Company is open to hearing thoughts/ideas - you guide your own career
* Small company feel, even though it's a big company
* Technology is outdated and horrible
* Inconsistent people manager experience -- some are good, others are bad
* Long hours (but what consulting firm doesn't have long hours?"
* Merger with WW -- feels like we've been taken over; many WW leaders in leadership positions
Advice to Management
Get some better technology! That makes us less productive and less able to bill our time!
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