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Retention Practices


A management consulting firm prominent in the business process and systems integration field was experiencing unacceptable turnover of its consulting staff, especially among associates with five to seven years of valuable experience. The turnover rate was affecting the firm’s ability to staff client assignments with an adequate number of experienced consultants and jeopardizing its commitment to delivering superior service.


The D.G. McDermott Associates team interviewed senior partners and the three unit heads of the major practice areas most affected by the turnover. From this research, the DGM team formulated conclusions about what was causing the turnover. To validate our conclusions, we developed an instrument which we used to guide individual discussions with representatives of other major consulting firms about recruiting, training and development, and compensation practices.


D.G. McDermott Associates concluded that the client needed to restructure its policies for the caseload and work hours of associate-level consultants. Becoming more sensitive to the work and family issues facing the workforce was critical to retaining high-potential personnel.


The client established an internal committee to review the workload demands it placed on its consultants and to develop and submit to the partnership specific recommendations for job sharing, flex-time, personal time, travel and related policies. The committee was also charged with submitting a staffing plan to provide alternative methods for staffing projects, including the use of per-diem workers.

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