Diversity of thought is critical to West Monroe Partners. It is the way we build better solutions for our clients. But before we can ensure that right mix of perspectives, experience, and skills at the table when we sit down to craft a solution to a client’s issue, we have to have an inclusive culture and workplace.
As an organization, we have recommitted to strengthening our culture of inclusion. This has included an array of initiatives, from policies and programs to enhanced mentoring to training about areas such as unconscious bias.
We know that there are no silver bullets for diversifying the workforce. That’s why one of our initiatives has been to create four strategic partnerships to help us attract more diverse talent to West Monroe.
Ellevate Network is a global network dedicated to the economic engagement of women worldwide. It provides professional women with opportunities to connect, learn, and invest in themselves.
Gender diversity is important to us. But – as is common in professional services – we see our percentage of women decrease at more senior career levels. To help us close that gap and build the next generation of women leaders within West Monroe, we established a partnership with Ellevate in March 2017 that includes investing Ellevate memberships for all of our women at the experienced level and above. Ellevate events provide our women with opportunities for personal and professional development, networking, and developing new business relationships – all key resources that can help them tackle challenges, improve career satisfaction, and prepare for leadership roles. Through our partnership, we have also hosted or co-hosted Ellevate events in several of our major markets, including a fireside chat with founder Sallie Krawcheck in Chicago. We also have met a number of potential recruits and, to date, have hired two women introduced to us through the Ellevate Network. Our women also are frequent contributors to the Ellevate Network’s resource library on Huffington Post – for example:
JumpStart Advisory Group partners with the financial services and consulting industries and Fortune 500 corporations to expose talented individuals to career opportunities since 2004. Additionally, JumpStart partners with more than 40 top-tier academic institutions to prepare incoming MBA students to achieve career success in pursuit of an internship or full-time employment.
We began a relationship with JumpStart in 2016, and through this association, we have broadened our presence at colleges and universities across the United States and introduced West Monroe to a diverse group of graduate and undergraduate students considering careers in our profession. JumpStart uses its database to communicate regularly with graduate and undergraduate students interested in careers in professional services and consulting. In addition, it hosts annual forums for undergraduates and graduates, providing a platform for employers to talk about their value proposition and how one can be successful building a career within their firm. Through these forums, we have met and interviewed a number of prospective recruits – and we recently hired our first employee introduced through the partnership.
Fairygodboss is a digital platform geared towards women that enables them to find answers to hard-to ask questions. It is a forum for seeking inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits and work flexibility. It also offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
In March 2017, we launched a partnership with Fairygodboss that includes a company profile on the site, features of several of our “fairygodbosses,” and links to selected blogs and articles on our website. We also share job postings and detailed information about benefits, programs, and firm characteristics of interest to women. In turn, employees share reviews and ratings about working at West Monroe Partners. Already, our partnership has produced uptick in traffic to westmonroe.com, as well as some applications for open positions.
Girls Who Code was founded five years ago with the belief that computing skills are a critical path to security and prosperity in today’s job market. What began with 20 girls in the heart of New York City, Girls Who Code reached 40,000 girls in all 50 U.S. states at the end of 2017.
Our new partnership with Girls Who Code enables us to develop early awareness of our firm and careers in consulting, while also helping the organization fulfill its mission of closing the gender gap in technology. In July 2017, we hosted a full day “career field trip” to our Seattle office. More than 30 girls participated in an array of hands-on activities designed to foster their interest in technology, including a coding exercise and a requirements-gathering exercise that demonstrated how consultants work. We are exploring opportunities to host similar events in other markets during the coming year.
These four partnerships already are proving valuable for promoting our brand and attracting diverse talent to West Monroe. Just as important, they are proving to be engaging and valuable for our people who participate. And we are just getting them off the ground! Look for exciting new developments from each of these partnerships in 2018. Image courtesy of #WOCinTech Chat.