Posted: September 19th, 2015
Accenture is a firm that provides a wide range of consulting and services to organizations worldwide. With more than 170,000 employees, the firm has clients in 120 countries that receive many HR and other consulting services. Among others, these services include organizational, strategic, and change management analyses; leadership training and development; and technology assistance and supply chain assistance. Large and small client organizations also outsource various operational functions to Accenture instead of performing them internally with employees. Thus, Accenture has many individuals who serve as consultants and support experts on specialized areas and industries.
Because of its many professional consulting and support staff members, Accenture has to manage its own human resources effectively in order to serve both itself and its clients. The rapid growth of this widespread firm has caused Accenture to hire up to 60,000 employees in just one year due to the expansion of clients and the need to replace employees who have left to become employees at other firms, to become independent consultants, or to work as employees at client firms.
What Accenture does for its own employees illustrates one reason why it is widely used by clients. At the heart of Accenture’s approach for itself is to consider its employees as a virtual workforce. This means that numerous employees work in many different places at different times, often using work-life balancing, technology resources, and work-related job flexibility. With offices in more than 150 cities worldwide, the work locations and schedules vary so much that numerous Accenture consultants have to reserve a desk at an office when they need to be there. Otherwise, many employees are encouraged to work outside offices.
The out-of-office environment presents an extensive HR challenge for Accenture in terms of engaging its employees. Many consultant employees work intermittently with a variety of managers and coworkers, in teams as large as 1,000 consultants, throughout multiple countries.
To practice retention in its own firm, Accenture does extensive training and development of employees. All new Accenture workers participate in “New Joiner Orientation” where they learn what is expected of them, do sample client projects with coworkers, and become linked to personal career counselors. Career training and development efforts include a wide range of activities, access to Accenture’s “Career Marketplace” website, and training in how to work effectively on different types of projects and in global locations. The value of these activities is shown in the fact that almost 39% of Accenture’s open U.S. jobs are filled by current employees who change and/or increase their job levels.
What Accenture’s employee retention program emphasizes is that the firm does not just consult about HR and other services for clients, but also does for itself what many current and potential clients need to do, which is to view HR planning and retention as crucial for organizational success and growth.54
1. Identify how some Accenture-type efforts have and have not occurred in your current and previous workplaces. Also, discuss why focusing on employee retention pays off for Accenture clients, and not just for Accenture itself.
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