First Consulting: 200 employees, no office and a strong organisational culture

23 March 2018 3 min. read
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First Consulting will soon pass the threshold of 200 employees, yet they still don’t have a central office, relying on a strong organisational culture remaining to knit together and drive their people and their business. Maarten Icking, partner at the consultancy, tells of how their culture has only strengthened over the recent years.

“During a period of growth, many organisations lose themselves in bureaucracy. Focus can be compromised, and previously short communication channels often make way for management layers, procedures and anonymity. First Consulting doesn’t face these issues”, according to the founding partner of the organisation.

When asked for a reason why, Icking names the strong ties between employees as a key factor. “A strong organisational culture distinguishes itself by colleagues who spend time together outside of work; working out together, running marathons, or going out. Every year our employees go on a skiing trip together. Not as an organised business trip, but by their own initiative, because they enjoy it. Proof of how close our employees are with more than 100 participants joining this year. That’s something we’re really proud of. Our own unique identity plays an important role in that.”

The partner tells us that First Consulting’s DNA consists of six core values: sharp, daring, together, fun, no-nonsense, and trust. “That is not simply a list of our aspirations, but who we really are, now. What you see is what you get.”

First Consulting: 200 employees,  no office and a strong organisational culture

These core values are central to all that the organisation does, from the personal development program and feedback structure, to the recruiting of new colleagues. “Everyone knows these values, and we hold each other to them when they’re not up to standard. The result is a close-knit group, where people can work in a trusted and enjoyable environment, where everyone know what to expect from one another.”

Icking continues, “The right personality. That is a prerequisite at First Consulting! All colleagues are highly educated and very analytical, but most of all, they have the right character. Being smart is just one part of the job. At First Consulting we are collaborative, helpful and have strong inter-personal skills. No arrogant or introverted consultants, but team players. We call that no-nonsense.”

He indicates that values are critical when it comes to the recruitment process. “During an interview, we always check whether the candidate fits our organisation. Do they reflect all our core values and can they strengthen our identity further? Or will they weaken it? By doing this we are able to maintain our short communication channels, despite the fact that we’re still growing.”

Goals based on quality, not speed

When asked about the future, he states: “Of course we’re focused on growth at First Consulting. An ambition aimed at growth results in higher energy levels and more opportunities. Both of which are important conditions for personal development. But goals based on growth are often focused only on numbers and speed. That’s why we have a growth ambition, not a growth goal. We will only grow if candidates match our strict criteria. If we can’t find those candidates, we’ll slow our growth or just stop growing for a while.”

“In doing this, we’ve grown to 200 colleagues over the recent years and our culture has only become stronger. The number of great candidates contacting us has increased vastly. Quality sells itself”, is Icking’s conclusion.