Two weeks ago the Sunday Times revealed its list of the top 25 ‘Best Small Companies to Work For’. For The Berkeley Partnership, a ~50-man strong London based management consultancy, it is the fourth consecutive year it has made the list, and once again scores as the highest ranked consultancy. Commenting on the recognition, Hadley Baldwin, Partner at The Berkeley Partnership, says the award emphasizes the firm’s unique and different approach to consulting.
Every year the Sunday Times releases its well-known ‘Best Companies To Work For’ ranking, a list that celebrates the best small (SMEs with staff of 50-250), mid-sized (staff of 250-3,500), and big workplaces (staff of 3,500+). The lists are based on employee opinions on subjects of wellbeing in the workplace, giving back to society, strong leadership and teaming, opportunities for personal growth, and fair pay and benefits. This year 16 consulting firms have made the prestigious list: EY and Deloitte (large firms), Hymans Robertson and Cambridge Consultants (mid-sized firms), with twelve consultancies represented in the small category.
The Berkeley Partnership
In the ‘Best Small Companies to Work For’ The Berkeley Partnership for the second year running leads the pack. According to Hadley Baldwin, Partner at the consultancy, the firm’s success can be attributed to its “different approach”, stating: “We have worked really hard on our employee proposition and believe we have an offer that really differentiates us from other consulting firms.” He sees four main pillars that underlie the success.
Firstly, The Berkeley Partnership’s resourcing model is based on broadening the skills base of consultants, opposed to the deepening approach found typically at rival firms. “We encourage consultants to broaden their expertise working across industries and across the project lifecycle from strategy to delivery. We believe this is best for career development”, he says. The Berkeley Partnership for instance works for clients in Financial Services, Oil & Gas, FMCG, Retail and Media, but also for public sector institutions, and advisors tend to contribute to engagements across a variety of industries. With as result that consultants are not pushed towards focusing purely on a specific industry / functional practice, a movement that generally has been gaining ground in the industry over the past years.
Secondly, The Berkeley Partnership in his view offers an attractive, but also innovative reward package. The firm’s compensation & benefits package includes generous rewards, and includes full secondary benefits such as private health care, life cover and maternity/paternity leave. “We want to reward people well and treat them well – that way, you get a highly motivated team who are really focused on delivering the best service they can to clients.” On top of the financial incentives, the management consultancy also has several innovative policies in place that for instance compensate hardworking employees, or grant consultants the possibility to take time off to deliver a social impact. One scheme Baldwin highlights is what the firm calls ‘discretionary time’ – a HR policy which allows staff to take up to 5 days’ paid time, during which they can work for a charity or undertake other, personal development activities.
Thirdly, Baldwin points at the fact that the firm’s approach differs from that of the big global consultancies. After starting his career in 1997 with consulting and IT-giant Accenture he moved to The Berkeley Partnership in 2002, and looking back he observes a key difference in consulting models. “I joined Berkeley because I was looking for more autonomy and a broader range of clients. Since then I have enjoyed both. The relationships we have with our clients are also different to that of a big global consultancy - they are more personal and our independence means we can focus on doing the right thing for our clients without any commercial distractions.”
The firm’s culture is the fourth area Baldwin refers to, saying “I like Berkeley because the people are great and the culture is very open, positive and fun.”